The turning of the calendar from January to the February marks the arrival of two significant seasons in Louisiana: Mardi Gras and crawfish season. In fact, until Fat Tuesday rolls into Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras and crawfish boils go hand-in-hand. Even though Mardi Gras ends in February or March, crawfish season rolls on until about the Fourth of July.
So how does one take a sack of live mudbugs and turn them into a Louisiana delicacy? It’s a rather simple process that can be mastered in a few boils:
1. Assemble the ingredients – you’ll need a propane burner, full propane tank, a crawfish boiling pot, a sack of crawfish, 6 to 8 lemons, sliced in half, onions, andouille sausage cut into large pieces, small russet potatoes unpeeled, 15 to 20 ears of fresh corn on the cob, shucked and broken in halves, 6-12 heads of garlic, and whole mushrooms.
2. Purge the crawfish – unless you want your vegetables covered in dirt that is stuck on the crawfish, it is necessary to first soak them in a large pot, sprinkle them with a bunch of salt while soaking, and spray them with a hose a few times. This will rid the crawdads of impurities.
3. Light the fire! – Turn that burner and get that water boiling. Once it comes to a boil, pour in a jar of crawfish boil. This is also when you squeeze in the lemon halves
4. Boil the Sides – Stick the sausage, garlic, mushrooms and onions in one of the sacks the crawfish came in (save the corn and celery later). Place the sack in the bucket and set in the water. Boil for seven minutes. Remove from water.
5. Add the crawfish – Getting close to completion! (This is also when you’ll take the sides out of the bag and add them in with the crawfish, including the corn and celery). Once the water comes back to boil, boil the crawfish for 7 minutes. When that timer rings, turn off the burner and soak for another 7 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy! – You’re crawfish are now ready to be enjoyed. Ice cold beer and fresh french bread are strongly suggested.
This is how just about every Cajun in south Louisiana boils his or her crawfish (although everybody puts their own little tweak on the recipe). From February to July, you can find groups of friends and family gathering under a tent or an old live oak, in a backyard, or on the neutral ground, with the sole purpose of enjoying each other’s company while boiling crawfish. If you’re from out-of-state and don’t know any locals that can boil crawfish for you while you’re visiting, don’t worry! Most local restaurants down here boil their own crawfish (The Cabin being one of them), so you’ll definitely be able to find a heaping basket of freshly boil crawfish just about anywhere.
So get excited folks! The best time of year to be in south Louisiana is here – crawfish season.