Crawfish Boil

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Crawfish Boil Yum
Servings
lbs crawfish
Ingredients
Spice Mix
Everything Else (in order)
  • 5 gal water
  • 1 lb salt — kosher, canning/pickling, or sea salt. Not table salt.
  • 8 oz Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil — Liquid. Zatarains or LA Fish Fry. Shop around, prices can be weird.
  • 6 oz hot sauce — Your favorite brand.
  • 2 onions, white or yellow — rough chop and process to a paste in blender or food processor
  • 3 ribs celery — rough chop and process to a paste in blender or food processor
  • 2 heads garlic — sliced across the pole then separated into cloves.
  • 3 oranges — Juice organges are best. Most anything but navel. Sliced in half
  • 4 lemons — sliced in half
  • 3 lb small red potatoes — no larger than 2" (cut if needed).
  • 8 ears corn — cut into halves or thirds
  • 2 lbs fresh whole mushrooms
  • 1 lb sausage — Optional but common. Andouille is traditional but any garlicky sausage will do. Cut into 1" pieces.
  • 2 lb shrimp — Optional, but preferably large head-on gulf shrimp. Unless you live near the gulf you'll need to get these frozen.
  • 10 lb live crawfish — purged and cleaned
  • a few ziplock bags filled with water then frozen. — optional, used to help quick-cool the boil.
Servings
lbs crawfish
Ingredients
Spice Mix
Everything Else (in order)
  • 5 gal water
  • 1 lb salt — kosher, canning/pickling, or sea salt. Not table salt.
  • 8 oz Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil — Liquid. Zatarains or LA Fish Fry. Shop around, prices can be weird.
  • 6 oz hot sauce — Your favorite brand.
  • 2 onions, white or yellow — rough chop and process to a paste in blender or food processor
  • 3 ribs celery — rough chop and process to a paste in blender or food processor
  • 2 heads garlic — sliced across the pole then separated into cloves.
  • 3 oranges — Juice organges are best. Most anything but navel. Sliced in half
  • 4 lemons — sliced in half
  • 3 lb small red potatoes — no larger than 2" (cut if needed).
  • 8 ears corn — cut into halves or thirds
  • 2 lbs fresh whole mushrooms
  • 1 lb sausage — Optional but common. Andouille is traditional but any garlicky sausage will do. Cut into 1" pieces.
  • 2 lb shrimp — Optional, but preferably large head-on gulf shrimp. Unless you live near the gulf you'll need to get these frozen.
  • 10 lb live crawfish — purged and cleaned
  • a few ziplock bags filled with water then frozen. — optional, used to help quick-cool the boil.
Instructions
  1. Grind peppercorns, coriander, clove, and allspice then mix together with the remaining Spice Mix ingredients. Fresh is best, but it's OK to do this weeks or even months ahead of time if you seal it well and store it in a cool, dark location. Repeat after me: "Never cook with stale spices or herbs!"
  2. Clean the crawfish by rinsing them in the bag, then place in a large container (like a cooler) filled with cold water. Gently agitate with your crawfish paddle (you do have a crawfish paddle, right?) to loosen external mud and debris. Inspect them in small batches by dipping a few at a time out and rinsing, inspecting to find and discard any that are dead. Then toss the dirty water and repeat until the water is clear at the end. 3 times should do it, but don't stop until you don't see dirt. DO NOT STORE CRAWFISH LONGTERM UNDERWATER WITHOUT AN AERATOR or they will die. Keep them cool and moist, but not submerged for long. If you need to store them a day or two before you are ready to cook, place in a cooler with an open drain, tilted to ensure melting ice drains away, then keep them consistenly covered with a little ice. Run through one more "clean and purge" cycle just before cooking, to remove any dead crawfish.
  3. Fill a large pot (at least 10 gallons) with 5 gallons of water and turn the heat on full. Add the salt, the Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil, the hot sauce, the spice mix, onions, celery, garlic, oranges & lemons. Bring to a full rolling boil.
  4. Add the potatoes and wait 5 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms, corn & sausage, cover and return to full rolling boil. Wait another 5 minutes.
  6. Leaving the heat on high add the crawfish and shrimp, cover, and cook 3 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.
  7. Toss in the ziplock bags of ice. While an assistant sprays the sides of the pot with a garden hose, gently stir the contents while frequently checking the temperature of the water. Continue until it drops to 150°F. Ther's a nifty tool called the "Boil Boss" that will help with this step, but it's spendy. DIY'ers can make something similar for about $10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haOZ-0k0cLQ
  8. Once 150°F is achieved, turn off the water, remove the ice bags, put the lid back on and let soak 15 more minutes. The crawfish are done cooking, but not done soaking up flavor.
  9. Drain and serve!
Recipe Notes

Do not add any butter or oil to the boil. It hogs some of the oil-soluble flavors, and makes cleanup more annoying.

If you can convince your guests to put the shells into a community pot without tossing in any cigarette butts or soiled napkins, you can use them to make an amazing stock. They spoil quickly so freeze them right away if you aren't going to get right to making the stock. Also, probably best to rinse the shells well to get most of the spice off, though leaving it all on would be an interesting experiment.

The quick-cool down is important. There is a nifty (and spendy) tool called the "Boil Boss" which can be a big help. DIY types can put one of their own together easily for about $10.

Hardware: Paddle, Big Pot

Final product: Crawfish Stock, Po Boys, Etouffe

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