Have a Boil!

Raymond Edler Jr. grew up in Louisiana, where shrimp trawling was a weekend – and after work – activity.

“It’s something I grew up doing for as long as I can remember,” Raymond says. “We’d catch our own shrimp, crawfish, and crab, and bring them home to boil or fry.”

While seafood catching and cooking was a year-round event for Raymond growing up, he says some of his best memories are Easter backyard boils. “Easter Sunday crawfish boils are a huge tradition in New Orleans. That’s when everybody breaks out their boiling gear and starts to cook – crawfish is just coming into season around then,” he says. “You better reserve your crawfish a few weeks in advance or you’re not getting ’em on Easter.”

These days Raymond gathers family and friends at his new cabin home here in Chattanooga. With nearly 30 guests at this first-of-fall boil, it’s a festive day spent making new shrimp-filled memories. His dad came in from New Orleans with shrimp on ice fresh off the trawl boat, and his wife, Sondra, spent time making sure every detail – from the fresh sunflowers to the checked tablerunner – was perfectly appointed.

Feel inspired to host a boil of your own? Read on for Raymond’s recipe and tips!

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What’s the Difference?

While most people know it as a Low Country Boil, Raymond says that’s more of a South Carolina thing. The difference between the Carolina and the Louisiana version is in the seasoning method. “In Low Country Boils, they’ll boil the seafood and then toss on Old Bay, so it’s an external seasoning of the food,” he says. “Whereas in Louisiana, the custom is to season the water and make it very flavorful, then boil the seafood in it.”

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This traditional New Orleans boil makes enough food for 20-25 of your closest friends.

Equipment:

80-quart boil pot (large pot) with strainer insert
propane burner

Seasoning Ingredients:

4 jumbo onions, cut in quarters
1 bunch celery, cut in thirds
8 heads garlic, cut in halves
8 lemons, cut in halves
6 bags Zatarain’s Shrimp and Crab Boil in a Bag
1 26 oz. box Morton salt
1 oz. cayenne pepper

Place the ingredients in a pot, fill it halfway full with water, and bring to a boil. Boil seasoning for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Then add:

4 lbs. new potatoes
5 lbs. smoked sausage, cut in bite-size pieces
15 lbs. fresh shrimp (head on if available)
15 frozen half corn on the cob ears

Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes. Add sausage and cook five minutes. Add fresh shrimp and bring back to a boil. Shut off the burner and add frozen corn and soak for three minutes.

Start tasting the shrimp; the longer they soak, the spicier it will be. Do not soak past five minutes to avoid overcooking the shrimp (this will cause the shell to stick to the meat).

Remove strainer and let drain. Pour your boil across a table covered with layers of newspaper. Gather around the table and dig into a New Orleans tradition with family and friends.

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