Tidewater Boil Burgers: A wonderful alternative to a low country boil

Are we still in the Dog Days Of Summer?   Those hot August Days that seem to drag on and on?  We’re waiting for back to school, back to football and back to tailgating.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Susan Scarborough, a talented photographer and as I soon found out, a talented chef.

Susan Scarborough, artist, photographer and chef photo by Susan Scarborough

Susan entered and won the Sutter Home BBB (Build a Better Burger) competition in 2008, in the Alternative Burger Category.  And what an Alternative!

Contestants were asked to submit recipes that were representative of where the entrant lived or grew up.  Susan, being from coastal Fernandina Beach,  FL  developed her Tidewater Boil Burger.

Susan Scarborough's Tidewater Boil Burgers photo by Susan Scarborough

Susan’s description accompanying her recipe entry stated, “The southeast coast of the U.S. from Maryland to Texas is riddled with back yards serving up these same fresh ingredients as Frogmore stew, lowcountry boil, or tidewater boil.  This built-on-a-bun version has all the elements that are usually tossed in a pot:  seasoned crab, shrimp, corn, sausage, and even potatoes.  Spread some newspaper on the picnic table and dig in, America.”

Tidewater Boil Burgers with Charred Sweet Corn Salsa and Lemon-Lime Crem-onnaise

Charred Sweet Corn and Chorizo Salsa

  • 1 large ear fresh sweet corn
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup small diced chorizo or kielbasa sausage
  • 3 tablespoons minced Vidalia onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Lemon-Lime Crem-onnaise

  • 1/2 cup quality mayonnaise, preferably southern-made Duke's
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (3 key limes or 1 regular)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Potato Buns

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly pressed garlic
  • 6 soft medium-large quality bakery potato buns, split

Crab N Shrimp Patties

  • 1 pound fresh crab meat, picked through for shells
  • 3/4 pound fresh medium wild-caught North American shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 1 large fresh egg plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced green onion, including green part
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Zatarain's or Old Bay
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack


  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

For the salsa

  1. Clean the corn and brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Place directly over the hottest part of the grill.
  3. Cover and grill the corn, turning as needed, until char marks appear on some areas, about 10 minutes.
  4. Cut the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife and place into a small mixing bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. In a small frying pan over the grill rack or side burner, cook the sausage until browned, then transfer with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the corn.
  6. Add the onion, parsley, salt, and pepper and toss. Cover and set aside.

For the crem-onnaise

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, crema, lime juice, and lemon juice.
  2. Cover and chill.

For the potato buns

  1. Melt the butter with the garlic in a small skillet over the rack, and then remove from the heat. Brush the cut sides of the buns with about 3 tablespoons of the garlic butter.

For the patties

  1. In a medium bowl, lightly mix the crab, shrimp, beaten egg and egg white, mustard, onion, lemon zest, salt, seafood seasoning, and 2 tablespoons of the remaining garlic butter.
  2. Add half of the panko and let rest 5 minutes.
  3. Add the additional panko as needed until you arrive at a good consistency.
  4. Form into 6 patties.
  5. Brush the patties with the remaining garlic butter.
  6. Set aside until patties reach room temperature.
  7. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil.
  8. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook until just opaque inside, turning once, about 6 minutes total.
  9. Meanwhile grill the buns until golden.

To assemble the burgers

  1. Spread the buns with the crem-onnaise, place the patties on the bottom buns, top with the salsa, and add the bun tops.

By Susan Scarborough


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

This award winning recipe takes a little time, so Susan shared a few tips on streamlining the process.  “If one hasn’t both lemon and lime, use what is on hand.  Only have Kielbasa? That will work too.  Have good pre-made crab cakes handy? Use those!  Won’t be quite as good, but hey, convenience is a bonus!!  If you are making the burgers as directed with shrimp and crab for the patties, use flavorful wild caught shrimp, but canned crab is fine.  And use the least Panko necessary to hold them together.  The things I think are worth doing “just so” if possible are:  Do use a good fresh ear of corn, not canned!  Also, the potato rolls with the garlic and toasting are a MUST!”

Tidewater Boil Burger photo by Susan Scarborough

The judges for the contest were:  James McNair, Head Judge; Lucy “Lulu” Ann Buffett (Jimmy’s sister);  Cathy Cochran-Lewis;  Nathalie Dupree;  Barbara Pool Fenzi; Rick Rodgers; and Art Smith.

Susan during the cook-off contest and Susan receiving the $10,000 check!

Sutter Home BBB contest Susan Scarborough photo by Susan Scarborough

Above photos courtesy of Susan Scarborough.

In keeping with my tailgating theme, these tidewater burgers could be perfect for tailgating.  Make everything ahead and transport to the tailgate ready to be assembled after grilling on your portable grill.

Or I think a traditional Low Country Boil in a big pot can work at a tailgate.  Remember the LSU fan stirring his pot of Gator Picadillo?Gator tail Picadillo stirred in a big pot LSU tailgating photo by Kathy Miller

Just imagine this pot holding the traditional Low Country Boil;  crab, shrimp, potatoes, corn and spices!  Would be perfect at a South Carolina/ Clemson game or a Florida/FSU game!

Knowing I was going to write about Susan Scarborough’s Tidewater Burger made me crave a Low Country Boil.  Dave, James and I decided to throw our own Dog Days of Summer Boil.

Low Country Boil with Shrimp, Summer Sausage, Potatoes and Corn

We adapted a Frogmore Stew recipe from Mike Lata, in Garden & Gun Magazine, to suit our purposes.


  • 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pound small red new potatoes
  • 1 package smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
  • 1-2 sweet Vidalia onions, diced or sliced in wedges
  • 3 ears fresh Silver Queen corn, shucked and sliced in thirds
  • 3 pounds Mayport shrimp (Northeast Florida shrimp), peeled and deveined with tails on
  • soft rosemary butter
  • olive oil with herbs
  • hot sauce of your choice
  • lemon wedges for squeezing


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer on stove, or grill at a tailgate.
  2. Add Old Bay Seasoning and simmer to meld the flavors.
  3. Add potatoes, sausage and onions. Simmer 15-20 minutes
  4. Add corn and simmer about 5 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and cook 5-6 minutes until they turn pink.
  6. Strain solids and serve on a large platter or on newspaper if at a picnic or tailgate.
  7. Serve with soft rosemary butter or olive oil with herbs for the potatoes.
  8. A few drops of hot sauce and a squeeze of lemon never hurts.


I think a little green would help make this a one stop meal. Next time I am adding broccoli florets at the same time as the corn.

By KathyMillerTime
Mike Lata's Frogmore Stew/ Garden & Gun


Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

Served with Fresh Sliced Tomatoes, drizzled with Balsamic Glaze, Avocados, Arugula, Sliced Vidalia Onions and Wickles Pickles Fresh Tomotoes with Avocados, Arugula, sliced Vidalia Onions, Wickles Pickles photo by Kathy Miller

I also made the Oriental Slaw from Joy McCabe’s Fish Fry Post and served it in a vintage yellow mixing bowl from the 1950’s.

Oriental slaw from Joy McCabe in vintage yellow mixing bowl photo by Kathy Miller

My blue and yellow theme continued on the porch.

Low Country Boil Table setting with yellow and blue photo by Kathy Miller

Low Country Boil on a Tidal Creek.

Dessert was my go to this summer:  Blueberry Pecan Cobbler using fresh blueberries from our farm.

Blueberry with Pecan Cobbler photo by Kathy Miller

Thank you to Susan Scarborough for sharing her fabulous Tidewater Burger recipe and photos.  As I mentioned, she is a wonderful artist and photographer.  Please visit her website Smitten.com.

Susan took this photo for my 4th of July post.

4th of July tables cape styled by Kathy Miller photo by Susan Scarborough

Susan with her corgi, Wallace.

Susan Scarborough with her dog photo by Susan Scarborough

Susan took this photograph of me with my dog Sheldon.  Think we might have a theme going here.

Dog Days Of Summer!

Kathy Miller with Sheldon, photo by Susan Scarborough for South Island Living article

Watch for upcoming stories from my summer travels.  Vermont and Maine here we come!

 I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.




  • Darleen Robertson says:

    The recipe sounds very yummy, but being allergic to all seafood, I’m thinking a grilled chicken breast instead of shrimp/crab pattie. And Kathy ~ that photo of you and your pup is BEAUTIFUL ~ think a copy on Dave’s desk would be nice :-). Have a good one ~ D

    • Thanks Darleen. Susan is a fabulous cook and I will be cooking these up soon. The chicken sounds interesting. Always appreciate your comments. That photo is now on Dave’s desk.

  • Linda says:

    Love the recipes and especially love the “Tailgating through the South” prints. So glad to have found your site.
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