We’ve had a Low Country boil several times before. It’s a traditional dish in the low country of Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina—a variety of shellfish, potatoes and corn are thrown into a pot with water and seasonings and cooked until done, then served. And devoured. Quickly. Because it’s delicious.
So, we thought we knew what a fish boil would be. Boil some fish in a pot and you are done. Obviously, we had never been to Upper Great Lakes country, where the fish boil is not just a meal but a work of performance art.
No one is sure precisely where the concept of a fish boil began, but it was more than likely just a group of people with a pot and some whitefish from the local lake. Instead of going to all the trouble of frying or baking the fish, someone decided to just toss it all into a pot and boil it. Traditionally, the fish is known as “poor man’s lobster” and is covered with melted butter before eating.
When we arrived at the White Gull Inn in Door County, Wisconsin, for our first fish boil experience, most of the restaurant patrons were in back of the restaurant, admiring the roaring fire with a large, boiling pot of water perched on top. The chef gave a little talk about their fish boil, the history of fish boils, and explained what would happen next.
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