Your Slow Cooker Is The Secret To A Low Maintenance Seafood Boil

Seafood boil with crawdads, corn
Seafood boil with crawdads, corn - Static Media / Shutterstock

Anyone who's experienced a seafood boil knows it's an elaborate feast, often tossed with gusto onto communal paper-clad tables. Also known as a Lowcountry boil, Beaufort boil, or Frogmore stew, it's a briny piled-high treasure hunt where eating with your hands is encouraged. Seafood boil components vary according to region but always involve some of the following sea creatures: Crawdads, shrimp, lobster, clams, or crab. Other gotta-haves include cobbed corn, little red potatoes, and sausage, preferably Louisiana-style andouille. The messy affair involves huge pots of steaming water, impeccable timing, and constant pot-watching.

What if there were an easier way to get that same deliciousness in a hands-off way? We're talking about a grand seafood boil emerging from a slow cooker. That's right, it's the large ceramic countertop appliance that granny called a Crock-Pot, the original slow cooker entering home kitchens in the 1950s and gaining popularity in the 1970s. Making a seafood boil with no actual boiling or steaming may require flipping a switch in your brain, but it's worth trying.

Benefits abound when transferring your seafood feast from a riotously boiling pot to a gentle, warm slow cooker. The major plus is that it practically cooks itself, with little if any intervention on your part. You just toss in the ingredients, choose the heat level, and wait for those seaside aromas to emerge. There are just a few considerations for positioning the food or holding back quick-cooking seafood until the end.

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Slow Cook A Seafood Boil For Hands-Off Convenience

Shrimp boil on table
Shrimp boil on table - Bhofack2/Getty Images

To start, you'll need a slow cooker large enough for cradling all those crustaceans. A standard large cooker of five to six quarts typically accommodates about six servings, while larger seafood such as lobsters, may need an extra-large pot with up to 10-quart capacity.

Prepping ingredients for a seafood boil is the same for a slow cooker, but you'll save a lot of stress and effort when plopping them straight into the slow cooker. Making a seafood boil this way takes more cooking time, about four to five hours, compared to about 30 minutes when boiling in a pot. But you're free to focus on other things while the slow cooker works its magic. It also solves the issue of keeping everything warm while diners congregate; just turn the knob to the "warm" setting.

To avoid overcooked seafood or undercooked potatoes, an excellent approach is to layer ingredients inside the slow cooker. Place slow-cooking potatoes first, followed by the corn, andouille sausage slices, chopped garlic, and seasonings. Add water to cover, set on low heat, and check for doneness when nearing the four-hour mark. That's when you'll add the unshelled seafood, which typically needs less than 15 minutes of cooking time. Then get out the bibs, lemon slices, hot sauce, and a table-side shaker of Old Bay, and dive into deliciousness.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.