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Two days ago we returned from family camp, we look forward to this week all summer, but when it’s done it marks the end of another summer. We get back and it’s time to get in “back to school” mode. I strongly dislike back to school mode. I dislike it because I am reminded of all the things I wanted to do this summer but did not. This summer most of those things were project type things…..so I guess I can put them on my list of things to do when the kids go back to school. Ugh, the procrastinator side of me is groaning……

One thing our summer did not lack of was time with friends. Right from the get go we were making the most of our summer. One thing we try to do at least once a summer is a Shrimp Boil, it’s always extra fun if we do it with a family that has never done it before.

Our good friends invited us to a Boil a couple years ago. And after several phone calls to my friend Rebecca I got the Shrimp Boil thing down, kinda. We have done several of our own since. Sometimes in our backyard. Sometimes at the beach. It’s always a bit of a trial and error process…but it is always a blast.
Back in July, if you remember, we rented a cottage with Big D and her family. The last night at the cottage some friends joined us and we decided to end our stay at the beach with a BANG!
There is nothing like fresh air, boiling shrimp and lots and lots of butter!

This particular night we had 8 adults and 11 kiddos around our shrimp boil table. Needless to say…in the hub-ub of everything (the Sangria might have added to problem too…sometimes these things will slow you down) I did not quite get all the pictures I would have like to get, so you would have the absolute full on immersion of how a Shrimp Boil is done from beginning to end. I also did not have all my stuff that I am used to using from home…..since we were at a rental, but we made it work. I am hoping you will get the general idea and maybe give it a try before summer is over.

Here is what you will need more or less:

Red (small) potatoes 2 per person
Small onions, 1 for every 2 people
Sweet corn, 1 cob per person, cut in 1/2
1 lb of shrimp (unpeeled) , per 2 adults
2 Zaturans Shrimp boil Seasoning bags, more if you like spicy (usually come 2 bags in a box)
Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausages cut in 1″ chunks (we used 1 lb)
lemon wedges
salt and pepper shakers
Hot Sauce/Cholula
sticks of melted butter or Squeezy Butter
cocktail sauce (if you like)
2-4 loaves of fresh French Baguettes
paper towels/napkins, several medium to small bowls for shells and cobs, newspaper or butchers paper, Turkey Fryer with large pot(18-20+quart)&strainer, a long table

We have never put sausages in with our Shrimp Boil before, but we had so many kiddos and some of them where scrunching their noses at the sound of shrimp eaten on news paper so we thought what the heck…and it was great and the kids loved it! Yeah! “You say Hillshire”, “I’ll say Farm” GO MEAT!

So you want to get your ingredients all prepped. Thaw the shrimp. Clean the potatoes, onions, and corn. Cut up sausage if using. Get your butter out and in dishes or if you want to make it really easy buy some of the squeezy butter in bottles and sit it on the table. Cut up your lemon wedges.

You will want to prepare the table well before people get there, or if you are us you send the kids out with news paper and tape and let them have at it! You definitely want to make sure that the table has at least two layers of paper on it. Then when the meal is finished you can just roll up the mess and voila, presto change-O! throw it in the garbage and your mess is all gone!
Also set out the salt/pepper shakers, sauces, paper towels, baskets for bread, bowls for shells and cobs.
NOTICE: there is not dinnerware involved in this meal. This can be a problem for some guest. If you sense they are ready to pack it up and head out, then by all means get them a plate, but most people with a little nudge, will see that it is really fun, and they will get over it and dig in. Full on drop their face on the table kinda fun!

This is our turkey fryer. We love this guy. He has allowed us to have many fond memories with family and friends. You want to get the gas hooked up to your fire thingy and get that going a good 1/2 hour before you are ready to start cooking so about an hour before you want to eat. Fill the pot to the fill line if there is one or about 2/3 full.

Throw your spice bags in. And get the water to a full rolling boil.

The key to the shrimp boil it the timing, which means remembering what to put in the pot when and how long it needs to cook. So here is the time line more or less. Our pot was full of vegi’s because of the number of people so we had to do the boil in two stages.

time line:
20 minutes potatoes
15 minutes corn and onions
5 minutes out sausages if you do them
**now if you were going to do it in two stages you would pour this out on your table
2-3 minutes for the shrimp

That is what Big D’s man is doing here dumping the vegi’s out on the table. Then you want to have your shrimp ready…stick the strainer back in the boiling water, make sure you have the seasoning packets in the water (they might have gotten dumped out on the table). Throw the shrimp in boiling water…this will go super duper fast. Sing yourself a rousing rendition of your favorite T.V. shows theme song…..like maybe Gilligan’s Island or something and then the Shrimpys will be done. It only take the shrimp 2-3 minutes max! As soon as they are all pink pull those babies out of the water and dump them out on top of the other goodies. But if you have a big enough pot, by all means do it all together, just add the shrimp in 2-3 minutes before the rest is done.

There are the taters and corn all lonely waiting for the shrimps!
AAAh there they are!

It will look like your table is kinda strewn with food, and maybe like there is not enough. But believe me if you follow the list above there will be plenty. We always have leftover shrimp…well almost always.

My heart aches when I look at this picture. It was so much fun. Truly I have never done a boil or been to a boil that hasn’t been overwhelmingly memorable…like you don’t want the meal and the conversation and the laughs to end.

You can pull chairs up, we have. But this night we stood.
It takes time this meal, the peeling of the shrimp, the tearing of the bread. It’s a little bit of work, but great memories and conversations revolve around this type of meal. Look at those cutie patootie faces….oooh it’s killing me.
Peel and eat shrimp!

It’s fun to see who has the biggest pile of shells and cobs next to them. Pig! Oinker! “hey save some for the rest of us we’re starvin’ down here!”.

I usually don’t serve a whole lot else when I do a Shrimp Boil. Maybe a light appetizer, but you want people to come to the table full of anticipation, and hungry tummies.

Oh yeah this is serious business…as you see my son otherwise known as HotSauce he has the hot sauces all lined up.

That’s Big D and her ginormous girls…the are giantesses (giant cutie PIES that is!). These two love the “tradition” of the Shrimp Boil with the Johnsons! Big D was not just wearing a towel to the table in case you wondered. We were at the beach, that is her bathing suit cover up. (She is going to kill me….)

Here is the reason three woman in Michigan get up everyday and thank the Lord above. I am not joking. These three are the nicest, sweetest, funniest (well the two on the outside are funny anyway) guys you will ever meet. Hearts of gold these three! They have known each other since high school, maybe before. Mr. Bouma is on the right. This guys is funny just breathing. He does a killer impersonation (no pun intended) of a dead man floating in the water….not funny you say…well not until you have seen Mr. B do it on the beach with 80 million kids running around…somehow it is just gut busting hilarious. Big D’s hubby is on the left. He always makes everyone smile and my kids think he is the best ever. And the one in the middle is my Kenny of course. You gotta luv um. We do. I think this pictures is what frames were meant for.

Two weeks from today school starts here in Michigan. We intend to make the most of these last days of summer. Hoping you are too!

xoxo Sheila

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  1. Sheila, LOVE the idea of this shrimp boil. It is so fun & interactive. Great for entertaining and picky eaters. Love the "plating" of this meal as well. The addition of sausage adds a lot too. šŸ™‚

  2. I want to come!!! This looks wonderful!!! I love all the plans and details and smiles. You did great!


  3. We just started doing the same thing this summer at the cottage and introduced the Schneider's to it. But we do Frogmore Stew (from Frogmore NC) and use Old Bay and a bottle of beer in the water. Same concept. It was a huge hit! Will be a new tradition at BSL! We use the Turkey fryer too!

  4. We have lent ours our a couple of times to friends that don't have one. Ask around….it's nice to share : D!

  5. It looks like fun!!! And we just happen to be a family that has never done it before! Hint hint! Love how you walk someone through the whole thing… with lots of helpful hints. We will enjoy our last two weeks! Hope you do to! See you at CPLC!

  6. Boy, oh Boy that was good. Although, Big D should have gotten cleaned up for dinner..nothing like walking straight from the beach to the dinner table. Plus, don't you love a meal that doesn't require chairs or silverware! Oh, can't wait until next time!