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Beaufort SC Dining - Is it Beaufort or Frogmore Stew?

An historical one-pot dish creates the excuse for families, friends and neighbors to gather, eat and have fun together.

Beaufort Stew, sometimes known as Frogmore Stew, although no frogs are used, is rich in tradition and flavor.  Newly-shucked ears of fresh corn, white potatoes that appear to be the size of small pumpkins, and local fresh shrimp are its beginning ingredients.  Smoked sausage links, fresh crab legs, Old Bay Seafood Seasoning, salt and pepper and a generous dose of hot sauce make this dish an event more than a recipe.  Sometimes crawfish are thrown in, too, for shellfish lovers.

Beaufort's annual Water Festival features the hearty meal each July.  Approximately 1200 lbs of shrimp, 2400 ears of corn, 600 lbs of sausage and 72 oz of seafood seasoning have been used to create Beaufort Stew for thousands of the festival-goers.  The dish can also be found at restaurants in Beaufort and along the South Carolina coast.

Richard Gay of the Gay Seafood Company claims to have originated the dish in the early 1960s but under its other well-known name – Frogmore Stew.   During that time Gay worked weekend duty in the National Guard and would gather all the ingredients and boil everything up in a large pot and sell it to the locals along with its recipe.  Because Gay was from Frogmore, near Beaufort, the name stuck until the 1980s.  The postal service abolished the name Frogmore, much to the chagrin of its residents and Richard Gay.

Since then, the name, recipe and affinity for Beaufort Stew still remains in tact.   And, a couple of local restaurants still serve the popular dish.  Diners can go to Steamer Oyster & Steakhouse at 168 Sea Island Parkway which features the stew on its menu, although they call it Frogmore Stew.  But the ingredients and delicious flavor are the same along with an accolade: The 10Best Trusted Advice for Travelers Web site claims it to be the best version of Beaufort Stew in town.

Recipe for Beaufort Stew

1)      In a large pot, boil the white potatoes and corn on the cob for approximately 15 minutes.

2)      When they are finished, place the smoked sausage links in the pot, and let cook for 5 minutes.

3)      Add the shrimp, crablegs, Old Bay seasoning, and two to three shakes of hot sauce to the pot, and let cook for 10 minutes. 

4)      Add in salt and pepper, or, place them on the table for people to add to their preference.

For one pot to feed six adults, 10 ears of sweet corn on the cob, 1 lb of smoke sausage, 2 lbs of large local shrimp, 1 ½ lb bag of white potatoes, 1 box of crab legs, 1 box of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning, hot sauce, and salt and pepper are needed.

If you are planning a visit to Beaufort to try Frogmore Stew, be sure to check out Beaufort's newest, luxury hote.  Beaufort’s City Loft Hotel, complete with upscale amenities such as its City Java & News espresso bar.

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