The Chic List

A Lowcountry Boil

Joni Vanderslice of J Banks Design, known for designing some of the world’s most gorgeous resort interiors, is one of our favorite lifestyle experts. She gave Inside Chic a sneak peek inside her new book, Southern Coastal Living, (out October 4th) which is full of fantastic ideas for your home and your family. What better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a classic Lowcountry boil? Plus, a special invitation to a very chic event this fall, celebrating Joni’s new book and J Banks Design’s 30th anniversary.

Our Lowcountry Boil

In the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, nothing says summer quite like a Lowcountry boil. For those who have never experienced this wonderful pleasure, it is a classic one-pot feast. Just like the New England clambake, the Lowcountry boil celebrates the abundance of the season in a relaxed, delicious, happily messy way. There are no strict rules, nor is there a master recipe. Every good cook has his or her own favorite family variation, tried and made true over the years. That said, standard guidelines for this all-in-one meal do exist.

First and foremost, a Lowcountry boil emphasizes flavor and freshness. It starts with, and makes the most of, our wonderful local ingredients from both sea and land: shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob. Because it is a rite of summer and a meal that scales up easily to feed large numbers, it generally takes place out-of-doors: dockside, beachfront, poolside, and backyard work equally well. We’re fortunate to have our own dock. We spend much of our summer out there because it is the one place where we can almost always catch a cooling breeze.

The Lowcountry boil, also known as Frogmore stew, has a storied history, though of comparatively recent vintage. Its roots extend farther back in time and place, however, to the Creole-style cuisines of the Gullah, the descendants of African slaves, who have long populated the Sea Islands and coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida. Lore credits the original recipe to Richard Gay, of Gay Fish Company, who hailed from Frogmore on St. Helena Island, deep in the heart of the Sea Island Gullah community.

Unlike its distant coastal cousins bouillabaisse and cioppino, a Lowcountry boil is not a stew, technically speaking. Conventionally, when the components are at just the right point of doneness, the host drains off the cooking liquid and transfers all the elements to a platter for serving. Another option is to spread everything from the pot out onto a table draped in newspaper, which keeps the cleanup simple. More often than not, we serve ours on a table layered with colorful linens, plates, and glassware, along with all sorts of condiments and sides. Then, our guests and we gather to dig in and savor the very special pleasures of summer.

Joni’s Lowcountry Boil


  • ½ cup Shrimp and Crab Boil seasoning (Zatarain’s or Old Bay)
  • 4 pounds medium red potatoes
  • 2 ½ pounds smoked pork sausage links, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 8 ears of corn, cut in half
  • 4 pounds medium shrimp, shell on, deveined


  1. Fill a large stockpot with water, add seasoning, and boil.
  2. Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes.
  3. Add sausage and cook 10 more minutes.
  4. Add corn and cook 10 more minutes.
  5. When potatoes are done (use a fork to test), add the shrimp.
  6. When the first shrimp floats to the top, they are done.
  7. Drain and serve.

We set up the table on our dock and then dig into this classic one-pot meal that is a delicious melding of our regional bounty. Fresh lemonade is a favorite cooler on a hot summer day. We’ll often linger on the deck long after sunset. The dock provides a perfect setting for our summer picnics, including our Lowcountry boil.

You’re Invited To the Launch of Southern Coastal Living

Friday, October 7, 10am – 6pm, J Banks Design, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Join J Banks Design, located on Hilton Head Island, for a day of Donation, Design and Delight! The international interior design firm has a fun extravaganza planned as they celebrate their 30th Anniversary and launch of their new book, Southern Coastal Living, published by Gibbs Smith. Throughout the day, J Banks’ designers and guest speakers will be leading seminars and workshops, as well as answering your interior design questions (bring pictures of your home). Shop and peruse a special tented marketplace offering an eclectic mix of some of J Banks’ favorite things—think linens, jewelry, hand-made throws, exceptional gifts; a portion of the proceeds of all sales goes to selected charities. Meet Joni and have her sign your own copy of Southern Coastal Living, which offers a glimpse into the J Banks lifestyle—luxury without pretense. All J Banks fans, friends, family, clients, community and Inside Chic readers are invited to participate in the fun!

Photographs by Andrew and Gemma Ingalls, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

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38 Responses

  1. Corrine Fisher

    id love to be there 4 the boil.. I’ve never been to one. plus I’d love 2 visit ur state. looks so relaxing.and beautiful..

  2. Dr. Sybil Francis

    It makes me miss St Simons, Jeykll Island, coastal Ga. …if it were not for the “flying teeth” I’d be there now! Maybe…it would hard to give up life in the even DEEPER South of beautful Antigua, Guatemala where it is always Spring and none of those teeth!

  3. Pennie E.

    Thirty years ago we sailed in a regatta in Beaufort, SC, on a friend’s boat. It was incredibly hot with no wind to be found, but after the race the yacht club served us Frogmore stew. Delish! We have fond memories of this day and we still talk about our introduction to Frogmore stew!

  4. Ms. Judy

    Low Country Boil and Frogmore Stew are the same and very delicious. Although we have prepared it when we had a house at Wild Dunes, SC we have also enjoyed it in the upcountry! Good anywhere and a favorite of all of my family!

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