Frogmore Stew is actually not a stew and it contains NO Frogs!
Frogmore Stew is considered a classic Low Country South Carolina dish. This dish is also know as Low-Country boil, Tidewater Boil, and Beaufort Boil. Frogmore Stew gets it’s name from a place that has only a post office on one side of the road and a two-story white country store on the other. Frogmore is the mailing address for the residents of St. Helena Island just off the South Carolina coast. The town was named by John Grayson, and early owner, named after his ancestral English country estate in England.
Every coastal town seems to have their own version of this seafood boil. Frogmore Stew features two main ingredients, fresh shrimp and freshly-shucked yellow corm, but most anything that is good boiled (such as crabs, redskin potatoes, and even crawfish) can be added. Frogmore Stew actually reminds me of a Louisiana Crawfish Boil. One thing I do know for sure is the fact that it is good!
Frogmore Stew has become a current favorite at some fancy restaurants in Charleston and some of the resorts along the Carolina coast. This seafood boil is usually served on paper plates around newspaper-covered picnic tables outdoors, with plenty of ice-cold beer.
Photo courtesy of Piggly Wiggly Carolina, Inc.
History of Frogmore Stew:
Beaufort historian, Gerhard Spieler believes that the recipe was the invention of local shrimpers who used whatever food items they had on hand to make a stew.
Richard Gay of Gay Seafood Company also claimed to have invented Frogmore Stew. On National Guard duty in Beaufort in the 1960s, he was preparing a cookout of leftovers for his fellow guardsmen and he brought the recipe home to the community of Frogmore with him, putting out copies of the recipe at his seafood market and selling all the necessary ingredients.
Check out Purchasing, Deveining, Cooking, Brining, and Etiquette of Shrimp.
- 1 1/2 gallons water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning*
- Redskin new potatoes (depending on size, 3 or more per person)
- 2 pounds spicy sausage (like andouille or kielbasa, etc.), cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 10 to 12 ears of shucked corn on the cob, broken into 3-inch pieces
- 4 pounds jumbo shrimp, uncooked, in shell
In a very large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the water, lemon, salt, and Old Bay Seasoning; bring to a boil.
When the seasoned water comes to a boil, add redskin potatoes and boil for 20 minutes. When done, the potatoes should be easily pierced with a knife but not mushy.
Add sausage and gently boil, uncovered, 5 minutes.
Add corn and cook and continue cooking an additional 5 minutes (begin timing immediately, do not wait until water is boiling).
Add shrimp and cook and additional 3 to 5 minutes longer. Do not overcook the shrimp. Remove from heat and drain immediately.
Serve with lots of paper towels or napkins and ice-cold beverages, plus melted butter for the corn, cocktail sauce for the shrimp, and sour cream or ketchup for the potatoes. This is a messy dish; you’ll need a whole handful of napkins or paper towels.
Yields 8 servings.
* The general rule is 2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning per gallon water (or more to taste)
** Some people like to substitute fresh crab for the shrimp.
Categories:Corn Pork Stew and Soups Potatoes Seafood, Soups and Chowders Soups & Stews History Southeast
15 Responses to “Frogmore Stew History and Recipe”
LTC Gene Moser
I really can’t believe that the low country boil dates only to the 1960s and was the invention of a National Guard cook – where did he get all the shrimp? I’ve never seen sausage on an army menu other than breakfast sausage – surely not Polish! But it is a great meal.
Whats Cooking America
There are two theories on the post, the first theory was that low country boil was invented by local fishermen with an unknown date. The second theory, is a National Guardsman’s claim to have invented it with specific spices in the 1960’s. Shrimp is very abundant along the coast! For Frogmore Stew, Shrimp and corn are the common ingredients, but some people like to add sausage, potatoes and crab too.
Richard Gay’s (the cook) family owns Gay Fish Company.
Richard is indeed a great cook and an integral part of the Gay family. He didn’t “invent ” Frogmore Stew. I am not sure who invented the delicious recipe, but my mom, my brothers Patrick and Tom and I were preparing it as early as 1952. It is and always has been a family favorite.
simple, easy, and worth doing over again. can’t wait till the Zellwood corn comes in.
This recipe is a bad version of an Acadian seafood boil. Acadians have been cooking this way much longer than anyone along the Atlantic coast. Period. And anyone who truly cares to treat their seafood with respect would not ruin their shellfish by boiling it with smoked pork sausage. It leaves a nasty lard coating on everything. Boil the sausage in a different pot. If you care for the sausage though, I would show it respect by grilling it. Boiled pork smoke sausage, yuck. The same sausage with its casing crisped in a pan or over a flame, delicious. The only sausage I will cook by steaming or boiling is white boudin because it’s mostly rice. Serving greasy shrimp is a sin this Acadian will never commit. Ever.
Thank you for the good information. I am a daughter of a New Orleans native who is no longer with us. I will commit this info to paper until I have it memorized.
As a food connoisseur I respectfully disagree with your post. Using good sausage with peppery timing does not “coat the seafood”in any manner. Properly done with quality ingredients this version can be very, very good.
That’s because you are Acadian and not Gullah so a course you don’t cook like we do and we don’t cook like you
Billy wayne. Huggins
This frogmore stew. Is so dang good. Your young will slap your brain slam out. Ummmgood
We are making this for father’s day. It is so good and have not made it for a period of time.
This is a good time to make it to help celebrate such a special day.
Nancy, how did the Frogmore Stew go over for Father’s Day? I hope everyone enjoyed it.
Can’t wait to cook this
Let us know how you liked it
Traveling from Beaufort to Hunting Island Beach (not HuntingTON) ..Hunting Island Beach you pass right by the big white store on the left that is Frogmore, S.C. as we all call it! Stop and ask those fine Gullah souls about the stew. And everyone else needs to stop trying to take the credit. It’s a Gullah dish. FROGMORE STEW IS IT’S NAME.