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How much shrimp for a shrimp boil and what to serve with it for a 40th Birthday Party?

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Planning a 40th birthday for my husband in late March and we're going with a shrimp boil/mildly New Orleans theme. We're inviting 80ppl, though I'm figuring we'll have about 50. How many pounds of shrimp per person should I be thinking? I'm doing the normal corn, potatoes and will be adding sausage as well this boil. I'm also having somebody there shucking oysters.

Besides quantity, what should I serve to start? I was thinking about making mini muffulettas, and the usual veggie and blue chz dip, since my husband loves that and anybody who doesn't eat seafood {I'm not sure there are any} can eat the muffs and veggies. I would love to do meat pies, but I'm not sure the feasibility of frying dozens of meat pies and baking them doesn't sound like a great idea. I need ideas!

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  1. The caterer in me thinks a minimum of 25# of 21/25 shrimp along with the corn, potatoes, and sausage is sufficient. Oysters fit well with the theme as well. While muffulettas are a fine sandwich it's not really comparable to the boil, and oysters for your non-eating seafood guests. Consider a grilled beef tri-tip, or brisket instead? Garlic bread would pair well with everything. Not knowing what the logistics, and budget are makes it difficult to suggest alternatives.

    1 Reply
    1. re: letsindulge

      Whoops...overlooked the NOLA theme. There's always a Cajun-style rub!

    2. Admittedly Im from new orleans and we eat a lot of shrimp, but we figure at LEAST a pound per person. Id go for 50 pounds.

      3 Replies
      1. re: twyst

        That would be some HUNGRY people!

        1. re: letsindulge

          Not really when you consider how much of the weight is waste.. A pound of shrimp is going to give you about 11 ounces of usable protein (assuming you are using head on shrimp). As a main, that is a reasonable amount.

          1. re: twyst

            Bought a pound of peel & eat 21/25's yesterday to snack on during football and I'm just saying that even my husband, and I couldn't finish them. Yes, we had a side of taquitos and guac but 25 shrimp (headless or not) is ALOT of food for one person IMO.

      2. I do catering in South Georgia and do a lot of what we call "low country boils". With the other stuff you have going on, half a pound per person is very generous. But please, put onions in with your corn, potatoes, sausage and shrimp. It is usually the most popular item.

        4 Replies
        1. re: leslieinGA

          will you have help serving and plating? a party for 80, even 50, can be too much for just you.

          is it in your house? your yard? a hall?

          do you have chafing dishes and all this serving ware?

          as a new englander, i don't see the problem with the muffalettas. they can be made ahead and are a very filling. for such a large group though, i'd make the traditional big ones and just slice them small. you'd need to make boatloads of those minis.

          1/2 pound of purchased shrimp will be about 5-6 oz. per person. depending on how much other food is there, this should be plenty.

          would your set-up allow for raw bar to start? with oysters, crabs, cold crawfish and such?

          can you outsource the meat pies and just reheat as needed for your party?

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I am doing the boil myself with the help of some friends...I was a cook in my past life before marriage and kids, so I'm not worried about that part. I am considering hiring a bartender and some serving/cleaning help, but haven't decided for sure yet. We're doing it at our house, in the yard, very casual. Knowing our friends people will jump in and help when need be. There won't be any plating and serving...it's a shrimp boil. You throw it out on a table and people serve themselves? Maybe I'm wrong, but every boil I've ever been to has been similar.

            I'm not sure what I would need chasing dishes for either, but I do have a number of them actually. What would you suggest I serve in them?

            As far as the oysters go, it will be set up as a starter. The guy will have a table and start shucking as soon as the first guests arrive and continue until we run out of oysters or throw out the last pot of shrimp. I'm assuming we're going to do a couple of batches, so I'm going to have him shuck until everybody is eating.

            I'm going to call a local cajun place and see if they do meat pies.

            Oh and LeslieinGa, there will be onions of course, but do people really eat them? What kind of onions do you use? I just use them to flavor the boil and then toss them. I've never though about serving them.

            1. re: KateMW

              I've helped with several crawfish boils, and these things can turn into a LOT of work if you're having 50 people. I'd skip all the extras except maybe garlic bread, and just do a generous shrimp boil with lots of stuff in the pot. You'll want to be able to visit with your guests, not just slave over food all day. Like "twyst" from New Orleans, I'd do 50 pounds of shrimp, but I'm from Houston, and we eat lots of seafood, like the NO folks. Throw some big mushrooms in the pot, too. They soak up the seasoning, and are fabulous!

              1. re: arashall

                I'm from AL, we eat lots of seafood as well! I'm still thinking I need to do something more though...I know there are a couple of people who don't eat seafood, so I need the muffs and veggies. It's not like that's hard to do though, I can do those the morning of or day before for the veggies and dip. As far as the oysters go, I'm not doing any of that, the shucker will. Yay for me!