A seafood boil isn’t unique to the Florida Lowcountry or even to the south. Folks from Maine to Louisiana have been celebrating family, friends and good food for decades, and even the west coast has its own spin on the tradition. But there is something about being outside on a sunny day in Florida, enjoying a dish of fresh shrimp, sausage, corn, potatoes and onions with family and neighbors around that truly feels like it belongs right here in the Lowcountry.

The tradition of getting together, sharing food and time and memories is as true to this region as sitting on your front porch at sunset, waving to and chatting with your neighbors. If you have the opportunity to attend a Lowcountry boil or want to try to capture the experience wherever you are, here are a few tips to make the most of this grand get-together.

•  Fresh is best. A good boil is all about the ingredients, especially the seafood. Down here, a boil will use shrimp caught that day (or that hour!). If you have a local seafood market, we recommend stopping by and getting a heaping portion of shrimp or your shellfish of choice there.
•  Be ready to get dirty. Digging into a plate of shrimp and sausage and veggies can get messy, but that’s what makes a boil so much fun. You’re around friends and family, so don’t stress and just embrace the experience. Everything tastes even better that way.
•  All are welcome. A Lowcountry boil isn’t just a recipe, it’s an event best shared with others. Whether it’s family, friends, neighbors or whoever’s around (that delicious smell might just attract some new friends), it’s best to make plenty of food and enjoy the time you spend together.

If you’re throwing your own boil, we wish you luck, good food and good company. And if it seems intimidating to host, just come on down to the Florida Lowcountry for the real thing. It’s an experience you won’t regret, and you’ll make memories to savor for years to come.