The Trick To Choosing The Best Crawfish At A Seafood Boil

If you're lucky enough to be invited to a crawfish boil, get ready for some delicious seafood and friendly competition over the table. A proper boil is served by pouring the cooked seafood and veggies right onto the middle of the table where friends and family wait elbow to elbow to devour the feast. You won't get an individual serving, so you'll need to reach out and take the bite that looks most delicious to you. And — you should know ahead of time — there's not a lot of meat in a crawfish. You get a small morsel of tasty meat from the tail, and that's it. So you'll find experienced eaters reaching for the biggest mudbug on the pile, which is exactly what you should do too!

Keep an eye out for bright red shells and tails that are tightly curved back toward the body, which are indications the crawfish was alive and healthy just before it was cooked. Once you've cracked and peeled your chosen crawfish, the tail meat should be firm and white. Don't eat any mushy, discolored, or off-smelling meat.

Hosting your own seafood boil

If you want to host your own crawfish boil, you can find pre-cooked and frozen crawfish, or buy live ones. The advantage of frozen seafood is that you don't have to handle the live critters and the shipping or shopping is less complicated. But because they're already cooked, it's not as easy to get a deeply flavored seafood boil without overcooking the tender meat. Cook some andouille sausages, garlic, onions, corn, and potatoes in a pot of boiling water with cajun seasoning and salt. When the corn is ready, add the frozen crawfish and cook for another two minutes.

If you find a source for live crawfish in season, select the biggest ones so guests can get more meat. Cook the veggies and sides separately in water with the same boil seasoning. Make sure you keep the crawfish alive by storing them on ice in a bit of water until you're ready to start cooking. To get started, rinse them well and bring a pot of seasoned water to a boil. Check that each crawfish is still alive by picking them up one-by-one. If their legs and tail are sagging, they're dead and won't be fresh when cooked.

Add the crawfish and a stick of butter, cover the pot, and let them boil for around three to five minutes. When they're done, use ice to cool them down again, add more seasoning, and leave the crawfish for 15 minutes. Strain them out and put them on the table with the rest of your boil — it's time to eat!