#17 Crawfish Boils

Crawfish Boil. If those two words set off the waterworks in your mouth, then you just might be a Cajun. Don’t worry, that’s about as Foxworthy as I’ll ever get on you. I brought up crawfish boil rather than boiled crawfish because while boiled crawfish is a delicious food, a crawfish boil is a grand event. It’s like shootin’ your first deer, going to Mardis Gras, and your wedding day all rolled into one…but even better (but don’t tell my wife I said ‘dat, you). A crawfish boil is an all day affair that combines everything a Cajun loves: outdoors, fire, dead crustaceans, music, and gluttony.

When the guests first arrive, they socialize, munching on snacks, and drink beer. This is a good time to whip up a batch of crawfish dip, a mixture of equal parts ketchup, mayonaise and maybe a dash of seasoning and Tabasco Sauce. Some Cajuns swear by the dip, others are purists, and prefer to enjoy the natural flavor of the crawfish, and the 8 lbs of seasoning they were cooked in. There’s electricity in the air, as everyone anticipates the first glorious batch.

As the first batch of crawfish nears completion, the mood shifts, and people slowly start positioning themselves near the table, like a game of Cajun musical chairs. Sure, they’re still mingling and having a good time, but they’re really only thinking about diving into a pile of Louisiana lobster. Then the moment of truth arrives, and the steaming crawfish are dumped over a big table covered with newspapers, and the chowdown begins. This is a Jeckyll and Hyde moment, where all Cajuns are transformed into fierce crawfish peelin’ and eatin’ machines. Their primal instincts take over and there’s less chit chat, because now it’s time for business.

But don’t think we’re complete savages, even though our lizard brains have been switched on, there are still rules that have to be observed at a crawfish boil. First, it’s considered extremely rude to reach across the table and grab the biggest crawfish, especially when the pile has started to dwindle down. People have been stabbed in the hand with a fork for that offense, and you know what…they deserved it. Secondly, don’t go eatin’ the dead ones (have a Cajun explain that one to you). Do remember not wipe your eyes when you have seasoning on your hands, and feel free to suck the heads (get your mind out of the gutter, couyon!). Lastly try not to fill up on corn and potatoes, it’s a trick to keep you from eating too much crawfish! It’s like filling up on bread at a buffet. Remember, you’re here for one thing, and one thing only, and that’s to gorge yourself on crawfish.

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, you’re ready for your next crawfish boil. Don’t forget to pace yourself, a crawfish boil isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and remember to wear ‘dem stretchy pants.

23 thoughts on “#17 Crawfish Boils

  1. Those are great pics. I like how she circled and numbered the tools for a successful boil. One column can’t do a crawfish boil justice. I’ll have to expand on the wonders of crawfish in other posts.

  2. Ok, here’s my rant on Crawfish Boils.

    First, just when did it become vogue to boil everything in the pantry? Now, they put weinies, sausage, garlic, mushrooms and cabbage in addition to onions, corn and potatoes. Now, that’s alright when you have some Yankees over, but for me, give me the straight Crawfish.

    Second, my husband is a “culler”. Can’t stand that and I call him out on it every time. So, to try and appease me he culls some of the big ones and throws them at me.

    Third, the absolute BEST way to boil crawfish comes from T-Dan Broussard from Milton (no lie).

    1. Clean and “purge” crawfish and rinse good with cold water.

    2. Bring a pot of clean water to boil and put crawfish in (DO NOT ADD SEASONING). Add a few lemons — it helps them peel easier.

    3. Once they are boiled, put them in an ice chest and put salt and seasoning on top. Shut the ice chest and shake it up real good.

    4. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then pour on the table (a la my picture).

    Talk about good, chere’. C’est bon, oui. Once you try it this way, you’ll never go back. T-Dan sells the seasoning at his “shop” and it has hydrogenated garlic in it as well as just the right amount of other seasonings. He’s on Hwy. 92, just across the Bayou (Vermilion).

  3. heck yea!

    I love a good crawfish boil. although, I’m a big fan of using the leftover corn & potatoes for a nice yummy hash the next day!

    and I agree with the last person who commented- you must purge- makes a world of difference!

    Love this entry! 🙂

  4. i was wondering when you’d get to this one!

    i agree that putting the seasoning on at the end, in the ice chest, is the best way to go. although i also like having seasoning in the pot. but hey – i like mushrooms in my crawfish. to me the mushrooms really soak up the seasonings and its a burst of flavor when you bite into it.

    we’re preparing for a crawfish boil next week and i can hardly wait!

  5. This is so funny! You explained the way a crawfish boil feels perfectly! I am getting my fingers ready for our first crawfish boil this season and ready to put ’em down sha! But this year, I VOW to not scratch my eyes or even take out my contacts for the first few hours because I tell you what, that is a sure way to ruin the buzz of some good crawfish!

  6. Oh, yeah, I’m a mushroom fan as well- although, I was talking to someone the other day and she told me that she went to a boil where someone put pickles in it.


  7. Mushrooms are pretty good if you have seasoning in the water. They’re like flavor sponges. But that’s where I draw the line. Potatoes, corn, onions, and mushrooms are the only extras I throw in, but they go in after the crawfish are done. Gotta have priorities.

  8. I love how you describe it as an event. I was complaining about the lack of crawfish boils the other day to my parents. My mom is allergic to shellfish so they don’t have them anymore. They both told me to go buy some and eat them. THe point is not just eating the crawfish but having the people around and the whole “event”. I don’t want to just sit outside by myself and eat them alone all season.

  9. heck yea….put all kind of vegs in there. try cauliflower in your old lady’s stockings. an old resturant in ville plate use to boil the crawfish in plain water then would place them in a vat with la. hot sauce and hot water (50/50) for about 10 minutes. then add dry seasoning in the ice chest and shake up. try it, you will like it. alexandria half ass receipt

  10. Gotta love the crawfish boils! Personally I prefer the seasoning in the water but that is just me. My brother’s in-laws from New Orleans put PINEAPPLE CHUNKS in their crawfish boil and that is about the most disgusting boiled thing I have ever had! Seriously folks…WTF!!!! That being said I do love putting sausage and mushrooms into the boil in addition to the corn and potatoes. They both turn out so good.

  11. My husband grew up on the “west bank” and had crawfish boils all the time when he was growing up. We live in TN and have our yearly “crawfish bawl” . He goes to Lousisiana and brings back hundreds of pounds of the mudbugs to share with 150 or so of our friends. It is a tremendous amount of work but it gives a small slice of the culture he grew up around for our children to enjoy as well as friends and Louisiana transplants who long for a taste of home.

  12. Mais oui… crawfish boils are a big event in Tiki Island, TX, too, especially with us Louisiana transplants here. Lots of fun and we gonna do it again, and again!

    • Hi Gil, Saw your note on a Cajun site, and just want to say “hi”.
      Vivian Couvillon (Yates) Andrepont, Lafayette, LA

      • Small world! How are you? We have boils in Pensacola, too. In fact, the caterers are from MAURICE!~

  13. Myself and a friend of mine traveled down from St Louis to my hometown of New Iberia to buy crawfish for a fella that was getting a promotion, and he wanted to throw a boiling party. I was told to ice them down for the drive (12 hours) and drain the water and add fresh ice every 4 hours or so. Bought 3 bags.
    Back in St Louis, I went to a rental shop and they had just the right size pot and burner. I rented it and got boiling. Most of the folks ate a handful and were done (what IDIOTS).
    My friend and I had to peel all of the rest (that we couldn’t eat) and freeze so it didn’t go to waste.
    When I returned the pot to the rental folks, the woman behind the counter took one look at it and said’ “What did you do to it?!!” I just mentioned I cooked up some crawfish. Then she said it again, even louder. It seems she had a problem with the new red/copper interior that the boil seasoning had created.
    I explained that, it acordance with contract I signed, I did nothing other than COOK with the pot.
    I also explained that when I left the rental with the pot it was brand new and once I use it, I can’t return it in the same condition. I got my deposit back, but in the back of my mind, I sure wouldn’t have minded owning one of those pots.

  14. They have crawfish in BARCELONA!

    I found some a few years ago at the grocery store, LIVE. They were small and they come from the Ebro delta nearby. I whipped up a small crawfish boil and treated my in-laws. They loved it!

    • Corn, potatoes, lemons, salt, crawfish boil in a bag (none of that pussy liquid stuff), purged crawfish. Boil until done. Spread on table. Sprinkle with Tony Cachere’s. Chow down. Fighting for the good ones is both allowed and respected. If you don’t have a raw red ring around your mouth, it wasn’t hot enough. Any extras or omissions constitute Crawfish Boil HERESY!
      But hey, to each his own.

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