How to Make a Fish Boil at Home


Fish boils are social events, staged in the summer to bring friends together in the cool of an evening. The classic fish boil, as practiced in the upper Midwest and and New England, is an activity best left to the professionals who have the outdoor equipment to do it right. In traditional fish boils, the cook tosses kerosene on the flames, causing the oil floating on the water to boil over, accelerate the fire and signify the completion of cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot
  • Two cooking baskets to fit the pot or cheesecloth sheets
  • Fire pit with pot stand and firewood, or easily-cleaned stove top
  • Twelve white fish steaks or fillets
  • Red potatoes
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Tartar sauce
  • Lemons, quartered
  • Cole slaw
  • Rye bread
  • Butter
  • Prepare your food first. Clean the fish and prepare as steaks or fillets, about two inches thick. If your potatoes are large, cut them in half. Peel the onions. Put the potatoes and onions in one basket and the fish in the other. If you don't have the metal baskets, put the fish, onions and potatoes in two-foot square pieces of cheesecloth and tie them up by the corners.

  • Put a sturdy pot rack in the center of the fire pit and build a roaring fire. When the fire begins to settle down, put your pot, filled with water, on to boil.

  • Add a cup of salt when the water boils and add gently add the potatoes and onions. After about twenty minutes, add the fish and cook for another seven to 10 minutes. Skim the potato starch and fish fat from the top of the water during cooking.

  • Pull your baskets out of the pot and surround the fish with potatoes and onions on a heaping platter. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges. Serve with coleslaw and rye bread.

Tips & Warnings

  • Steamed vegetables and roasted corn make good accompaniments, especially if they're in season.

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  • Photo Credit alexvav/iStock/Getty Images
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