Perfect Fall Traditions: A Southern Lowcountry Boil

October 6, 2021

Many images come to mind when one first thinks of the Autumn season, such as pumpkins, spiced lattes, changing leaves, Indian corn, and social bonfires. But one tradition stands out as something unique to the Southern “low country.” It’s an activity that involves good food, a hot pot of boiling water, and an aroma good enough to attract the whole neighborhood. We’re talking about a good old-fashioned low country boil!

Few things bring a community together like food does. We’ve had our share of food related events here at Brunswick Forest, and it’s always a great time. Food makes you feel happy and allows you to bond with others. Even some of the simplest dishes will often have a rich history behind them. A low country boil, or seafood boil as it’s also called, is one of those traditional dishes.

The low country boil often consists of a handful of key ingredients, such as corn, shrimp, onions, carrots, andouille sausage, and red potatoes. All you need is a pot of water, patience, and some friends or neighbors to help you enjoy it. Low country boils are known for being able to feed a lot of people with very little ingredients, which is why they are a popular Southern gathering tradition during cooler months.

How did the practice of low country boils get started? The tale is about as old as the local salt marshes themselves. The term “low country” often applies to the coastal plains of South Carolina and Georgia, where the estuaries and salt marshes drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Southeastern North Carolina also is no stranger to this kind of environment. What you decide to put in a low country boil is also decided by where you live, and the ingredients you have readily available in that region.

The story goes that low country boils go back to the Gullah people along the Southeastern coastline. Gullah culture brought many influences on the boil, such as cooking styles from Africa, Spain, and France. The modern tradition as we know it today, started as a one-pot meal for the masses made popular by a National Guardsman named Richard Gay. One day he had the challenging job of cooking for over 100 fellow soldiers and decided the best way to do this was through an old family recipe for a seafood boil. The tale says that this meal was an instant hit and became known as “Frogmore Stew” after Richard’s hometown. To this day, Frogmore Stew is seen as the precursor to the modern low country boil.

Regardless of what ingredients you decide to use, rest assured this is a great way to have the community over at your place for dinner. It’s filling, delicious, allows for great conversation, and is easy to clean. This Autumn, if you’re looking for a great way to get people together for a fun and delicious activity, we encourage you to try this classic favorite!