If you've ever enjoyed an authentic cajun crawfish boil, you know the pure joy of sitting at a newspaper-covered table piled high with crawfish, popping those perfectly spicy little mudbugs one after the other, followed by a swig of ice cold beer.
Summer doesn't get any better than that. And right now it's peak crawfish season. (It runs March-May.)
So to find out how to host your own crawfish boil - for those of us who didn't grow up down on the bayou - I spoke with Charlie Hohorst III. Charlie runs CajunGrocer.com, and for 13 years has been supplying everything you need for the perfect boil, from 120-quart stock pots and propane burners to live crawfish delivered overnight.
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"My usual choice for a May event is a seafood party, which can include boiled crawfish, crabs and shrimp all cooked with small red potatoes, corn-on-the-cob - and anything else you might want add to the pot, such as andouille, mushrooms and smoked sausage," says Hohorst.
Sounds like the perfect way to spend a May evening. And a great alternative to the typical barbecue. Here's what you'll need, and need to know, to invite friends over for a memorable backyard boil:
(NOTE: If all this sounds like a lot to go through to enjoy some shellfish, or if you live in an urban area where you can't hold a boil, CajunGrocer has "fresh boiled" crawfish. They cook 'em so you don't have to, then overnight them to you. Just reheat on arrival and enjoy.)
How Many Crawfish Will You Need?
The average crawfish eater can down 3-5 pounds, according to Hohorst. A crawfish boil veteran can consume up to 8 to 10 pounds. Order accordingly. Having 20 friends over? 60 pounds should cover you.
Too much crawfish for your first boil? Order half that amount and make up the rest with shrimp, crabs, and other shellfish.