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It’s early spring along the Gulf Coast and that means it’s time for crawfish. The exact timing for the season can vary from one year to the next depending on rainfall and temperature. But this year, NOW is the time to dig in.
Crawfish boils are a great excuse to have a backyard get together with friends. It doesn’t take an experienced boil master to get it right but you’ll want to read up on how to prepare everything if it’s your first time. Good Friday is popular for boils in New Orleans which is home to many Catholics.
Ordering Your Mudbugs
Prices for live crawfish are generally about $4.50 per pound although it will usually spike around the Easter weekend. You’ll want to order well in advance with a reputable vendor. Depending on your distance from southern Louisiana, there will be a surcharge for shipping although that’s generally included in the price you pay the fishmonger. If you get a chance to pick them out, make sure they seem active and, well, a little angry. In sacks, make sure they don’t have so much room they can pull off each others’ claws. (I did tell you they should seem a little angry.)
Boiling the Crawfish
You’ll want to read up on the technique, which is surprisingly easy. Use a good commercial seasoning such as Zatarain’s and fresh sausage and vegetables. You will also want to invest in a good boiling pot (which you can also use to fry turkeys at Thanksgiving). It’s important to get the correct order and timing for each of the ingredients. Although you could get away with only crawfish, potatoes, sausage (especially andouille if possible), corn, and onions.
When ready, drain off the liquid and dump onto a picnic table lined with plenty of newspaper. No utensils are needed and the best napkins are a roll of paper towels.
How to Eat Crawfish
There is an art to getting all the juicy meat from these things. It’s not difficult. Grab the head in one hand and the tail section with your other hand. Gently twist the tail and suck the juices in the head section. To eat the tail, squeeze the tail and pull out the meat. (You may have remove a few sections of the shell here).
Sweet tea or ice-cold beer are the preferred beverages although, being from Texas, I’d recommend Dr Pepper.
As to leftovers, etouffée or gumbo makes a great way to use any remaining tails from your crawfish boil. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
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