Perfect Crawfish Boil Recipe
**UPDATE** At the time this post went live I had an Amazon shop where I suggested readers go to purchase equipment such as a pot or burner for their boil. I have taken it down since then. However, I’ve recently been introduced to a company called CajunCrawfish.com that allows you to not only buy any equipment you’d need but also you can buy crawfish online and have them shipped straight to your door. They even come cleaned and purged which, as you may already know is a major step in doing a crawfish boil. I reviewed their crawfish here and absolutely loved them so check them out if doing a boil. Their rates are great as well.
You may or may not know this but my husband is a Cajun. He was born and raised in New Orleans and all his family lives there. I find myself in New Orleans at least once a month so you could say that I’m kind of a Cajun by default. I love Cajun food and make it for my family as often as possible. We also have as many crawfish boils as we can so I wanted to share what we have found to be the perfect crawfish boil recipe.
Did you know crawfish has a season? They start becoming available sometime during the month of January (although they are pretty small early on) and run through the end of May and sometimes into June. At the end of the season they’re normally really large and begin to get hard. The ideal period I would say is mid-February through the end of April.
Sometimes we invite friends and family over to eat and sometimes when we do a crawfish boil we just eat them ourselves. We love crawfish! When it’s not crawfish season I buy the frozen tails and make Crawfish Étouffée or these Crawfish Stuffed Poblano Peppers.
This time we had people over and bought two sacks of live crawfish. A sack normally comes in a range of anywhere from 27-35 lbs. The two sacks we bought came to a total of 64 lbs and when we were finished, none were left! The weather wasn’t so good. It was cloudy and a little cool but we had a blast.
We’ve never actually written down the recipe so I decided I would this time and share it with you! It’s really simple. You just need a big pot and boiler. I bought ours online for my husband’s birthday many years ago. I know you can get the burner at Loews or Home Depot and I’m guessing possibly the pot as well or you could
order one from my Amazon shop here. It’s up to you. I do get a very small percentage of the any sales but mostly I like having a place where you can buy what you need when you see it used. The pots and burners are also sold locally especially around the holidays for deep frying turkeys. If you’re a crawfish fan, go ahead and get one…you won’t be sorry. They do make a perfect birthday or early Father’s day gift! Some of the best get-togethers we’ve had have been around a big boiling pot of crawfish. And when it’s not crawfish season you could always have a shrimp boil!
First you’ll take the sacks of crawfish and empty them into a big cooler or tub and rinse them several times. Fill the container with fresh water, let them sit a few minutes while gently stirring them and then drain.
You’ll want to repeat this process until the water runs clear. Don’t leave them submerged in water too long. They will drown if they can’t get air.
As you’re doing this you’ll want to keep an eye out for dead crawfish. They may not be moving and may still be alive but if their tail is straight and they won’t move you can probably assume they’re dead. Go ahead and pull these out and discard. It’s normal to have about 10% die so don’t be alarmed.
Once the crawfish are ready get your pot ready. Fill it so that it’s about 60% of the way full. You’ll add your seasonings, onions, bay leaf, lemons and garlic and bring it to a boil.
You’ll start to add the ingredients in order of cooking time. For example, the potatoes need the longest amount of time to cook so you’ll add those first and let them boil for about 5-7 minutes. I’d then add the sausage and celery and then the mushrooms and then the crawfish. When you add the crawfish the water temperature will be reduced. Wait for it to come back to a boil again and turn off the flame.
Now they soak. The longer they soak the more flavor and spiciness they’ll have. Just start tasting. We normally let them soak about 20-30 minutes but it all depends on you and your guests. My husband tastes them about every 5 minutes and pulls them out when they taste the way he wants them to.
We have long tables set up in the yard or driveway and we cover them in newspaper normally. I didn’t have any this time so we got some cheap plastic table cloths. Just dump the crawfish on the table and dig in!
When you’re done, just roll the newspaper or table cloth up and dump it in the trash. What could be simpler?
Here are a few photos that show just what goes in a good boil.
Loads of seasonings!
Lots of fresh veggies.
And more veggies…
You’ll want to wash them and cut them up before you start the water.
A Few Things…
- Never eat a crawfish that was dead when it hit the water. You’ll know when they’re cooked and the tail is straight. Never eat a crawfish with a straight tail.
- Some people believe that purging the crawfish with salt removes more of the gritty sand vein. I don’t think it makes a difference but if you want to do that just dump a box of salt on them during the rinsing stage and let it sit about 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
- If cooking one sack just roughly half the recipe.
- We use a large, 120 quart stock pot for this recipe. A larger pot could be used but not smaller.
- 12, 3 ounce bags Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
- 5, 8 ounce bottles liquid Zatarain's Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
- 1, 4 lb jar powdered Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil
- 18 ounces table salt (we use about 3/4 of a large Morton's salt container)
- 3, .12 ounce bottles bay leaves
- 1, 1.75 ounce bottle cayenne pepper
- 7 large onions quartered
- 12 lemons
- 6 heads of garlic cut in half horizontally
- 2 large bags of celery with leaves cut into thirds
- 5 pounds smoked sausage
- 9 lbs small red potatoes (left in the mesh bag if possible)
- 6, 8 ounce boxes of fresh mushrooms
- 2 sacks of live crawfish (60-65 lbs)
- Desired amount of frozen corn on the cob (usually 2 pieces per person)
- Prep veggies:
- Wash celery and cut into thirds.
- Rinse potatoes and mushrooms.
- Cut sausage into bite size pieces.
- Cut garlic and lemons in half horizontally.
- Quarter onions.
- Rinse crawfish several times until the water runs clear.
- Fill 120 quart stock pot about 60% of the way with cold, fresh water and turn on burner full blast.
- Add all Zatarain's products, salt, cayenne and bay leaves.
- Squeeze lemons into the pot and add the halved lemons as well.
- Add onions, celery and garlic to pot and bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add sausage and mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes.
- Add crawfish and bring pot back to a boil.
- Once the pot comes back to a rolling boil turn off the heat, add the corn if desired. Soak up to 25 minutes tasting in 5 minute intervals for desired amount of spice. We also like to cool the pot with a water hose on the outside to help drive the flavor into the crawfish meat and speed cooling process.
- Remove from the pot onto a large table covered with newspaper and enjoy!
Are you a crawfish lover?