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CRAWFISH BOIL PREP

HOW TO BUY AND STORE LIVE CRAWFISH

Bring some Louisiana bayou to your summer entertaining. Attending a down-home crawfish boil has the comfort and casualness that makes the great outdoors truly great. If you know what you’re doing, hosting a crawfish boil is a bigger bang than all the fireworks on the fourth of July.

Even though Louisiana is the origin of crawfish feasts, other states also have fresh crawfish available. Whether ordering from a Louisiana crawfish farm or more locally, freshness is the key; always buy live crawfish!

You want crawfish that are fresh, alive, and clean. (All crawfish are sluggish during cold transport, but be sure that they are alive. Do NOT cook dead crawfish.) Do not buy bugs caked in mud and all crawfish should be similar in size to cook in the same amount of time.

Once you find a vendor who offers quality crawfish, you can start your order!

Several Louisiana crawfish farmers will ship live crawfish next-day air or via air cargo for pickup. Always check reviews online before buying.

CRAWFISH GRADES

Not every farmer or provider grades crawfish, so you want to look for medium to large crawfish. Crawfish can come in various grades: value grade, select grade, and premium grades.

Value grade or mixed catch crawfish usually provide more mudbugs for your money, but the mix of sizes makes for uneven cooking.

Select grade and premium grade crawfish are larger—and well-suited for a boil. If you really want to impress, premium grade (or extra-large) crawfish are closer in size to their lobster cousins.

To recap, look for a vendor that can guarantee:

  • Fresh crawfish
  • Clean crawfish, not muddy
  • Next day shipping (if not delivered or picked up locally)
  • Crawfish of a consistent size for better cooking
DON'T FORGET THE EXTRAS

Consider picking up some authentic Cajun, Alligator, or Andouille sausage.

And remember these must-haves for any crawfish-, low country-, or crab boil:

  • Crawfish or crab boil seasoning
  • Large, outdoor boil pot
  • Outdoor crawfish burner
  • Large, hard-sided cooler for storing live crawfish or crab
HOW MUCH CRAWFISH SHOULD I BUY?

You buy crawfish by the pound rather than by the number of crawfish. One person can usually eat 3 to 5 pounds of crawfish, while seasoned crawfish connoisseurs will devour more. Legend has it that an experienced Cajun can eat 7 to 10 pounds of mudbugs in one sitting!

To plan your crawfish order, add the number of people coming to your party. Multiply the number of guests by the number of pounds you plan to serve per person. For example, for a party of 10 people, you'll want 40 to 60 pounds.

If you plan on adding potato, sausage, shrimp, or other mainstays to your boil, you can go a little lighter on the crawfish.

HOW SHOULD I STORE CRAWFISH?

Keep your crawfish alive until you're ready to cook them! Make sure you are ready for the crawfish delivery with the necessities:

  • Spray bottle
  • Large cooler
  • Several ice packs or bags of ice
  • Newspaper
  • Thermometer
  • Burlap sacks, towels, etc.
HANDLING CRAWFISH

A note for handling crawfish - if there are any dead mudbugs, toss them out.

As soon as you get your crawfish home:

  • Line a large cooler with newspaper.
  • Place unopened bags of ice or ice packs on a wet burlap, or towels, to keep your bugs cool and fresh.
  • Put the sack of crawfish on its side in a large cooler out of direct sunlight.
  • The chilled crawfish will be sluggish. Let them return to room temperature.
  • Spray crawfish with water to rejuvenate.
  • Leave the drain in the cooler open and slightly elevate the other side so water can drain out.
  • Maintain 36°F to 46°F
  • Leave the cooler lid cracked open so the crawfish can breathe.
  • Do not store or soak your sacks of crawfish in water – they'll die!

You can store crawfish on ice for several days without killing them as long as you replace the ice as needed – but the fresher, the better. If you store them for more than two days, rotate the sack daily.