Florida Shrimp Boil

Florida Shrimp Boil

Let me just start this post by saying I eat a lot of shrimp! My son and I both love it!! Growing up in Florida you learn to appreciate fresh Gulf Shrimp from an early age. In fact I would argue that nothing beats fresh Gulf Shrimp but sometimes that wonderful delicacy is just not to be had! For instance if you move to Northern California (like me). In that case you do the best you can. Most of the Shrimp that I get out here from my fish people and my grocery stores, Good Earth, Mill Valley Market & (rarely) Whole Foods have been previously frozen. They say “fresh” but they are frozen which is confusing but I guess they were “fresh” when they froze them!

So for this post we’re talkin Shrimp Boil. So you want to get the freshest shrimp you can get your hands on! You’ll want them to be a fair size but I usually avoid Jumbo. I find the medium size are usually sweet and tender enough. Sometimes the jumbo aren’t that tasty for peel and eat in my opinion (I’m picky).

Ok this is pretty obvious but I’m just going to put it out there anyway-Don’t get peeled and deveined!!  You want your whole Shrimpies, shell, head and all!


What you’ll need:

  • Newspaper or brown paper bag
  • 2 dozen (or more) whole medium shrimp
  • Zatarain’s or Old Bay seasoning
  • Beer (for boiling)
  • Bay Leaf
  • S&P
  • Ketchup
  • Lemons (lots)
  • Prepared Horseradish salt
  • Butter

Dump your shrimp in the sink and give them a good rinse. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a large dollop of butter, Bay leaf and whatever seasoning you are using (Zatarains or OB) I like to use some whole peppercorns in the boil as well but if you don’t have don’t worry you can just season with salt and ground pepper when you are done boiling.

While the water is boiling make your cocktail sauce. Alternatively you can serve with butter but I like to serve mine cold with homemade cocktail sauce so here goes:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Horseradish to taste

Put the ketchup in a small bowl, squeeze in the lemon and add the Horseradish to taste. I like mine spicy so I start with 1 TBS Horseradish. Mix, taste and season accordingly.

Finish your shrimp. Once the water comes to a rolling boil start adding your shrimp by the handful. You’ll only want to cook for about 3 minutes. You’ll see your shrimp turning pink and floating to the surface, this is the cue to remove them with a slotted spoon to a prepared bowl of ice to stop the cooking. DO NOT overcook!! Whatever you do!! The shrimp will be chewy and horrible if overcooked. Overcooked shrimp is one of my pet peeves!

Remove from ice and dry shrimp. Spread out on newspaper or brown paper and put out bowls of cocktail sauce, plenty of lemon slices, saltines (IDK I like saltines with it) and butter for those who choose. Also put out rolls of paper towels. Get messy and enjoy!!




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