The beauty of the shrimp boil is it feeds a large crowd easily. While it takes some special equipment you will use the stuff time and time again, deep fry a turkey, fried chicken for a lot of people, and even a catfish fry.
What I like about the boil is at the end, after everyone had eaten, you just roll up the paper with all the scrapes on it and through it away. The only thing left to clean is the shrimp boil pot.
Make sure to serve lots and lots of garlic bread! —thirschfeld
shell-on 26-30 shrimp, thawed
bags, Zatarain's shrimp boil spice
bottles Zatarain's liquid boil
creole or cajuon seasoning
heads of garlic, topped trimmed off
yellow onions, trimmed root end left attached, peeled and quartered
bunches of celery, trimmed but left whole and rinsed
whole artichokes, trimmed of leaf spikes, stems peeled
Take your time while cooking and make sure everything is cooking long enough. I have my method down but you might buy larger potatoes, onions or artichokes, or maybe smaller, all of these factors effect your cooking times. Use your best judgement and as I said make sure the potatoes are done. If they are chances are everything else is too. Depending on your heat source the water may take a long time to boil. You might even need a lid to get it to boil and might have to keep the lid on while cooking. My point is plan accordingly.
Fill a 44 quart pot with a boiler basket a little over half full with cold water. Add the liquid boil, spice bags, garlic, lemons, salt, creole seasoning, celery, onions and artichokes to the pot.
Place the pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the potatoes, bring the pot back to a boil. Wait about five minutes, maybe a bit longer if your potatoes are larger then golf balls, then add the corn, sausage and green onions. Bring the whole thing to a boil, fish around for a larger sized potato and test one for doneness. If it is tender add the asparagus if not let everything cook longer. When the potatoes are tender add the asparagus and cook until they are just tender. Remove the basket, let it drain and then walk down the table and, having guests walk down the table with you making sure nothing rolls off, dump the whole thing out.
Take the basket back to the pot and put it back into the boiling water. Add the shrimp and stir them around a time or two. Let them cook until done, only a couple of minutes if your water was boiling when you dropped them in or if the water has come back to a boil. Drain and walk back to the table and dump the shrimp on top of everything.