Good Ole’ Fashioned Shrimp Boil

Yes, I know – two main dish recipes on this blog so far, and both have been shrimp. I promise I’m not a shrimp-junkie, but I cooked these for DJ Snuggle Monster one day and he hasn’t been able to get enough of them since. And the shrimp boil is CRAZY easy and fast (great if you have a family, or heck, if you’ve just had a really long day or don’t want to spend hours slaving in the kitchen). Top to bottom, the meal takes no more than 10 minutes. If you’d like to add some vegetables (if you MUST be healthier), you can add in some par-cooked potato cubes (cube up and boil for about 10-15 minutes or until tender, drain) or some corn on the cob pieces, like a traditional low country boil.

This recipe requires some booze – like many of my recipes will or do – but this is where I must confess to you something. Ok, here goes…I know next to NOTHING about beer. I guess I don’t have a developed palette or I’ve just never got swept in the craze of craft beer and all of it’s nuances. If you, like me, know nothing about beer, have no fear. Just pick something that looks like it will be light/refreshing, so think IPAs and ales (bonus points for citrus notes). When my family taught me this recipe, we used Corona. Which worked just fine by the way for all those craft beer snobs. If you are such a self-professed beer snob, feel free to get crazy with your booze selection. I would just steer clear of any heavy beers like porters or stouts (you “snobs” are saying “duh” right now I’m sure), but ambers and brown ales might still be ok. DJ Snuggle Monster and I have experimented a bit with the beers (he does like beer…how did he find me I wonder?). I really like the taste of a Shandy to highlight the citrus in the dish (Curious Traveler has a great lemon forward one…some other shandies have been a bit blase for my tastes) and another light ale – Goose Island 312 has worked pretty well. But any of these grapefruit ones would be awesome too.

Timing: 10 minutes (if that)

Servings: 2-3 persons (depending on size of shrimp and how hangry you are)


  • Two “light” beers (see above – your choice. Go crazy. Go boring. Use what you have in your fridge. No rules)
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shell still on (Depending on sizing, this may yield 20-25 or 30-34 shrimp per pound. DJ Snuggle Monster suggested the larger shrimp – like those in the picture – might be TOO big for this recipe. Plus, why not get more quantity for your poundage?)
  • 5-6 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried Thyme or Oregano
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 lemons, halved (or grapefruit or limes…any citrus other than orange that has some punch)
  • 1 teaspoon Peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons Salt


Pour the beer into a large stock pot over medium heat. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the shrimp. After you squeeze the citrus into the pot, leave the halves in the pot to boil along with it. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt and about 5 tablespoons Old Bay (it seems like a lot, but shrimp need a lot of love). When the mixture comes to a boil, add ONE shrimp. Yep, one shrimp. You want to test the flavor and trying it raw won’t really tell you how the shrimp will absorb it (and will taste GROSS). The shrimp cooks in about two minutes. Eat it. Yep, eat it. This is your taster. Adjust your salt and Old Bay accordingly. Then add in the rest of the shrimp. Boil for two minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. If the shells start to peel away from the shrimp you’re definitely done (and perhaps overdone – next time cook them about one to two minutes less). Serve all of them in one bowl, family style, with a little of the cooking liquid poured over top and with individual (or heck, another large communal bowl) bowls for the shells. Add plenty of napkins and extra beer. Voila!


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