Chef Folse's Boiled River Shrimp

Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yields: 12 Servings

River shrimp, unlike lake or gulf shrimp, need very little cooking. The preferred method is to turn off heat when water boils and allow shrimp to infuse in the seasoned liquid. The soak time should not exceed 5-7 minutes. If the shrimp sit too long in the water they will become difficult to peel. The red roe inside the shrimp shell is the real delicacy of this dish.


20 pounds (31-35 count) head-on river shrimp, washed
30 quarts cold water
6 medium onions, quartered
6 heads garlic, split in half exposing pods
6 lemons, quartered
1 cup vegetable oil
4 pounds salt
½ pound cayenne pepper
4 (3-ounce) bags crab boil


In a 60-quart stockpot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add onions, garlic, lemons, vegetable oil, salt, cayenne and crab boil. Allow ingredients to boil 30 minutes in order to infuse flavor into water. Stir in shrimp, and turn off heat when water returns to a boil. Allow shrimp to soak 5 minutes. Test for seasoning before removing from pot, but do not let shrimp soak too long.