Louisiana Crawfish Boil

Main Course

Recipe courtesy of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine

Serves a crowd.

  • 1     quart-sized jar seafood boil seasoning
  • 1     cup cayenne pepper, in all
  • 10     pounds yellow onions, unpeeled, halved
  • 1     pound whole garlic pods, cut in half
  • 1    5-pound sack lemons, lemons cut in half
  • 2     sacks live Louisiana crawfish (about 30 to 40 pounds each)
  • 5     pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 15     globe artichokes, trimmed
  • 5     pounds frozen corn on the cob
  • 2     pounds smoked sausage, cut in 6-inch pieces
  • 2     bunches celery stalks
  • 2     pounds whole white mushrooms
  •     Loads of beer for serving

Crawfish Boil 

Click image to enlarge


SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 80-quart stainless steel pot with interior strainer basket, large outdoor high-pressure propane burner, large metal washtub or giant ice chest, long metal fork, large paddle for stirring, large table(s) covered in newspaper.

Fill pot set over a large outdoor propane burner one-third full with water. Add half the seafood boil seasoning and cayenne to taste. Do not add too much to the first batch. This one is for those who have delicate palates and can’t handle firebrand spice.

Gently add half the onions, half the garlic and half the lemons, squeezing lemons first over boiling water, into the pot. Take care not to splash the hot, spicy water. Bring to a raging boil and cook for 10 minutes to season the water.

Meanwhile, open the first sack of crawfish and dump into washtub or ice chest, reserving the sack. Fill with water. Don rubber gloves and pick out dead crawfish and discard. Strain and repeat the process until water runs clear. Rinse the crawfish sack.

Add potatoes and artichokes to the reserved crawfish sack and tie it closed. Add sack to the boiling pot. After 10 minutes or so begin testing the softness of potatoes with a long fork. When potatoes are cooked, remove them from the pot and set aside to cool. The artichokes are ready when a leaf may be easily pulled from the stem, 15 to 20 minutes.

The water must be at a full, raging boil when the crawfish are added. Do not over-fill the pot or water will gush over the sides and extinguish the fire. Those inexperienced with boiling crawfish should err on the side of caution and transfer crawfish into two five-gallon buckets before adding to water in batches. Once the crawfish have been added, the water will cool. Stir occasionally while the water returns to a boil. Start the timer when the water reaches a full, raging boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the fire. Wait 2 minutes. Add the half of the corn, sausage, celery, and mushrooms. Stir and cover. Allow contents of pot to steep for 20 minutes, occasionally plucking a crawfish to test for spice and texture. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Lift basket and allow liquid to drain back into pot. Pour contents of basket onto newspaper covered table.

The next batch will be spicier. Add about half of the remaining seafood boil seasoning, cayenne to taste, and remaining onions, garlic and lemons. Repeat the remaining steps as explained above. 
Serves about 15 people.

Cooking water should be cooled and poured down a storm drain; it will destroy a lawn if poured onto grass.


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