If you're invited to a Cajun crawfish boil, you have to be ready to get down and dirty. The only tools you will need are your hands and mouth to stuff this delicious shellfish down your throat. This recipe will help guide you through the difficult process of making a classic crawfish boil but it will be all worth it in the end.
This recipe is courtesy of Chef Isaac Toups from Toups' Meatery in New Orleans.
- 10 Pounds crawfish, cleaned and purged
- 3 gallons water for cooking
- 3/4 Cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 Cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 Tablespoon Hondashi, optional
- 1 1/2 Cup Zatarain’s Pro Boil, plus plenty more for serving
- 3/4 Cups kosher salt or more if needed
- 2 1/2 Pounds small red potatoes
- 2 medium onions, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 ears of corn, shucked and broken in half
- 3/4 Cups peeled whole garlic cloves
- 3/4 Pounds hot smoked sausage, cut into 3 to 4 inch links
In the large crawfish pot, bring 3 gallons water to boil over a propane burner set to high.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and, if using, Hondashi.
You’ll mix this with the cooked crawfish before you serve them.
In another small bowl, combine 2 cups of the lemon vinegar with 1 teaspoon from those 3/4 cups of boil spice and set aside; this is your Super Sauce to serve alongside the boiled crawfish.
Once the water is boiling, add the salt and 3 cups of the boil spice.
Taste the water to make sure it’s as salty as seawater.
If it’s not, add more salt.
Add the potatoes, onions, and bay leaves to the crawfish pot basket.
Boil until the potatoes begin to soften, 10 to 13 minutes.
Add the corn, garlic, and sausage.
Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 7 to 10 more minutes.
Once the potatoes are done, the rest will also be done, 17 to 23 minutes in total.
Remove the vegetables from the basket, put them in a small container to keep warm.
Bring that water in the crawfish pot back to a boil.
Put the crawfish in the basket and submerge them in the boiling water.
Cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
The crawfish will become bright red and their tails will curl.
Fish one out of the pot to see if the batch is ready.
Peel it; it should look like cooked lobster or shrimp.
Remove the crawfish from the boiling water.
Pour 1/3 of the crawfish back into the clean, unused large cooler, cover with the remaining boil spice, and drizzle evenly with one-third of the lemon vinegar mixture (the one with no spice).
Repeat until all the crawfish are in the cooler.
Close the lid.
Give the cooler a few violent shakes.
Transfer the cooked vegetables from the small container to the crawfish cooler and close the lid.
After 5 minutes, give another violent shake.
Repeat every 5 minutes for 20 minutes total.
Cover a communal table with newspaper.
Divide the lemon-vinegar-and-spice Super Sauce into little bowls and scatter them around the table for use as a dipping sauce.
Place a mound of the boil spice at each person’s spot for them to swipe peeled tails through.
Then pour the crawfish out onto the newspaper and let people belly up.