1 cup crab boil, such as Old Bay or Zatarain's (adjust to taste)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ bottle of beer (6 ounces)
1 large onion, quartered
1 lemon, halved
2 pounds new potatoes, cleaned
6 ears corn, cobs shucked and cut in half
2 pounds good-quality hickory-smoked sausage cut in 2-inch medallions
4 pounds fresh, local medium unpeeled shrimp
Combine water and first five ingredients in a large stock pot (one with a removable strainer basket is useful), stir, and bring to a boil.
Add potatoes and boil for 15 minutes. Add sausage and boil for 5 additional minutes. Add corn and boil for 5 additional minutes.
Turn off heat completely, add shrimp, and stir. Close lid and allow shrimp to steam until they turn pink (about 3 minutes—it is critical not to overcook shrimp). Drain immediately (if you have a pot with a removable strainer, carefully remove it from the pot).
Dump entire contents of pot onto table covered with newspaper (a piece of plywood supported between two sawhorses is ideal). Serve with cocktail sauce, beer, and lots of paper towels.