How to Throw a New Orleans-Worthy Crawfish Boil
It’s the best time of the year — crawfish season!
Here are some tips to help you throw your own New Orleans-worthy crawfish boil.
Get your “mudbugs” fresh.
There is no doubt about it – fresh crawfish is the best, and you do not have to road trip to the Gulf to get them. Luckily, a new place just opened in Auburn called Big Blue Crawfish. They sell live, fresh crawfish! However, if you opt not to boil your own, they sell them boiled as well. Info on their hours and menu is available here.
If you don’t have anywhere to get them live, frozen crawfish can still make for a delicious meal. Here is a recipe for cooking frozen crawfish.
Keep it clean.
If you opt to boil your own live crawfish, make sure to rinse them off thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or debris. An easy way to do this is to put them in a large cooler, pour in water, let it drain, and repeat that a couple times.
Season the seasoning.
Be creative with the seasoning; true New Orleans crawfish is spicy. Some options are salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, dried thyme, garlic powder, bay leaves, Zataran’s Crawfish Shrimp and Crab Boil, and liquid shrimp and crab seasoning. You will add most of the spices when you are boiling. Adding them after does not allow for the crawfish meat to really soak in the spice.
Don’t forget sides.
While I love crawfish, my favorite part of the boil is always the sausage. It absorbs all of the spices and crawfish juices and tends to be spicier than the rest of the food. Other great sides to pair with the crawfish are small red potatoes, onions, bell pepper, celery, and corn on the cob. Some of the sides don’t need to boil as long as the crawfish, so make sure to put them in mesh bags so that they can be pulled out of the pot separately.
You are going to want to make sure you have a large pot and a jet-style propane burner if you are planning on boiling your own crawfish outdoors. If you’re making less and planning on using your stovetop to boil the crawfish, you can use a large stockpot.
Prep for the mess.
Have plenty of trash cans set up to dispose of all of the shells, and lots (and lots and lots) of paper towels or dish rags. Peeling the crawfish over large trays helps minimize the mess and makes cleaning up easier. These trays can be found at Walmart or the grocery store. And did I mention paper towels?
Add something sweet.
Need to contrast all of the salty spice of the seafood? Have a delicious king cake for dessert! Or refresh yourself with some sweet tea. That is sweet y’all, not unsweet. Remember, this is New Orleans-style.
Crawfish boils are normally outdoors, so consider investing in an awning of some sort to provide a little shade. You’re going to want to cool off after eating all of this spicy food!
I hope this helps you get a taste of N’awlins. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Be well, Auburn.
Photography by Grace H.