Tips from one of New Orleans’ ‘Best Places for Boiled Crawfish’
The arrival of springtime in New Orleans means blooming azaleas, the beginning of festival season—and Crawfish Season! Every weekend of beautiful weather brings another opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family at a crawfish boil, whether at a restaurant, an event, or in your own backyard. Because crawfish is in season and so readily available even in other parts of the country, you can host your own crawfish boil, no matter where you live. And since crawfish is a low-calorie source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals, you know you want it!
Crawfish season is at its peak in March, April, and May, which means that you’ll find the best size, price, and availability during these months. This year’s crawfish season is an exceptionally good one. As one of the first restaurants and seafood markets to sell boiled crawfish to New Orleanians, and host of the annual Pinch A Palooza Festival & Crawfish Eating Contest each April, Deanie’s Seafood is well qualified to share what it takes to throw the perfect boil with you!
First things first—time to pick the location. A backyard is a great option, as long as it’s spacious enough to accommodate both the tables for spreading out crawfish, as well as your guests. A shady spot is usually best, to keep your guests cool while enjoying their crawfish.
PREPARING FOR YOUR CRAWFISH BOIL
You’ll need several card tables, which are best for laying out all the boiled crawfish and all the fixings. We recommend covering the tables with newspaper for easy cleanup, and make sure you have lots of paper towels and ample trashcans nearby. Here is the equipment you’ll need:
- Large boiling pot (60 qts or more) with lid and a wire basket insert
- A propane burner and full propane tank
- A large paddle for stirring
- Large metal tubs or ice chests
BUYING THE CRAWFISH, VEGGIES, & SEASONINGS
Seasoned crawfish eaters know that the best crawfish are from Louisiana. If you’re local, pick up live crawfish from a favorite seafood market. Be sure to call several days ahead if you’re placing a big order. If you’re out of town, live Louisiana crawfish can now be shipped anywhere in the continental United States. You can order from Shop Deanies, or search for other Louisiana crawfish vendors who ship out of state. We recommend ordering somewhere between 2 to 5 pounds per person depending on the crawfish experience and appetites of your guests.
You’ll want to pick up the add-ins: Andouille sausage (or any other smoked sausage), ears of corn, potatoes, whole garlic cloves (unpeeled), lemon, celery, onions and even things like oranges, mushrooms, artichokes and cauliflower. The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission even recommends you “Sweeten the Pot” by adding yams to your seafood boil, whether preparing crawfish, crab or shrimp.
You’ll also need plenty of seasonings. Deanie’s has been using our signature blend of Cajun seasonings for years that adds just the right amount of kick to a crawfish boil — it’s available for purchase here. You could also make your own combination of spices such as salt, bay leaves, hot sauce, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, thyme, dill, dry mustard, and whole or crushed peppercorns, coriander seeds, allspice and clove.
HOW TO BOIL CRAWFISH
- Keep your crawfish in ice chests and rinse with cool water several times to wash off silt and sand pre-boiling.
- Fill your pot about ¾ full of water and bring to a boil using propane burner. This may take a while, so enjoy a cold beverage and the company while you wait!
- Once your water is boiling, add in your extras and when the water returns to a boil it’s time to add the seasonings in.
- Let your veggies, meats and seasonings boil for an additional five to 10 minutes (don’t cook too much, they will still have time to cook more when the crawfish are added).
- Add in the crawfish and return to a boil. At this point the water should be about an inch above all of your ingredients.
- After all the ingredients have boiled for five minutes, turn off your heat, cover with your lid and let everything steep for 15 to 25 minutes depending on the level of spice desired, stirring occasionally with your paddle.
- Strain crawfish with metal basket, distribute evenly across tables covered in newspaper.
When you are ready for another batch, simply return the water to a boil, add seasoning and repeat the process.
PINCH DA’ TAILS AND SUCK DA’ HEADS
Once the crawfish are laid out, dig in and enjoy! If you or your guests need a few pointers on how to peel crawfish, check out our handy how-to guide. For those who are of the legal drinking age, a cold beer goes perfectly paired with hot boiled crawfish. Abita Amber, a local favorite, is our top pick.
Deanie’s Seafood was the first restaurant and seafood market in the Greater New Orleans region to earn the Louisiana Wild Seafood Certification, which guarantees that we serve only seafood that is natural, sustainable, and sourced from Louisiana waters. When you’re ready to host your own crawfish boil, we hope you’ll order your live or boiled crawfish online from Deanie’s! We can deliver fresh, Louisiana seafood anywhere in the continental United States at shopdeanies.com.
And if you don’t find the time to host your own crawfish boil this Spring, we hope you’ll join us on April 17 at “Pinch-a-Palooza,” our very own crawfish boil and festival at Deanie’s Seafood in Bucktown!