Apr 8, 2018

How to Host a Crawfish Boil



How to Host a Crawfish BoilI know y'all are sittin' here thinkin', "'Leshea what makes you qualified to teach someone: How to Host a Crawfish Boil? You live in a suburb of Dallas." I'll scoff before replyin', "I'll have you know my record is 10 pounds of crawfish in 43 minutes. That includes peel time. Don't Y'all know I'm Creole? It's not as if I don't mention it every chance I get. You know, the whole Daddy was from Southern Louisiana. The real Louisiana. And no not New Orleans. There are other parts of Southern Louisiana."Daddy grew up in the sticks in a little town no one has ever heard of on the other side of Louisiana closer to Texas. Crawfish Boils are a staple of not only my family but many families down here in The South. Every Easter my family has a Crawfish Boil at either my Aunt or one of my Uncles house. Pounds upon pounds of crawfish consumed. In the Creole and Cajun, culture meals are not just to sustain; they are a way of life. It's not uncommon that one of my cousins will post a photo on facebook of all the family together havin' a  Boucherie from a hog someone caught. The first chill would hit Texas and we'd come home from school and Daddy would have his gumbo pot on the stove ready to go. That first breeze of spring, Daddy would have that old worn number eight cast iron out prepared for crawfish Étouffée. Here in the South food is a love language. Allow me to show you a small portion of that love language.
So, you wanna "Host a Crawfish Boil, Eh?" There are a few things to consider before you perfect your crawfish recipe but look no further. I'll teach you the ways of my people. I'll teach you, "How to host a Crawfish Boil!"How to Host a Crawfish Boil
To start, you'll need to know the basic of crawfish. When is crawfish season? How much per person should I purchase? How do you transport crawfish? Where do I even buy crawfish? What do I need to cook crawfish? How do you cook crawfish? How do you clean crawfish? How do you clean up afterward? Pause Kleenex has you covered on the cleanup front because they have no harsh chemicals and are made for doers. But, we'll get to that later in the post. Stay with me now.

Crawfish: Apologies but the history major in me comes out. After the Great Expulsion of 1755, you know the Great Up Heavel- The French and Indian War that bored you in school, Acadians (yes my Dad grew up in Acadia Parish) made their way to Louisiana. Native Americans had been eatin' crawfish for ages, but with the new arrival of the Acadians from the coast of Canada, they quickly took to the Native ways as the lobster wasn't as abundant..
(Enjoyed that short history lesson? I'll be here every post!)

Crawfish Season: Crawfish are best and safest when in season. Crawfish Season last from March till the end of May- the beginning of June. You'll find some say crawfish is still in season mid-summer but I'd be wary of those people. I'd bless those peoples heart.
Crawfish Pot


The Cookware: You'll need a place large enough and an outdoor pot to hold this shindig. Yes, this gatherin' will be outside. It'll make cleanup easier, and with Spring weather it'll be a blast. You'll also need a pot large enough to cook all of the crawfish and ingredients.

Pots come in quart sizes, and a good rule of thumb is a pot can cook half its quart-age in pounds of crawfish. The pot pictured above is a 100qt pot. This pot may seem large, but I promise you it isn't once you add all the ingredients. And the more you can cook at once the better. Less time mannin' and more time with friends and family. Once you have a pot and the slotted removable pot that goes inside you will need a propane tank and a way to connect the propane tank to the pot. Try your local outdoor store for discounts on package deals. Don't forget your heat resistant gloves, paddle for stirring and somethin' to scoop and strain the crawfish.
Cleaning Crawfish
Salt Cleaning Crawfish
The Crawfish logistics: I know Y'all are like, "girl get to the most important ingredient!" I'd argue crawfish isn't the essential part of a crawfish boil; the seasonin' is but that is for another argument Y'all want to be Southerners.

Pounds to People: Once you have a location and equipment you need to decide how many people will eat crawfish. We all know that down here in The South everybody and they Momma is invited to cookouts, but when it comes to a crawfish boil, you need to narrow down the guest list. A good rule of thumb is about three pounds of crawfish per person. Personally, I subscribe to the three to five pounds per person rule. 

Where to Purchase: Now comes the time to purchase your crawfish. Crawfish expel toxins once they are no longer alive and for that reason, crawfish need to be cooked while they are still alive and therefore from a reputable source. We get our crawfish from a local grocery store that has a seafood market during the proper season, but you can also purchase from distributors. You'll need to plan more than a few days in advance and see what the rules are for the place you chose. Some sites require notice; while others operate on a first come first serve basis. You should pick up your crawfish the day you plan on cooking them. The store we used for this particular crawfish boil that is pictured operated on a first come first serve basis. I merely called an hour before I planned to pick the crawfish up and they had them ready on the basis that I would be there within the hour as it was Easter and there was a line out the door of people wantin'. We called at noon and were guaranteed the last shipment of crawfish from that day.

Transportation: Transportation of crawfish is easier than it sounds. The crawfish will come in a thick netted bag. Place them in a cooler and make sure they are covered in ice as to keep them cool. 

Cleanin': Cleanin crawfish can be a controversial step. To salt or not to salt. Many crawfish pursuits believe that if you have a good grade of crawfish, you shouldn't need salt and to that, I say, "Bless your heart." Let's be honest; if your Granddaddy salted his crawfish, you'd salt your crawfish, as well. It isn't as deep as it's made out to be. Everyone I know salts their crawfish in the "purging" process, so that is what I do as well. Remove the ice from your cooler and cut the crawfish from the mesh net they were previously in. Make sure to do this with your heat resistant gloves on. Dump the crawfish in the cooler and cover them with water. You'll notice in the second set of pictures before this section that the water is brown as the brown water is the start of the cleaning process. Make sure that your cooler has a spot somewhere on the bottom or side for the water to drain. I rinse my crawfish thoroughly once and then begin to purge them with salt. Cover the crawfish with salt and,  "let the crawfish sit for a few minutes but no longer than 15 minutes," Aunt Becky says. Begin to rinse crawfish again until you can no longer see any salt.  You will then rinse the crawfish one final time. Water should now drain clear but if it does not give crawfish a fourth rinse.crawfish pot
seasoning for a crawfish boil

potatoes for a crawfish boil


crawfish boil

crawfish boil
onions in a crawfish boil
Seasonin': While the crawfish are bein' cleaned you should have someone heatin' the water needed to boil your crawfish. A good rule of thumb is the water should go about six inches over how much crawfish and other veggies you will have in your pot.

What to add to your pot and how to season your crawfish is another step that may differ. Personally, I do not make my seasonin'. I buy large packs of Cajun season' from a brand that is created and bottled 45 minutes from where my Dad grew up and now ships to Texas. It tastes of my childhood. Aunt Becky says if you want your water, "seasoned real good you need two bags of seasonin'," but I personally do a bag per every 40 pounds of crawfish. Aunt Becky says some people swear by addin' hot sauce and mushrooms as well but I am not about that life.

While the seasoned water is comin' to a boil, you will slowly squeeze in the lemons, onion, garlic, and potatoes. Cover the pot, turn up the propane tank and let the ingredients come to a boil.
crawfish boil
crawfish boil
crawfish
boiling crawfishCookin': Now, now you are ready to handle crawfish, young Southerner in trainin'. This next step is where your scoop will come in hand. Remember all those supplies I told you was needed and you scoffed as you read? Start to gather the crawfish in your scoop some handfuls at a time. You are checkin' the crawfish for imperfections and to make sure they are still live; if a crayfish looks like it is captain of the struggle bus or no longer here for the party that crawfish will not do. Place that crawfish aside.

Make sure are cleanin' your hands and your outdoor space as you go along. Gone are the days of Granny's old towel that would hang out of her apron and no one cringed at the germs it carried before it'd eventually be put to wash. The Kleenex Wet Wipes Germ Removal is perfect because not only are the travel size, but they do not carry harsh chemicals. Perfect for a quick grab and a wipe up before you move on to the next task or ingredient.

Add your sausage and frozen corn and stir your Crawfish, cover with the lid and let cook. Yes, I add sausage to my crawfish boil. Andouille Sausage to be exact You know the whole, "it isn't as deep as people make it. If your Granddaddy did it so will you." You add the corn and sausage last as not to overcook them. Crawfish do not need to cook long as there is only meat in the tail. 

Cooked once they begin to turn a lighter shade of red and float to the top, crawfish cook in five to 12 minutes. 
How to host a crawfish boil

How to host a crawfish boil
kleenex

eating corn

kleenex
Time to Eat: Careful now as the contents of your boil will be hotter than the devil; make sure you use your heat resistant gloves. Remove the inside slotted pot. Pour the crawfish boil on paper-lined tables and enjoy the Cajun-Creole way. Everyone around the table, sittin' and standin' enjoyin' each others company. In my family, you must be quick if you want corn or an excellent piece of sausage. 

Make sure you have lots of Sweet Tea or your drink of choice and sometin' for guest to wipe their hands.


Remember: "Pinch dat tail and suck dat head." All the season' goes to the top of the crawfish, but the meat is in the bottom. 
Clear a post on a section of your tables to throw your shells. If you line your tables correctly all, you'll have to do: scoop everythin' and double bag before exposin'.

Kleenex:
I've mentioned previously this is the outdoor season for us down South. The perfect weather before the sun begins to shine a little too bright. That means many chances to mess, and that's what makes Kleenex perfect. Y'all know I love a good Kleenex product and mention them periodically on my hikin' how to post.

For the next 20 days see what messes you get up to and how Kleenex can help you solve them. Remember you can get the gentle clean Kleenex at your local Walgreens and $1 Ibotta rebate with the purchase of 2 Wet Wipes.

kleenex
peeling crawfish
For those who wanted exact measurements of the boil we did.
Ingredients:
40 pounds of crawfish
1 large bag of Cajun Seasoning
ice (we used 7 bags to keep crawfish cool)
outdoor pot
wire basket insert
stirring paddle



 Ice chest                                    few bags of small red potatoes
outdoor propane cooker
six lemons
10 ears of corn
few links of  Andouille Sausage 
10 yellow onions 
one large garlic head 



Hope y'all are enjoyin' the weather and havin' a great Spring. Save your Momman and 'nem this Spring and show them the ways of a proper boil and 
wipe: to help them clean up.


As always #TexasForever, Y'all




1 comment

  1. *wonders whether or not to comment that someone in MD had a boil like this using seafood other that crawfish*

    I only ate the veggies but they were so good - and darn right you need lots of those wipes to clean up after.

    ReplyDelete

I respond to comments via email unless your email is unlisted. Then I'll respond via the blog. Thank y'all. Remember to always take the sweet tea!

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