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Sizzlin’ Summer

How to Throw a Louisiana Style Crawfish Boil!

Photo: Illustration by Ben Claassen III, License: N/A

Illustration by Ben Claassen III


Ordering

1. Figure out how many people you have attending. I usually do this by selling tickets for $25 each via Paypal.

2. Once you know how many people will be attending, you can figure out how many pounds of crawfish you need to order. The suggested amount is 3-4 pounds per person (I typically order 5 pounds or more per person, hoping for leftovers).

3. Crawfish season can run as early as mid-December till around late June, with prices being the best during peak season (mid-May to early June). They can be ordered through various websites. I use lacrawfish.com.

4. Crawfish are shipped LIVE overnight and can be delivered via FedEx or can be picked up from the airport for a bit less money. They can also be ordered with seasoning included (recommended).

Setup

1. I usually set up a line of tables (underneath tents in case it rains).

2. Good trick #1: Tables can be covered with taped-down garbage bags and then a layer of newspapers that can be discarded between batches.

3. Buy extra food and supplies. I typically buy: potatoes, corn, whole chickens, jambalaya ingredients, onions, whole garlic, lemons, andouille sausage, and salt. Also, trash bags, paper towels, and propane.

4. For cooking crawfish you’ll need a large pot with a strainer (important), a propane burner, and a paddle to stir them.

Cooking (must be done outdoors)

1. Good trick #2: Early in the morning, the first thing I do is fill the pot(s) halfway with water and boil the whole chickens. The chickens are removed and chopped up to be put in the jambalaya. Leave the chicken fat in the water. This will make the crawfish easier to peel.

2. When crawfish arrive, they come in bags. The bags should be taken out and placed on end and sprayed lightly with water. This should be done a few times during the day. Note: it’s important that they aren’t left in standing water, as they can drown in even just a small amount of water.

3. First batch. Fill the pot about halfway with water. Add a few lemons, about a half-a-cylinder of salt, and the 1-pound seasoning packet that comes with the crawfish (I use “EXTRA SPICY”). You can also use Zatarain’s crab-boil packets from the supermarket, but I’ve never gotten that stuff to work very well. Bring to a boil.

4. Pour crawfish into strainer along with potatoes, corn, halves of onions, and whole garlic. Cover with more water if needed. Return to a boil. Boil 15 minutes.

5. Cut the fire and let stand for 30-45 minutes. The longer they soak, the spicier they get (batches get spicier and spicier throughout the day). Good trick #3: I’ve heard that if you kill the boil by throwing in ice, it tends to lock in the spices.

Eating

1. Remove strainer from pot and dump a line of crawfish onto the tables. You’ll need a good pair of gloves for this.

2. To eat a crawfish, first remove the tail from the head. Suck the head if you like.

3. Peel off the first couple sections of tail. Remove vein. Good trick #4: Tail meat will pop out if you pinch the back of the tail.

4. Eat, eat, eat! Drink, drink, drink! At the end of the day, there will hopefully be leftovers which can be peeled and frozen to be used later in crawfish ettoufee, crawfish pies, or gumbo! Good trick #5: If you freeze them in a ziplock bag with lemon juice, they will keep their color.

 

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