Tales From the Grill: Kelly’s Seafood Boil-nanza

Welcome to “Tales From the Grill.” Each story tells the real-life experiences of our customers (or in this case, our employee) who do something truly inspiring with their seafood delivery. Maine Lobster Now’s own front-end developer, Kelly, decided she wanted to do something special for her brother for his birthday: a mouthwatering lobster seafood boil.

Below, learn how Kelly performed some painstaking math calculations to determine the optimal cook time for everything in her seafood boil, from potatoes to lobster tails to shrimp and corn. If you’re ever planning a seafood boil, you can start here to discover a fast, easy way (now that Kelly’s done all the hard work) to make your own seafood boil at home.

Gathering Ingredients for a Seafood Boil at Home

“Cooking is a great way to show your love through food!” Kelly told us as she shared her full ingredient list and the step-by-step process for her seafood boil.

Kelly’s seafood boil made enough to feed 10 people. Once she had a headcount, the real work could finally begin. First, she needed to determine the full ingredient list to make enough for everyone. Then she got technical, and we mean, super technical.

The main attraction for the seafood boil was the lobster tails, but Kelly didn’t stop there. She also planned to include snow crab, clams, and shrimp. A proper seafood boil also contains some potatoes, corn, and plenty of seasoning.

10 8-10 oz. Lobster Tails 10 8-10 oz. Snow Crab Clusters 100 Clams 2 lbs. Shrimp
10-12 Ears of Corn 2 Small Bags Potatoes 4 Onions 24 Cloves Garlic
2-4 Boxes Butter (Depending on the number of guests and your preferences) 6 Packages Andouille Sausage & Polish Kielbasa 6 Tbsp. Parsley 14 Lemons
2 Cups Old Bay Seafood Seasoning      

Sciencing for the Win!

Once Kelly knew her ingredient list, the next phase of her master plan relied heavily on math and science. With a seafood boil, the key is to add ingredients in steps so that nothing gets overcooked. But when you’re dealing with foods with such varying cooking times, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how long each food needs to cook. We think Kelly’s science and math teachers through the years would be pretty darn proud after seeing this.

With the 82-quart pot she was using and the burner blasting at 106K BTUs, Kelly calculated the time needed to boil the water if the pot were ½ full, ¾ full, and ⅘ full. Once she determined the boiling point, then she could figure out exactly when each item should be dumped into the boiling water. For instance, the potatoes would take the longest to cook, but putting the lobster in at the same time would make for overcooked, tough lobster tails for her guests.

“The calculation process took a bit of Googling and double-checking...but when you’re dealing with something this large, it helps to have a ballpark of how long it will take so your guests aren’t standing around getting “hangry” with Domino’s on speed-dial.”

Prep Your Lobster Boil

One of the best things about a seafood boil is that basically everything you eat goes into the boiling water. So you can prep all the food prior to your guests arriving. When it’s time to cook, you simply have to add your ingredients to the pot, set the timer, and go from there. Here’s Kelly’s list of food prep.

  • Cut 8 lemons into quarters
  • 2 cups of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
  • 24 cloves of smashed garlic
  • 4 onions peeled and cut into 6 pieces
  • Cut 10-12 ears of corn into 2-inch pieces
  • Scrub and clean clams
  • Devein and deshell shrimp
  • Cut kielbasa into 1-inch pieces
  • Chop 6 tbsp. parsley
  • Cut 6 more lemons into wedges (for garnish)

When Each Item Goes Into the Pot

Kelly’s BTU measurements were spot-on. Her guests were floored by the end results, with such high praise as, “This is the best lobster I have ever had!”

To perfectly cook your seafood boil, follow these simple instructions. Your total cooking time will be approximately 20 minutes.

  • Add quartered lemons, Old Bay Seasoning, onions, and garlic to water. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add potatoes. Cook for 8 minutes.
  • Then add lobster tails. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Then add clams, snow crab clusters, and corn. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Then add shrimp and sausage. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Once everything was cooked to perfection, it was time to get all the food out of the water, but don’t discard all the broth. Make sure to preserve at least 2 cups of broth, Kelly noted.

Next, melt 2-3 sticks of butter in a bowl and whisk the broth in; then, dump the broth over everything. Melt additional butter as needed to use as a dipping sauce. 

Finally, garnish your bowl of seafood, potatoes, and corn with parsley and fresh lemon wedges. Lightly sprinkle with more Old Bay Seasoning to taste and stand back while your guests marvel at how good everything came out.

When asked what she’d do differently for her next seafood boil, Kelly told us, “My advice for future boils is to slow down and enjoy yourself because it goes by fast!”

From what we can gather, seems like the food went fast too. If you’d like to share your own “Tales from the Grill,” feel free to Contact Us using the form at the link.

All photos © and courtesy of Kelly Schwarz.