George's Simple Shrimp Boil With Lots of Flavor
My wife hosted a dinner party this weekend for work colleagues and their spouses. One of the spouses was my friend George who brought the most delicious shrimp boil. George is an avid fisherman, clammer, crabber and a pretty darn good cook.
If I remember his story correctly, for years he purchased the spices for this boil from a roadside stand somewhere in Maryland. When the owner of the stand died and the spices for this boil were no longer available, he asked a friend with the right equipment to analyze the spice mix and give him all the ingredients.
How do you know when shrimp are done cooking?
Good News - Bad News
After playing around with the spices, he eventually came up with what he considers the perfect blend of spices that most closely resembles the original spices. That’s the good news.
The bad news is he doesn’t have an exact amount to add to the water before bringing to a boil. As he says, “I just look at the color of the water and adjust by adding more spice or more water. It’s not an exact science but it turns out great every time.”
He promised he would measure out the spices next time he makes them and let me know so I can report back here. I sort of figured out he mixes about ½ of the Hot Blend with ½ cup of the Mild Blend and adjusts from there.
Since I have no idea what the “right” color of the water should be, we’ll have to adjust our seasonings - to taste.
George says “colossal shrimp work best” and his secret to keep the shrimp from overcooking and drying out is to “cover them with ice cubes after draining until chilled.”
And one other piece of advice from George – leave the peels on or else people will eat them too fast and they’ll be gone before everyone’s had a chance to have one!
Shrimp Boil Recipe Alternatives
George told me he buys the spices in bulk and makes big batches of these blends so he always has some on hand. I thought it would be fun to use his spice blend in some other ways and again will report back after trying.
- How about coating the shrimp in a little oil, coating the shrimp with the spices in a bowl and then grilling them on your barbecue?
- Or how about peeling the shrimp, coating them with a flour/spice mix and frying them in a deep fryer?
- Why not try the spice on other seafood like scallops or swordfish?And if it’s great for a shrimp boil, I’m sure it would be great for a crab or lobster boil.
Thanks again George for sharing your blend recipes for this shrimp boil recipe with us.
Georges Simple Shrimp Boil Recipe
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup MSG
- ⅛ cup curry powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds shrimp Colossal, unpeeled, tails on.
- Fill a big pot with water, add about 1 cup of the spice blends and bring to boil. You can try just the mild spice blend, just the hot or a combination of the two. Experiment with how much you add and in no time you’ll have the perfect amount for your taste buds.
- When the water is at a boil, add the shrimp and cook for 5-7 minutes. Pull one out and taste for consistency and if not quite done, add another minute or two but don’t overcook them.
- Drain them in a colander and cover them immediately with ice until chilled.
- Serve in a bowl or on a platter with cocktail sauce but in my opinion, they don’t need the cocktail sauce. They are good enough on their own without it.
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You go, baby brother...your shrimp are the best!
That spice blend sounds delicious !! Not being a fan of boiled anything ... I think I would prefer them on the grill myself 🙂
I had Georges shrimp a couple of times, they were so good. But you need a case of beer to go with the shrimp.
G. Stephen Jones
Tom, I don't think you "need" a case of beer to go with the shrimp but it wouldn't hurt. 🙂
1/2 cup of MSG?? That's a lot of MSG. Typo or for real?
The Reluctant Gourmet
Hi Roy, I thought so too and asked George again if this was the correct amount and he told me it was indeed. If you feel it's too much, I suggest you experiment with your own ratios to find one that works best for you. I didn't see George prepare these shrimp but I tasted them and they were really good.