This campfire shrimp boil features mussels, shrimp, corn, and potatoes cooked with beer in a Dutch oven! It’s a fancy outdoor meal ready in less than 30 minutes.
Camping is often tied to the idea of simplicity.
And rightly so! When we head for an outdoor getaway, we want to be able to focus on the sights around us and the adventures in front of us.
That’s why the quick and easy meal is so important.
But do you ever wonder if quick and easy can sometimes be compatible with gourmet?
The answer, of course, is yes! That’s why I’ve made it my mission to test out the possibilities — the campfire meals that come with a little extra fanciness. The ones meant for savoring at the end of a happy day.
This campfire shrimp boil is designed exactly for such occasions. A hearty helping of seafood, potatoes, and corn, cooked with beer, onion, and lemon, will be on your plate in under 30 minutes!
Will I Need a Cooler For This Meal?
Yes, you’ll want to have a camping cooler along, unless you’re using all freshly purchased or caught seafood at the beach. (And even then you’ll likely want to store your seafood on ice until you’re ready to cook it.)
Can I Prepare This Campfire Shrimp Boil Ahead of Time?
To speed up the cook time, you can par-boil the potatoes at home, and then store them in a cooler. (Make sure to cook this meal within two days of prepping the potatoes if you opt to par-boil them.)
Also, you can pre-cut the onion and lemon, and store them in a freezer bag along with the salt and spices. Freeze the bag and place in your cooler before you leave.
What Type of Shrimp and Mussels Should I Use?
The easiest option is frozen raw shrimp with the shells off (or easy-peel).
For shrimp boils, I like to use large shrimp, but really any size shrimp will work just fine.
This recipe is suited for both fresh and frozen mussels. If fresh aren’t available, I like the Pier 33 Gourmet brand pictured below. I’ve seen this brand at Aldi, Jungle Jim’s (if you’re near Cincinnati), and also at Costco.
What else can you do with frozen mussels? I love them cooked in beer!
Is This Campfire Shrimp Boil Gluten-Free?
Everything is gluten-free, without modifications, except the beer. If needed, use a certified gluten-free beer, or use wine or broth instead of beer.
Also, many pre-made cocktail sauces are gluten-free, but if needed, make sure to use a certified gluten-free sauce.
Can I Skip the Parchment Paper?
I do recommend using the parchment.
It will help ensure that the potatoes and onions steam and don’t stick to the bottom of your cooking pot. (Since we’re only using a small amount of liquid, this is important.)
How to Make a Campfire Shrimp Boil
Before you start cooking, your campfire needs to be hot, but without active flames. If there’s not a grate readily available, you can bring a portable campfire grate!
Use some parchment paper Dutch oven liners in the pot to prevent food from sticking.
Then add the potatoes, beer, onion, lemon, Old Bay and salt to the Dutch oven.
I like to try local beers when we’re traveling. For this recipe I used an IPA made by Rhinegeist, a Cincinnati brewery.
Cover the pot and place it on the coals. Then cook for about 15 minutes.
When you take the lid back off, the potatoes will be starting to soften.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat while you add the corn, shrimp, mussels and butter.
Cover it again, place it back on the coals, and cook for about 5 more minutes.
If your seafood was frozen, extend this to about 10 minutes.
When done, the shrimp will be opaque and the mussels opened. (Discard any mussels that don’t open.)
Remove the pot from the heat, and scoop everything onto plates or bowls.
Add some of the broth over top of each serving, and serve along with extra butter, cocktail sauce – and plenty of napkins!
Campfire Shrimp Boil
- serving spoon
- plates or bowls
- 12-ounce can beer (pale ale recommended), use gluten-free beer if needed Or use white wine or broth
- 12 ounces baby potatoes (~10 potatoes) (Optionally use 4-6 small red new potatoes between 1 and 1-½ inches in diameter, quartered)
- ½ yellow or sweet onion, peeled + cut into wedges
- 1 lemon, cut into thick slices
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 2 corn on the cob, shucked + halved Or use frozen corn on the cob (if frozen cobs are halved, use 4 halves)
- 4 ounces shrimp, shells removed and deveined, tails on or off as desired
- 1 pound mussels (live, cleaned with beards removed; or frozen, pre-cooked) Alternatively, use live clams (rinsed + scrubbed) or use all shrimp (double amount)
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee, plus more for serving if desired
- Cocktail sauce (to serve)
- Prepare campfire: Heat coals until they are very hot, or let a campfire burn down until the wood is smoldering but without active flames.
- Line the Dutch oven with a parchment paper liner (to prevent the food from sticking to the pot). Add potatoes, beer, onion, lemon, Old Bay and salt to the Dutch oven.Cover the pot and place on the coals. Cook about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften.
- Remove oven from heat and add the corn, shrimp, mussels and butter.Cover the oven, place back on the coals, and cook about 5 more minutes (or 10 more minutes if your seafood was frozen), or until the shrimp is opaque and the mussels are opened.(Discard any mussels that don’t open.)
- Remove from heat, and scoop seafood mixture onto plates or bowls. Make sure to add some of the broth from the oven onto each serving.Serve along with extra butter, cocktail sauce and plenty of napkins.
- If desired, par-boil the potatoes for about 8 minutes before leaving your home. Store them chilled for up to 2 days. If using par-boiled potatoes, you can add all the ingredients to the Dutch oven at the same time, and reduce total cook time to about 10 minutes.
- Par-boil and freeze the corn on the cob, or use prepared frozen corn on the cob.
- Peel and cut the onion ahead of time. Add the onion to a bag along with the spice mix and salt and store for up to 10 days (or freeze and store up to 8 months).