How to Pull off the Perfect Crawfish Boil
Tis the season for outdoor cookin’ and there is nothing better for getting the family and friends together than a good ole Nawlins’ crawfish boil. This casual meal is an easy feat to pull off and will be the talk of the summer (and your bragging rights for summers to come).
We’ve put together a simple, easy to follow ‘how-to’ guide, orchestrating everything you’ll need to pull off the perfect boil. A consummate compendium complete with the necessary equipment and ingredients….a cook’s guide so delicious it’ll have you shouting ‘Who Dat cookin’ dem crawdads soooo good?!’
What is a crawfish…
Crawfish (aka. crayfish, crawdads and mudbugs) are freshwater crustaceans that closely resemble lobsters, just mini-sized. Even though crawfish are found throughout the southern Mississippi Delta, the crawfish boil is uniquely Louisiana fare. The typical crawfish season begins sometime in January and runs until the end of July, hitting it’s peak in the early spring (once the waters start warming up slightly), coincidently coinciding with outdoor cooking season.
Step one is to make sure you’re fully stocked on the proper equipment. Be sure to have an extra large pot, a 10-12 quart stainless steel pot is probably best for smaller gatherings while a 16-18 quart may be suitable for bigger groups. If you can find a pot that has a mesh basket as well, double bonus. If you’re struggling to find a basket, find a large stainless steel skimmer. Boils are best cooked outdoors and I would highly recommend getting a propane cooker to do the job. Lastly, have a large cooler handy-this will be used to steam your crawfish and veggies.
The most important ingredient would be the whole cooked crawfish! Cameron’s Seafood provides crawfish in 5lb. frozen packs, and the rule of thumb for serving crawfish is to plan to cook 2lbs. per person (or more for the experienced boil-aficionado)
The remaining piece de resistance would be the veggies and seafood boil seasoning. Stock up on potatoes, corn on the cob, yellow onions (peeled), whole heads of garlic (tops removed) and fresh lemons (split). You can purchase seafood seasoning and southern seafood boil online or at your grocer. Alternatively, you can make your own seasoning and create your own spin on the classic boil.
Here is a quick homemade crawfish boil recipe that works perfectly or you can riff off of to make a unique special blend…
Homemade Seafood Boil
- 1/2 cup pickling spice
- 4 tablespoons mustard seeds
- 4 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 4 tablespoons celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 10 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup salt
- Place all seasonings into a food processor or coffee grinder and pulse until powdery and blended. Store in an airtight container or plastic zipper bag to keep fresh.
- Fill your pot halfway full with water. Season water with seafood boil seasoning (1/4 cup for every quart of wateadd onions (1 for every 4 quarts), garlic (2 for every 4 quarts), lemons (2 for every 4 quartand bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes and boil for 12-15 minutes, or until just slightly fork tender. Remove from the pot and put into your cooler to steam (remove the garlic, onions and lemons as well). Bring the seasoned water back to a boil and add corn. Boil corn for 5 minutes, remove from the pot and put into the cooler and close the lid.
- Add crawfish to the pot, making sure you have enough water to just cover the crawfish (especially after cooking the vegetableand bring to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, set timer for 3 minutes and cook. Remove the crawfish and put into the cooler along with the vegetables. Season the crawfish and the cooked vegetables with additional seafood boil seasoning (as much as you’d like).
- Let everything steam together for 10 minutes. Line a table with butcher paper or newspaper and dump the cooler onto the table. Serve boil with melted butter for dipping.
Buy Crawfish Online
All of the crawfish listed in this article are available at our online store. As we say, ‘from shore to door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store’-all of our seafood is delivered right to your door when you schedule it, guaranteed!
We’d love to hear about your Crawfish boil and how you cook seafood in the great outdoors. Share your images or stories on any of our social pages, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter be sure to tag us @cameronsseafoodonline.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron's Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.