Whether you call them crawfish, mudbugs, crawdads, crayfish, or freshwater lobsters, these little crustaceans are one of the most underrated seafoods out there. If you can find them on a menu, it’s usually in étouffée, a popular New Orleans-style stew often filled with plump crawfish meat. But, they can also be served at your backyard get-together where they are boiled with other vegetables and cajun seasonings to serve up the perfect meal.
Perfecting a crawfish boil in itself is hard enough, but actually picking the crawfish and getting every last piece of meat out is the real challenge. No fear, we are here to break down this daunting process and lay out the basics of how to properly pick and prepare these little buggers.
1. Order at least 40 pounds
While this may sound a little excessive, you can never have too many crawfish. 40 pounds will only serve around 12 people, so if you don’t have enough friends or family to eat all 40 lbs, at least you’ll have some leftovers.
2. Pick the perfect seasoning
The best part of a crawfish boil is the flavor. You have to find the perfect amount of kick that will keep you reaching for a cold beer all afternoon. We recommend Slap Ya Mama’s Cajun Seafood Seasoning.
3. Pick your add-ins
Whether its potatoes, corn or some andouille sausage, the broth from a crawfish boil is a great addition to anything. Cook the add-ins separately but make sure you mix them all together at the end to get the full cajun flavor.
4. Lay out your newspaper
Eating crawfish can get messy so there’s no better way to prep for a crawfish boil than to cover your tables in newspaper. Make sure you put down multiple layers so the claws don’t poke through. When you are finished eating, just roll everything up into the newspaper and toss it in the trash! Clean up will only take a minute with this quick trick.
5. Grab the biggest crawfish you find
Early bird gets the worm is a universal rule and applies here too. The first one at the table gets the best pick, so make sure you are ready when the dinner bell rings.
#SpoonTip: Make sure the tail is curled, flat tails are a sign the crawfish died before it was boiled.
6. Pinch the tail
Firmly grip the tail and pull it off the body. It may seem a little inhumane at first but you’ll become a natural after the first few. Peel off the first two of three rings from the tail and pull out the meat. It may not look like much, but you’ll find yourself going back for more after just one bite.
7. Suck the head
Nothing beats the flavor packed in the head of a crawfish. While it may seem a little weird, the head is filled with delicious broth that has been perfectly seasoned in the boil. Don’t wimp out, the head is a flavor goldmine.
8. Dip and enjoy
Sauces vary from person to person but ketchup and mayonnaise are a staple. Tabasco, horseradish and Worcestershire are good mix-ins as well but sometimes just some melted butter is the way to go. Dip your chunk of meat in your home made mixture and enjoy.
Repeat steps 5-8 until you have to unbutton your pants.
Then keep going. Crawfish boils are about sitting down for a few hours and enjoying good food and good company. You’ve got 40 pounds to pick through so it’s going to take a while. In fact, you might as well grab a cold brew, or two, to wash down the spice and get real comfy.