Crawfish may look unsightly at first glance, but boil and soak it in seasonings and spices, and you’ll have one of the best main course meals for spring. It’s delicious, filling, and can be served with a wide
However, unless you’ve grown up with the crawfish boiling tradition, being in charge of crawfish boil can be scary. But with the basics and the right guidelines, boiling a crawfish can become your go-to hobby.
This post discusses the crawfish, including what it is, how it tastes, and how to boil it – to help ease your mind.
Let’s get started!
What’s a crawfish?
A crawfish is a crustacean that resembles a small lobster that measures between 3-6 inches long. These miniature and tasty creatures have ten walking legs (two of which are large front claws) and a hard protective exoskeleton.
Crawfish live in rivers, freshwater wetlands, swamps, and lakes. You can find them on the floor of almost all oceans worldwide, although they live close to the shoreline.
These tiny creatures are the staple food for Southerners in Louisiana, Alabama, and other states in the country’s southern region. They are widely known for their health benefits, including low fat, low calories, and high protein density.
A crawfish can live as long as 50 years, especially when left alone in the wild.
What does crawfish taste like?
For those of us who aren’t lucky yet to have tasted these tiny, delectable creatures, you may be interested in how they taste, right? Although crawfish is considered seafood, it doesn’t have a strong natural flavor like others in the same group.
However, crawfish have a stronger flavor than crabs and are meatier. Many individuals describe them as a combination of crab and shrimp, mainly because they have a bit of mineral flavor, are a little sweet, and are slightly salty.
However, the final taste of the creature depends on how it’s cooked or prepared and the part you are eating. In a crawfish, you can eat the claws, legs, roe, tail, outer shell, and tomalley.
The legs, tails, and claws are people’s favorite mainly because they contain most of the meat. The claws are sweet with a smooth texture, while the tails are hearty and thick but tough to chew.
There are many ways to prepare and cook crawfish, including grilling, broiling, baking, pan searing, and steaming and boiling. And like lobster, steaming and boiling is the most preferred method of cooking these hearty tiny sea creatures.
We’ll discuss more about how to boil crawfish later in this article.
When are crawfish in season?
Crawfish season doesn’t have a specific time; it all depends on the part of the United States you reside in. For instance, crawfish are in season from November to July in Louisiana and April through June in Alabama.
You’ll get the best crawfish in Louisiana during spring and early summer. On the other hand, April and May are the best months to cook up an exceptional crawfish boil.
Regardless of where you live in the U.S., however, you can get fresh crawfish anytime. And once you have these sea creatures, you can prepare them by washing and then boiling them, as follows:
How do you wash crawfish?
Crawfish will give you a tender and delicious meal when boiled, but you must clean them first in a process called purging. This process helps you eliminate impurities in the intestinal tract, such as grass and mud, to make it pleasant-tasting.
Here is how you wash the crawfish:
- First, you should use running water to wash your crawfish. If you are washing them in a container, use a large instrument to stir to remove mud, dirt, and debris from their gills and shells
- Then, remove the crushes and discolored crawfish and place the larger ones in a cooler. Also, throw away the floating crawfish, in case you used a container.
- Rinse your crawfish several times. You can add table salt to the water when washing and rinsing them.
- Then, dump ice over the crawfish to keep them cool until when you cook them
Your crawfish should be ready and dirt-free after 2-3 soaks, depending on how dirty they are.
Tip: Buy live crawfish ahead of time and store them in a cooler with ice. To separate the dead (not fresh) and live crawfish, add them to salted water; dead crawfish will float.
How do I boil crawfish?
Boiling crawfish is super easy – you only need the right cooking equipment and a few ingredients, and your meal will be ready in a few minutes. Mainly, boiling the crawfish depends on the crawfish season.
In Louisiana, this translates to anytime between January to June. Yes, it’s slow going and expensive in January, but it starts to gear up in February.
This section will take you through my favorite Louisiana crawfish boil – from the ingredients to a step-by-step guide on boiling the delicacies.
Crawfish is among the easiest meals you can ever make, demanding only a few ready-to-find ingredients. These includes:
- Ears of corn
- Small red potatoes
- Crab boil Louisiana (Louisiana crawfish seasoning)
- Andouille sausage
- Cayenne pepper
- 30-40 pounds of crawfish (live) in one sack
- Yellow whole onions
- Cajun seasoning – this is optional
Once you have your ingredients ready, you can proceed to prepare and boil your crawfish as follows.
I’m thankful for whoever came up with the idea of boiling and eating the crawfish. Then properly boiled, this tiny sea creature makes one of the mouth-watering meals that stick to your ribs.
Here are steps to help you boil crawfish the right way:
Step #1: Untie the sack of crawfish and empty it into a huge ice chest. Add fresh water and stir the crawfish using a paddle
Step #2: Add a crawfish boil seasoning to the crawfish boil pot with a basket. Then, add enough water to the pot and apply high heat to achieve a rolling boil, and add sausage and veggies
Step #3: Once your water is hot, remove it and wedge the basket, allowing it to drain
Step #4: Add your crawfish to the basket
Step#5: Return the basket to the re-seasoned water and heat until you get a rolling boil (this should take about 4 minutes). Turn the burner off and soak the basket in hot water for about 10 minutes
Step #6: Lift the basket again and let it drain
Step #7: Add your boiled crawfish to serving platters and enjoy your meal.
You can add various main ingredients to your crawfish, including eggs, tamales, vegetables, hot dogs, turkey necks, etc.
To boil your crawfish, you should use the right equipment (pot size and type). The most basic and cheapest way to boil crawfish is to use a large pot (preferably aluminum) with a basket insert and an outdoor propane burner.
You may also use other equipment like a Dutch oven, crawfish trays, the right crawfish seafood boiler, a good ice chest, etc.
How do I eat a crawfish?
Like any other meal, you can eat your crawfish using different methods. Regardless of your method, the aim is to get the meat from the tail.
If it’s your first time eating crawfish, here is a step-by-step guide on how to get the tiny hunk of the lobster-like meat:
- Hold the crawfish’s head with one hand and its tail with the other
- Straighten the tail so that a straight line appears from the crawfish’s nose to its tail
- Push the tail into the head to disconnect it
- Turn 90 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise
- Pull the tail out. The meat should remain intact
- Eat or suck the meat from the tail
- Repeat the process with other crawfish until you’re full
Note: Some people eat the head and claim that the green, gooey brain is delicious. However, this is an optional step, which most people like to skip.
How long can I preserve a crawfish after it’s cooked?
The crawfish boil leftovers should last for 3 to 4 days, provided you store them within 2 hours after cooking them. Experts recommend you use the leftovers in fantastic potato salads or fry them and serve them with your favorite side dish.
Tip: You can add ice to the ice chest instead of trying to create space in your refrigerator. This way, you can peel the crawfish and make crawfish mac and cheese, crawfish pies, or something you like using the leftover crawfish.
You can check this site for several amazing crawfish recipes for leftovers.
The bottom line
Who doesn’t love springtime in the U.S…I mean, they have everything you want. Trees and plants come back to life, flowers start to bloom, BBQ season kicks off, and the crawfish prices drop!
But unless you are a kitchen connoisseur, having the prices drop may not excite you. However, that will change after reading this post that helps you boil crawfish.