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. serwis randkowy posted 11/16/2012

    The Slave of the Husband…

    Seeking ahead to researching more from you afterward!……

  2. go through this article here posted 11/16/2012

    amazing point out…

    hello truth be informed there!, I love almost any making very a great deal! percentage every solitary individual proceed any type of transmission further about nearly every article linked along along with AMERICA ONLINE? Document desire an authority us…

  3. web design barrow posted 11/17/2012

    Cool sites…

    Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitor…

  4. 1 hour payday loans posted 11/17/2012

    fantastic written little…

    I’ll at the moment snatch varieties own feed once determine to recognize our e-mail reoccuring hyperlink with e-newsletter online company. Execute truth find available you’ve every individual? Kindly grant people realize to make sure I the the simple…

  5. this posted 11/18/2012

    this…

    test me again and {some|or some text} please…

  6. top web site posted 11/19/2012

    definitely incredible write-up…

    After Our partner and i came across this specific web site My spouse together with i purchased reddit to mention most of the enjoy together along along with such….

  7. pmu.fr pronostic resultat posted 11/19/2012

    alphacourse pmu turfomania pronostic…

    annuaire baseturf pronostics gratuits…

  8. this speak to page posted 11/20/2012

    high top quality info…

    Completely, precisely that in the magnificent site along with illuminating blogposts, I’ll book mark your overall site. Best Link!…

  9. UK blog posted 11/20/2012

    Great Content…

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

  10. maschinen auktionen posted 11/20/2012

    Cool sites…

    Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitor…

  11. profits noob posted 11/21/2012

    good submit…

    Something an infinitely more important is often which commonly while purchasing the highest quality on-line automated products store, locate trusted web retailers who’re usually new, preserving up-to-date most full of up-to-date vitamin dietary dietar…

  12. bgdfgdfgdfgdf posted 11/21/2012

    Title…

    […]below you will find the link to some websites that we believe you ought to visit[…]…

  13. grotlopt posted 11/23/2012

    Superb website…

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

  14. mason lodge posted 11/24/2012

    Great Content…

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

  15. letting agents glasgow posted 11/24/2012

    Cool sites…

    Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitor…

  16. Julie Leiendecker posted 11/24/2012

    Third Flower…

    My spouse and i are actually now delighted that Albert could carry out his scientific studies thanks to the thoughts he had via your online page. It’s every so often perplexing to simply generally be freely giving techniques which many people could ha…

  17. Kirk Thakur posted 11/25/2012

    The Silent Shard…

    This tends to possibly be pretty beneficial for a few within your work opportunities I plan to will not only with my weblog but…

  18. alfileres de boda posted 11/25/2012

    great write-up…

    Hey in truth there, You’ve performed an incredible work. I’ll without question delicious this along with individually suggest every single child my exclusive pals. I’m self-confident they’ll become benefited out on the internet web web website….

  19. haccp zachodniopomorskie posted 11/25/2012

    Title…

    […]Every once in a even though we pick out blogs that we study. Listed beneath are the most recent internet sites that we decide on […]…

  20. useful create…

    Concerning learned several important matters because of your internet web website publishing. Additional items I’d choose to speak about is really this there are many activities you can purchase which can be fashioned mainly to possess toddler time yo…

  21. Diseño web barato posted 11/25/2012

    specifically considerable composed little bit…

    Kudos within your own publication concerning this kind of subject internet website. Along with my, individual, private operating understanding, occasionally therapy up-wards any kind of graphic might offer expert photographer utilizing extremely little…

  22. Title…

    […]that will be the end of this write-up. Right here you will uncover some web-sites that we believe you’ll appreciate, just click the hyperlinks over[…]…

  23. Atlanta plastic surgeon posted 11/26/2012

    Online Article…

    Every so often in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose…

  24. Livia Celadon posted 11/26/2012

    The Birch of the Shadow…

    I feel there may perhaps be a few duplicates, but an exceedingly useful checklist! I have tweeted this. A lot of thanks for sharing!…

  25. Allevamento Rottweiler posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    […]here are some links to web pages that we link to for the reason that we believe they are worth visiting[…]…

  26. mold testing services posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    […]the time to study or go to the material or web sites we’ve linked to beneath the[…]…

  27. here posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    […]Here is a superb Weblog You may Come across Interesting that we Encourage You[…]…

  28. abc blinds posted 11/26/2012

    Title…

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated data, nevertheless truly worth taking a search, whoa did one discover about Mid East has got more problerms at the same time […]…

  29. weight loss diet posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    […]The info talked about within the write-up are a number of the best offered […]…

  30. logo quiz posted 11/27/2012

    Title…

    […]one of our guests just lately advised the following website[…]…

  31. Its lowers cholesterol posted 11/27/2012

    Woman of Alien…

    Perfect operate you have carried out, this web site is absolutely amazing with superb information and facts. Time is God’s method of retaining all the things from occurring simultaneously….

  32. Title…

    […]we came across a cool web site that you might appreciate. Take a look for those who want[…]…

  33. Title…

    […]The data talked about inside the article are a few of the best obtainable […]…

  34. Payday Loans posted 11/28/2012

    Payday Loans…

    Nice post thanks…

  35. Organo Gold Scam posted 11/28/2012

    Title…

    […]please stop by the web sites we stick to, which includes this one, because it represents our picks from the web[…]…

  36. Lexington Law Reviews posted 11/28/2012

    Sites we like…

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

  37. Full Article posted 11/29/2012

    Awesome website…

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

  38. Medical Practice Marketing posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    […]Here are a number of the web-sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…

  39. sofy rozkładane posted 11/29/2012

    OK…

    It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I\’ve read this put up and if I may I desire to suggest you some fascinating things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article. I desire t…

  40. Honored Internet sign…

    Hello Because of that right additionally there. I uncovered any type of blog using engines like google. That will be considered an extremely tactically produced blog. I’ll ensure that you make assured you lesezeichen this method and additionally make c…

  41. boardman Chiropractic posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    […]Sites of interest we’ve a link to[…]…

  42. Teichfolie posted 11/29/2012

    Teichfolie…

    i really don’t have got right now since regarded as being now here at you personally over a writing on a web page any more for a a stretch of time so. Even my associate Gregor is impassioned permanently and has sample on greetings dear to chitter.all …

  43. Music Business Report posted 11/29/2012

    Title…

    […]that will be the finish of this post. Here you will locate some internet sites that we assume you will enjoy, just click the hyperlinks over[…]…

  44. Read Full Report posted 11/30/2012

    Title…

    […]the time to study or visit the content or web sites we’ve linked to below the[…]…

  45. Title…

    […]the time to read or take a look at the subject material or web pages we’ve linked to below the[…]…

  46. Automobile Forum posted 11/30/2012

    Healing’s Dragon…

    to uncover troubles to improve my internet site!I suppose its okay to create usage of some within your concepts!!…

  47. lida hapi posted 11/30/2012

    Title…

    […]although web sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they’re really really worth a go by way of, so have a look[…]…

  48. website logo posted 11/30/2012

    Title…

    […]here are some links to web sites that we link to because we feel they are really worth visiting[…]…

  49. extreme weight loss posted 11/30/2012

    Title…

    […]The details mentioned within the report are some of the most beneficial out there […]…

  50. read more posted 12/01/2012

    ————————————————————————————–…

    We Black SEO – How To SEO & Affiliate Marketing Forum…

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c