The 3 Lowcountry Seafood Dishes You Must Try (And Where To Find Them)

As you’d probably expect from an area that’s more or less below sea level, The South Carolina Lowcountry has some deep seafood cred.

We might not have the Northeast’s lobsters, and our shrimp may play second fiddle to the rich bounties of the Gulf Coast, but what we do have is a rich cornucopia of crustaceans, mollusks and shellfish that make for some damn good eating.

From the brackish waters of our winding marshes to the rolling waves of the open ocean, the Lowcountry is nature’s buffet. Throw on a bib and dig in to some of our favorites.

 

Daufuskie Deviled Crab


Photo by Barry Kaufman

You’ve no doubt had some variation of the deviled crab before, as it pops up on seafood menus from here to N’Awlins. But on Daufuskie, deviled crab isn’t just a dish. It’s a way of life.

In the lean years after the oyster beds were closed by the Federal government, and before big-money developers started seeing dollar signs in the sands of ‘Fuskie, there were two major industries: moonshine and Daufuskie deviled crabs. The story goes, the men would load the moonshine under scrap iron and float it up the Savannah River, while the women would go out on the docks and sell deviled crab to passing sailors.

A lot of places serve it, but you’ll only find it prepared with the proper reverence on Daufuskie Island.

Where to Get It: Old Daufuskie Crab Co.  

At the heart of Freeport Marina on Daufuskie is the social hub of the whole island, where the deviled crab is rightfully held up as the epicurean masterpiece it is. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch Wick Scurry in there and he’ll tell you the whole story of how this dish came to represent Daufuskie.

 

May River Oysters


Photo via Facebook

We could get scientific on you here and tell you how the unique ecosystem of the May River has created what could rightfully be called the world’s most perfect oyster. We could school you on the unique brine of the river, how freshwater from upland mingles with the salt of the ocean in the perfect mix along the bends of the May. We could, but our mouth is full.

Because damn these are tasty oysters.

And in Bluffton, along the banks of the May, the “R” months are reason to celebrate as we pull these savory salty treats from the pluff mud and serve them up right on a chunk of reef.

Where to Get It: Bluffton Oyster Co. Family Seafood House

The Toomer family name is synonymous with May River oysters, as they’ve been running the Bluffton Oyster Factory for generations. You can still look around the grounds where locals would work hours on end shucking oysters, or you can try your hand at it at their family restaurant located up the way at the Promenade.

 

Cobia


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If you see a lot of full bellies in the Lowcountry this time of year, it’s because the month of May heralds the peak of cobia season. These tasty titans of the deep can run as big as 100 pounds of flaky, delicious goodness. One bit of the big brown and you’ll understand why fishermen come from all over to fish our waters for cobia. It’s like nature cross-bred a fish with a stick of butter.

Where to Get It: Skull Creek Boathouse

Located right on the water at – you guessed it – Skull Creek on Hilton Head Island, the Boathouse has topped every list of best places to get cobia since everyone decided to start turning everything into lists. Generally on off-menu special, if you get there at the right time you can usually land a nice big fillet or try on something a little more exotic like the skewers pictured.

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