Watch Cooking Channel

How to Host a Crawfish Boil

Crawfish Boil

It seems every part of the country has its own unique type of seafood extravaganza, whether it’s a Low Country boil in Charleston, a clambake in Maine, or a crawfish boil down in New Orleans.  I’ve been to quite a few in my day, but this year it was high time I hosted my own.

Crawfish season, which usually runs from late April through June and sometimes into July, just so happened to coincide with my boyfriend’s birthday. As if I needed another excuse to celebrate!

Crawfish Boil

Usually when I entertain at home, I have a slight tendency to micromanage. Fortunately, I had a lot on my plate the week of the party, so I decided this crawfish boil would have to be a more “hands-on” affair. I delegated out tasks to the unsuspecting guests, including which dishes to make and what beer to bring. With appetizers, sides and desserts taken care of, I could focus on the main event: the crawfish!

Crawfish Boil

The most difficult part of planning was tracking down the live crawfish.  I ordered 35 pounds through a reputable local restaurant for a Saturday delivery. I figured I could (hopefully) keep the little guys alive for at least 24 hours. Around 4 p.m. I got a call saying they didn’t arrive as expected. So much for that idea. I tried not to panic and drove across town to a bustling seafood market, where I was in luck: I purchased 35 pounds of crawfish for half the cost that I would have paid at the restaurant. Score!

By the time the guests started to arrive, things seemed to be moving along smoothly. Tip: Have all of your equipment checked and ready to go before the party starts. No one needs to be scrambling for a full propane tank on a Sunday afternoon. Not that I learned this from experience or anything.

And when someone asks if they can help, say yes. I had the girls chopping all the vegetables, while the boys were in the backyard purging the crawfish. Once the crawfish were ready to be cooked, I had everyone active in the process. From how much seafood boil to put in the water, to how long the potatoes should cook, everyone got to add their input (and trust me, everyone had an opinion).

In the end, we got about four or five batches of cooked crawfish out of the 35 pounds. The crawfish eating lasted late into the evening until everyone had their fill. And just when I thought I needed to start cleaning, I was handed a huge bag of peeled crawfish just waiting to go into the freezer. All that was left was to toss out the dirty newspapers and hit the hay. Turns out even cleanup can be a group effort. Who knew?

At the end of the day, it was my most successful party to date.  Do I want to do it again? Absolutely. But I think I’ll wait until next year.

Crawfish Boil

Crawfish Boil Recipe
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 2-5 hours
Serves: 25-30 people

Purchase 2-3 pounds of crawfish per person. This is what I averaged for a party of 25-30 people, accounting for the fact that we would have appetizers, sides and desserts, in addition to the corn, sausage and potatoes. We had a good bit of leftovers, but the crawfish all got peeled and frozen to use in a batch of etouffée.

Equipment

  • Large aluminum stockpot with strainer
  • Single propane burner
  • Large cooler with spigot
  • Large aluminum tub (or baby pool)
  • Large paddle or stick, to stir
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Disposable plastic tarp
  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Large trash can

Ingredients

  • 1 (35 pound) pound bag live crawfish
  • 1 (3 pound) box salt
  • 4 (3 ounce) boxes seafood boil (we used Zatarain’s Extra Spicy)
  • 1 pound sausages, such as andouille, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 8 ears corn, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 5 pounds new potatoes, cut into quarters
  • Cocktail sauce, optional
  • Hot sauce, optional
  • Melted butter, optional

Once you are ready to cook, you need to “purge” the live crawfish of mud and dirt. Put the crawfish in a large tub or baby pool and fill with cool water and 1/2 the box of salt. Once the water becomes muddy, drain and repeat the process until the water remains fairly clear. Do not allow the crawfish to just sit in the water, as this could kill them. Repeat at least 3 times if not more, although you don’t have to keep using salt. (The cleaner the water, the cleaner your crawfish are on the inside. And that’s a good thing.)

Pick through and discard any crawfish that haven’t survived the journey. I recommend using thick rubber gloves because the ones that are alive are going to be ready to pinch.  Be careful not to put any dead crawfish in the cooking pot.

Cover a large table with a disposable plastic tarp and line with newspapers. Set out rolls of paper towels. Have a large trashcan with thick liner nearby for shells.

Fill water about halfway up a large steel stockpot with a strainer insert. Add seafood boil and bring to a boil for a few minutes to get the spices going. Working in batches, add some potatoes and cook until just barely tender, approximately 10 minutes. Add sausage and cook for about 5 minutes. Finally add the corn and cook about 5 more minutes.

The crawfish should go in last. These should only cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, and no longer than 5. As soon as the first crawfish floats, remove the strainer from the water, allowing excess water to drain back into the pot. Dump crawfish and vegetables onto the table. Season with kosher salt and pepper and serve with hot sauce, cocktail sauce, and melted butter, if desired.

Repeat in batches. Each batch of crawfish will be spicier as the water boils down. If you lose much water, add another bag of crawfish boil and more water.

To eat, grab the crawfish between the head and tail, pinch and twist. The body and tail should separate. Suck the juices from the head. Peel away a section or two of the shell from the top of the crawfish.  Pinch the crawfish at the base of the tail.  This will loosen the crawfish from the shell.  Pull out the meat and enjoy. Any leftover crawfish should be peeled immediately and frozen for another use.

To clean up, pull up plastic tarp with remaining shells and dispose of immediately, double-bagging if necessary.

Cook’s Note: If you are not using your live crawfish immediately, special care must be taken to keep them healthy.  Store them in their mesh bag, in a cool, dark place (like a garage) and out of reach of sneaky animals. I kept them in a big cooler over a bag of ice with the spigot open so the melted water could drain out. They need oxygen, so keep the lid propped for air.  They can be kept alive like this for up to 48 hours, but the sooner you use them the better.

Crawfish Boil

More Southern Eats From Nealey

Nealey moved from Alabama to the West Coast to follow her dreams, only to realize once there how much she missed good ol’ country cooking.  So she took to the kitchen and began re-creating the dishes of her past, but this time without any help from a can. What started out as a hobby turned into an obsession, so she quit her day job to pursue cooking, and eating, fulltime. Dixie Caviar is where you can follow her pursuits of all things Southern.

Tags:

Comments (3274)

  1. Video Marketing Singapore posted 01/21/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  2. photo booth rental dallas tx posted 01/21/2013

    Online Article……

    [...]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available [...]……

  3. Samui beach villas posted 01/21/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  4. forex option trading posted 01/21/2013

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

  5. residences at emerald hill posted 01/21/2013

    Awesome website…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]……

  6. Silvana De Cianni posted 01/21/2013

    Fantastic…

    Extremely informative blog page. Thanks Again. Really Cool….

  7. kittens for sale posted 01/21/2013

    Websites you should visit…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]……

  8. koh samui villas posted 01/21/2013

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[...]……

  9. villas koh samui posted 01/21/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  10. http://foreupgolf.com/ posted 01/21/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  11. Pisanie PRAC posted 01/21/2013

    Healing’s Dragon…

    to search out issues to improve my web page!I suppose its alright to create utilization of some of one’s ideas!!…

  12. Check this out…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]……

  13. Get Facebook likes posted 01/21/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  14. Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  15. hotel deals posted 01/22/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  16. syrian americans posted 01/22/2013

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

  17. Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  18. de christelijke datingsite posted 01/22/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  19. future watch posted 01/23/2013

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  20. free pdf to ipad on mac posted 01/23/2013

    Awesome website…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]……

  21. if onebuckresume posted 01/23/2013

    Websites you should visit…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]……

  22. Websites you should visit…

    [...]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[...]……

  23. dekoracje wnętrz posted 01/23/2013

    The Birch of the Shadow…

    I think there might be a couple of duplicates, but an exceedingly helpful listing! I have tweeted this. Lots of thanks for sharing!…

  24. free itunes gift card posted 01/24/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  25. Best Legal Buds posted 01/24/2013

    Online Article……

    [...]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available [...]……

  26. webdesigner posted 01/24/2013

    Sources…

    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]……

  27. naples florida real estate posted 01/24/2013

    Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related sites to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  28. android app posted 01/24/2013

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  29. Best Herbal Smoke posted 01/24/2013

    Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related sites to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  30. Special Effects posted 01/25/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  31. Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  32. buy synthroid online posted 01/26/2013

    symptoms of thyroid problems…

    [...]discount Thyroxine 25mg in UK without prescription[...]…

  33. Soal Ujian posted 01/26/2013

    Related……

    [...]just beneath, are numerous totally not related sites to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[...]……

  34. dave wood posted 01/26/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  35. sex xxx posted 01/26/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  36. credit card debt posted 01/26/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  37. chi energy posted 01/26/2013

    Digg…

    While checking out DIGG today I noticed this…

  38. Public Enemy posted 01/27/2013

    Public Enemy…

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So good to seek out somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this web site is one thing that is wanted on the net, someone with just a l…

  39. Surrey Auto posted 01/27/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  40. used cars trucks posted 01/27/2013

    Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  41. money mutual posted 01/27/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  42. cheap deals posted 01/27/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  43. ramos de flores posted 01/28/2013

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  44. Dr. Simeons posted 01/28/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    [...]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[...]……

  45. where to eat posted 01/28/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    [...]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[...]……

  46. Empower Network posted 01/28/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    [...]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[...]……

  47. Visitor recommendations…

    [...]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[...]……

  48. business advice posted 01/28/2013

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  49. Watches posted 01/28/2013

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  50. iphone 5 case posted 01/28/2013

    You should check this out…

    [...] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well [...]……

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c