THE CRAWFISH BOIL
THE CRAWFISH BOIL
The History of the Crawfish Boil
Crawfish boils are a long-time tradition in Louisiana. It’s a time when family and friends gather to celebrate spring, sun, and food. But when did crawfish boils begin?
Native Americans first fished for mudbugs using reeds covered in deer meet. The Houma Tribe were described in French documents in the early 1600’s as using the red crawfish as their tribe symbol. The feisty crawfish, who raises its claw in defense instead of backing down, symbolized the Houma Tribe’s resilience and power.
In the 1700’s, Acadians, now Cajuns, arrived from Canada and settled along bayous. Crawfish were eaten mostly of necessity. As the poor man’s food, it was cheap and readily accessible. By the 1800s, the Acadians were modifying lobster recipes from their Canadian roots to suit the smaller crustacean. According to the Louisiana Office of Tourism, “Creole restaurateurs in New Orleans caught on, and once it took off in the Big Easy, the secret was out: Crawfish became synonymous with Louisiana cooking.”
By the 20th century, crawfish boils became a spring tradition in Louisiana. In 1980, the legislature crowned crawfish as Louisiana’s official state crustacean.
(some original text published by The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce)
1 sack (about 35-40 pounds) live Louisiana crawfish
1 4.5-pound container Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil, Sack Size
1 8-ounce bottle Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
3 ounces Cayenne pepper
1 32-ounce bottle hot sauce, divided use
3 ounces garlic powder
1 bag small red potatoes (about 3 pounds)
3 pounds yellow onions, halved
6 lemons, halved
4 heads garlic, halved
2 heads celery, cut into large pieces
8 frozen mini ears corn on the cob
1 package (about 10 ounces) whole white button mushrooms
1 ½ pounds Rouses smoked sausage, cut in chunks
2 large bags ice
80-quart boiling pot
- Open the sack of crawfish and pour them into a large tub. Add enough water to cover the crawfish and allow them to move around a bit. With a gloved hand, pick through the crawfish and remove dead crawfish, baits, sticks, grass and any other foreign objects.
- Wearing gloves, transfer the crawfish into slotted basket by hand. Dump the water from the galvanized tub, refill with crawfish and add fresh water to cover. Repeat the earlier check for debris.
- Keep crawfish in a shaded area while preparing for the boil.
- Place the basket in pot and fill half way with water. Add all of the seasonings and spices except for half bottle of the hot sauce. Place the lid on the pot and set propane burner on high. Bring water boil. When the pot begins to steam, set a timer for 12 minutes.
- After 12 minutes, remove lid. Add the crawfish, vegetables and sausage. Replace lid. When the pot begins to steam again, cook another 5 to 7 minutes.
- Shut off the propane flame and remove the lid.
- Add the rest of hot sauce and stir with a cooking paddle to release heat from the pot. Add ice, too, to help the crawfish absorb the seasoning and to stop the crawfish from continuing to cook.
- While the crawfish are soaking, sample a few to see if more seasoning is needed. Soak for 10 minutes, pull the basket out of the water, let drain and toss onto newspaper.