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KennethT

Crawfish boil techniques

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I know it's a bit early to start talking about a crawfish boil, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, so I figured this would be a good way to pass the time waiting for the bugs to grow a bit bigger....

As a NO non-native in NY (whose wife grew up in NO - but was vegetarian during most of her time there (can youbelieve it!?!)) I have no choice but to bring in the crawfish by FEDEX every once in a while to get my fix to tide me over between our annual trips back down there... so, being that the shipping is usually more expensive than the critters, I'd like to make the most out of them...

I learned the technique I've been using from the instructions that come with the crawfish: boil crawfish for 2-3 minutes; turn off heat and let soak for 15-20 minutes; put into styrofoam cooler dusted with creole seasoning and steam for 10-15 minutes... My boil is powdered boil plus extra garlic and lemon halves... although this year, I think I'm going to add some liquid boil to the mix...

At their best, they're pretty good, but they're still not as good as I get when I'm down there, which I'd like to remedy...

Somebody help, pleeeeeeeeease!!!!

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The way I have always had it from natives is pretty much a lowcountry style seafood boil. Get a bit pot, outside if you have to, and bring to a boil with the seasonings (a lot I remember), lemon halves, garlic heads with the tops cut out and potatoes. When the potatoes start to soften, add hot peppers, celery, sausage, corn and onion. When the potatoes are almost done add the mudbugs, more seasoning and a beer or two. Boil until the crawfish turn color and shut off the heat. Let rest 10 minutes.

Put newspaper over a picnic table or plywood on sawhorses. Drain boil and pour the whole mess on the table. Cold beer and warm bread on the side.

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How many pounds are you talking about? Tricks for 5 or 10# that you want to do inside is much different than a sack or two that you will be boiling outdoors.

Rhonda

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I learned the technique I've been using from the instructions that come with the crawfish: boil crawfish for 2-3 minutes; turn off heat and let soak for 15-20 minutes; put into styrofoam cooler dusted with creole seasoning and steam for 10-15 minutes... My boil is powdered boil plus extra garlic and lemon halves... although this year, I think I'm going to add some liquid boil to the mix...

Somebody help, pleeeeeeeeease!!!!

I have to say, I'm not a fan of boiled crawfish with seasoning crusted on the outside. That dry seasoning on the outside is a SW-LA style thing...I want the seasoning inside my crawfish, not on the outside burning my cuticles as I peel. I prefer to heavily season the boiling water with a triple-threat: powdered crawfish boil, the sachets of whole spices, and liquid boil. (Plus heads of garlic cut crosswise, quartered lemons, and whole yellow onions.) To me, the liquid boil is essential--it's made from spice oils in an alcohol base. I do the boil-soak method, but don't do the steaming at the end. For really big boils, I like to boil a few pounds to "season" the water with crawfish flavor, then boil the corn (I don't like it to be too spicy or too mushy or waterlogged), then boil more crawfish & potatoes. Fussy, I know.


Edited by HungryC (log)

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We do the boil and steam method as well, using a combo of liquid and dry seasonings, then steaming with a dry seasoning in a cooler. I like the corn and potatoes done first, as I hate them mushy as well. We keep a small cooler for them and the big cooler for the crawfish. I usually make a dipping sauce for the crawfish as well - mayo and ketchup, old bay and tex-joy steak seasoning. Probably not traditional, but my kids like it. A couple of years ago I bought some big round trays at the dollar store - much better than beer flats.

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I learned the technique I've been using from the instructions that come with the crawfish: boil crawfish for 2-3 minutes; turn off heat and let soak for 15-20 minutes; put into styrofoam cooler dusted with creole seasoning and steam for 10-15 minutes... My boil is powdered boil plus extra garlic and lemon halves... although this year, I think I'm going to add some liquid boil to the mix...

Somebody help, pleeeeeeeeease!!!!

I have to say, I'm not a fan of boiled crawfish with seasoning crusted on the outside. That dry seasoning on the outside is a SW-LA style thing...I want the seasoning inside my crawfish, not on the outside burning my cuticles as I peel. I prefer to heavily season the boiling water with a triple-threat: powdered crawfish boil, the sachets of whole spices, and liquid boil. (Plus heads of garlic cut crosswise, quartered lemons, and whole yellow onions.) To me, the liquid boil is essential--it's made from spice oils in an alcohol base. I do the boil-soak method, but don't do the steaming at the end. For really big boils, I like to boil a few pounds to "season" the water with crawfish flavor, then boil the corn (I don't like it to be too spicy or too mushy or waterlogged), then boil more crawfish & potatoes. Fussy, I know.

I'm not so sure that's a S.W. LA thing, exactly. We never did it that way before, but a few years ago were at a boil where a transplant from somewhere had 'heard' that was the way to do it (spice on the outside, mostly a ton of Tony's) and it does have some followers. That said, we go with onions, liquid and bag boil, lemons and a few boxes of salt to start, but that depends on the size pot. do a load, then the veggies (corn, potatoes) then the rest of the crawfish in shifts...one's boiling, while one's purging. I don't understand the controversy of NOT purging, it seems to me that a great lot of dirt is removed this way and you can see it as you empty and refill the water.

We feed the little ones from the first batch, as with each consecutive batch the water gets hotter and hotter...the spices are really in your face by the last batch. No one I know does the spice at the end thing, I think we've all had it once and liked our way better. I don't need to tell you not to touch your eyes, nose etc. when eating them do I? I once 'got' my eye so badly that I couldn't wear my contacts for a week. The eye dr. thought I had pink eye until I told him I just needed cayanne relief drops.

I'd wait to order them though, they are still way to small here, maybe the basin ones are bigger, but the farmed ones didn't like the last couple of cold snaps.

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Thanks for all the great replies - I really appreciate it! Whenever we've had crawfish in NO, I've never noticed any seasoning on the outside... but always a great spicy boil - you get the most flavor when sucking the juices out of the head. I've used the outside seasoning for the last few boils that I've done, just because the crawfish company recommended doing so - but I've never been thrilled with it...

Sorry I didn't mention it before - but the crawfish boil is being done in my small NYC apartment - so we'll bring in about 15-20 pounds of crawfish that I'll cook in shifts on the stovetop in my 16Quart stockpot.

I'm not planning on doing it yet (I know that it's still too early) but we were probably going to do it around mid Feb. for Mardi Gras - we may wait until the last weekend or so in Feb just in case - but hopefully they'll be at least decent size by then.

I'm confused - what's with the purging? Is that the same as the 15-20 min. soak after the initial boiling? Do people have 2 pots going - one for boiling and one for soaking?

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Most people I know who purge have the crawfish purging in salt water that's in an old washtub and waiting for the water in the pot to boil. I hose them off and rinse several times in water, but I don't purge in salt water. At one time it was the norm, but now it's a matter of personal preference.

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that makes sense.... I've just hosed them off several times and I've never noticed any dirt or mud... thanks for the clarification

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Since this is 'Crawfish Techniques' I won't start a new thread. Does anyone do anythiing special with the leftovers? The crawfish are great cold out of the fridge in a salad- my preferred way of eating them the next day (tomorrow as today is Good Friday), but what about the potatoes and corn? I made a big potato salad last year (Easter eggs) and it was really good- those things just soak up the seasoning! This year I'm gonna layer them with some cheese.

(restart, sat.) Post boil I have plenty of potatoe's for the potatoes a gratin. should be interesting, so I'm going with the whole theme for Easter. Ham - with the potatoes, moc choux with the corn and crawfish cornbread dressing with the tails (I know..but we always cook too much as it rarely goes to waste). I would love to see what you guys do with your stuff, and since this is a recurring thing with us I have done a little research in the past- somewhere I found a LSU forum that addressed this. I didn't save it, but if I find it again I'll post the link. Happy Easter everyone! beautiful day!

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1 hour ago, highchef said:

Does anyone do anythiing special with the leftovers?


At a crawfish boil? What are these "leftovers" of which you speak? :D 

Seriously though, I like to dice any leftover potatoes and andouille, fry it with some onion and bell pepper in butter, toss in some leftover crawfish meat at the end and spice it up with plenty of pepper. Throw a couple fried eggs on top and it makes the morning belly happy after a night of crawfish and beer. 

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I've never had leftovers at a crawfish boil... there's always room to eat more!

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I brought home three pounds of crawfish from a boil once; sat and tediously picked out the tails, put them aside, netting, what, 2/3 of a pound of tail meat, max? I was going to make crawfish pies.

 

Until my daughter came in late that night and used them to make herself a sandwich.

 

I let her live. Barely. It was a struggle.

 

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did not do sausage, but I have made hash with the potatoes and it is excellent, especially with the eggs poached on top and I think I may do that mañana and use 'fresh' potatoes for Easter dinner. I won't have enough tails for pie this time, as the survivors are going into crawfish cornbread-I mentioned it outloud, and now I'm obligated-but I need to do that next time. I think I could really do a mean pie and I have a great 'hand pie' dough recipe that I want to play with so thanks for the reminder! There were just enough leftovers to have some nice side dishes tomorrow, I am really looking forward to the moc choux, fried down with bacon...makes me happy. I guess I'm looking for something 'new' to do but maybe if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

I've never had a crawfish sandwich- what'd she put on it?

 

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Mayonnaise. On white bread. I wanted to cry.

 

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We always have leftovers because it's just two of us.  I just did a boil a couple of days ago.  The leftovers are in a ziplock in the fridge.  Later today I will peel them all (I think they stay better if left in the shell until you're ready to use) and fry the tails in a batter.  Super good stuff.  I've also made a crawfish pie before...but the fried tails are too good to pass up.

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There were times that I would make a crawfish boil for just me and my wife... we'd still have no leftovers... I'm a bottom-less pit for both oysters and crawfish... there always seems to be room for more!

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