Thursday, June 26, 2014

Crab Boil Summer Solstice Party

This past weekend our friends Michael and Heather hosted a summer solstice party at their beach house. The party involved a pretty deluxe crab boil, wait, let me rephrase, a pretty mack-daddy crab boil. I've made plenty of seafood boils and have been to many as well, but never one quite this involved  or of this magnitude. When they sent the invitation they also attached a copy of the recipe. From the recipe description, I could tell this crab boil wasn't for a small crowd, in fact it was quite the opposite.

On our way out to the cottage I told Dave based on the size of the crowd I was curious as to how they were going to boil all of this food; we took a few guesses but were totally wrong. When we showed up to the cottage Michael took us to the spot where the magic boil was to take place…and it started with - a turkey fryer! Yep, a turkey fryer. I never considered a turkey fryer to be used for anything other than, well, frying a turkey! Brilliant idea, right??

Every step of the crab boil was such an enjoyable process to watch and participate in. From adding all of the ingredients into the humungous pot, to smelling the spicy aroma of the seafood boiling, to draining the seasoned liquid from the pot, to seeing all of the delicious ingredients dumped onto the butcher paper covered table, to digging in and eating all of the scrumptious seafood, sausage, potatoes and corn, to dipping every piece in a cup of warm clarified butter, to making a mess of yourself and loving every minute of it because you are sharing the experience with good friends! This was truly a quintessential summer beach feast.

The boys thought it was the best because making a mess was allowed, eating with your hands and not utensils was a must and eating a soft shell crab for the first time was ridiculously cool and crunchy to boot! What I love most about seafood boils is that everyone is involved with the process…it's truly a communal experience. Plus, Michael and Heather used ingredients that were of the upmost quality and were locally sourced. For example the chorizo and andouille sausage were from Spars, and the shrimp, clams, mussels and soft shell crabs were from Schneider's Fish and Seafood Company. So not only was the process fun and engaging, the food was superb!

Talk about lasting food impressions….this is a summer solstice party we will always remember. Salute to Michael and Heather for hosting a memorable crab boil!

The best way to describe the process of this amazing crab boil is to share it with the photos I took of the day. The recipe is below.
Michael boiling the Old Bay seasoning broth in the turkey fryer
Heather adding the Genny Creme Ale, after taking a sip
Adding the onions and garlic
Adding the chorizo and andouille sausage
Now adding the corn
Now the shrimp
And for the highlight, time to add the fresh crab but all of the kids just had to touch them first!
All of the ingredients are finally in the pot
A two person job to strain the broth, smells so good!
And the moment of truth…the ingredients being dumped onto a huge butcher paper covered table! WOW!
Almost ready for 30 of us to dig in and eat
Quintessential summer beach fare!
Nate and Zachary waiting for everyone to sit down 
Now this is a mack-daddy crab boil summer solstice party
The kids kayaking in Lake Erie after a very filling meal!
Crab Boil (Click to print recipe)

Cook time is approximately 30-40 minutes total

Serves 25


  • 6 quarts of water
  • 12 oz Old Bay seasoning
  • 16 oz Genny Creme Ale
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves whole
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 7 pounds of new potatoes (small and halved)
  • 2 pounds of andouille sausage (cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 pounds chorizo sausage (cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 dozen ears of corn cut in half
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 3 dozen little neck clams
  • 5 pounds of shrimp, tail on
  • 24 soft shell crabs
Add 6 quarts of water to a turkey fryer or very large pot. Add the Old Bay seasoning and beer and bring to a boil. Add the next four ingredients and boil for 10 minutes. Add sausage and corn then continue to boil for an additional 10 minutes. Add mussels and clams and boil for 5 minutes. Finally add shrimp and crabs until crabs are done, approximately 7-10 minutes.

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