Boiled Crawfish

Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related. They breathe through feather-like gills and are found in bodies of water that do not freeze to the bottom.

They are eaten all over the world, with only a small portion of the body is edible. Most of the time it is only the tailmeat and fat thatare eaten. The tail and fat are used to make etouffee, bisque, pie, dressing, and beignets.

Boils are where they are enjoyed the most. The entire body is presented at the table. The claws of larger boiled specimens are often pulled apart to access the meat inside. The best method is to suck the head of the crawfish, as seasoning and flavour can collect in the fat of the boiled interior. This is where the term "suck the head and pinch pinch the tail comes from.

Is it true that crawdads with a straight tail died before it was boiled and is not safe to eat. Incorrect, crawdads that died before boiling can have curled tails as well as straight, as can those that were alive, and may very well be fine to eat. Boiled mudbugs which died before boiling are safe to eat if they were kept chilled before boiling and were not dead for a long time. A much better test than the straight tail as to the edibility of any crawdad is the tail meat itself; if it is mushy, it is usually an indication that it should be avoided.

How to Boil?

Crawfish getting their last rites.

A boil is usually done in a large pot (60 to 80 quarts) fitted with a strainer and heated by propane. Seasonings include crab boil packets, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt, lemons, and bay leaf. Ears of corn, new potatoes, onions, and heads of garlic are usually included in shrimp and crab boils. Some people will add smoked sausage links and/or mushrooms, asparagus. I actually use the Cajunland complete crab boil. I put the whole conatiner in plus some extra cayenne pepper. When cooking crawfish the first thing is to purge them. This is done by by covering them with clear water and a generous amount of salt for a few minutes to force them to rid their bodies of impurities. I am alwaysis in charge of making sure the ingredients go into the pot in the proper sequence and control the timing of the steps. There are is no right or wrong when seasoning a crawfish boil and many experienced boilers simply go by feel although there are some guidelines to follow and a great deal of opinions on how a boiled

crawfish should be seasoned. My recipe calls for a short boil of 5 minutes followed by 15 minutes period of soaking with the heat turned off. Thge water must be cooled down so that they do not continue to cook. The pot can be cooled down by hosing it with water or adding ice to the pot. When you have your approriate spice level remove the contents from the pot , and then dumped them onto a newspaper covered table. Our family personnaly likes bread and butter to go along with our meal. Bottles of hot sauce, lemons and melted butter are usually available, along with cocktail sauce.

Almost anything can be added to a crawfish boil, but the main side dish is COLD BEER.


Louisiana supplies 98% of the crawfish harvested in the United States and Louisiana residents consume 80% of the yearly crop. The market flucations have a great deal to do with the weather. The price of live crawdads can vary from $.99/lb. to $4.00/lb. depending on supply and demand. The height of the season is Easter Week. Most Louisiana residents are Catholic and all only eat seafood during Easter Week. Therefore, the demand for Crawdads during this time is at an all-time high.

They are an economic engine for our state. It is the number one seafood production dollar wise for our state. If we have a bad crop it will affectr the entire economy.

Other Louisiana Seafood

Crawfish products