There are two kinds of social gatherings in coastal Georgia and South Carolina that revolve around shellfish.
Like a Louisiana boil, it usually uses shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage, and red potatoes and sometimes ham. It is a staple of Lowcountry cuisine. Known variously as Frogmore Stew, Beaufort Stew, a Beaufort boil, a Lowcountry boil or a tidewater boil, tend to be a bit milder than their Louisiana cousins. For example, it is not unusual for a Lowcountry recipe to call for a mixture of hot and mild boil seasonings, whereas a Louisiana recipe may start with crab boil packets and add large amounts of cayenne pepper. While shrimp are most often used, crabs or crawfish may be included if available. This is also a bit different from a Louisiana boil, which usually involves just one kind of shellfish at a time.
Frogmore is the name of a community in the middle of St. Helena Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina.
Although there are many versions of this dish around, Frogmore Stew got its name in the 1960s by Richard Gay. Gay owned of Gay Fish Company, circa 1948, on St. Helena Island. Frogmore Stew became far better-known after it was featured on the cover of Gourmet Magazine in the 1980s. In 2005, The Travel Channel featured Richard’s brother, Charles Gay, cooking Frogmore Stew in its popular program Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo.
The Low Country Boil may have possible influences from Louisiana, as there are some obvious similarities to some dishes of the cuisine of Louisiana. It showcases the same set of French, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences. Meals for large gatherings of people frequently included the dish, due to its quick prep and readily-available foods. The boil was a quick and easy way to prepare all the foods at once.
The best attended function to feature Frogmore Stew occurs in July at the 10-day Beaufort Water Festival.
The festival is the largest totally volunteer-run festival on the southeastern coast. The event feeds 2,400, the recipe includes 1,200 lbs. of shrimp, 2,400 ears of corn, 600 lbs of sausage, 72 oz. of seafood seasoning. The festival serves it with 350 lbs. of coleslaw, 250 gal. of iced tea, 2,400 rolls and 90 watermelons.
Oyster Roasts sometimes offer Frogmore Stew. This is particularly popular in the winter when the oysters are good and a hot fire keeps the coastal chill at bay.
Both of these events are often large social functions in which a neighborhood, family, or friends gather for fellowship. Music, drinking, and dancing, especially the Carolina shag, are also common at these events.