Hosting a crawfish boil can be a fun group gathering during the spring and is a perfect way to enjoy a day together.
While we learned about quite a few Mardi Gras traditions since moving to the Houston area, hosting a crawfish boil is one of the most fun. We have eaten king cake and beignets with New Orleans influence. But during crawfish season, hosting a boil is a great way to bring people together.
Originally Published On: April 7, 2023
How Many Pounds of Live Crawfish Do I Need?
The number of people you have at a crawfish boil will determine how much raw crawfish you need to purchase. As a rule of thumb, crawfish vendors suggest planning on about 3 lbs of crawfish per person. Once cooked, this yields about 1/2 lb of tail meat per person. Of course, if you have multiple people attending who are big eaters, you may want to plan closer to 5 lbs per person for them. On the other hand, kids don’t eat as much, so you won’t need as much for them.
Where do I Buy Crawfish?
This will greatly vary based on where you live. In the Houston area, the best crawfish comes from some roadside stands that pop up during crawfish season. You can also find it in seafood markets or at some grocery stores.
Fresh crawfish is best for a crawfish boil. They are fresher and cook better. Make sure you have a large tub or cooler to hold the live crawfish until you are ready to cook them.
When is Crawfish Season?
Crawfish season run from late February through May. You can sometimes find crawfish in the grocery store during the off-season, though they will often be smaller.
What Equipment is Needed for a Crawfish Boil?
The best way to cook crawfish is in a large propane burner stock pot.
I have also seen people who have a table made just for a crawfish boil. It’s usually a wooden or plastic table with sides about 3-6 inches tall. There’s a hole in the center that a garbage can is placed under. When eating the crawfish, the shells can be thrown through the hole. But you don’t have to have a fancy table. Just line an outdoor table with newspaper or butchers paper to dump everything on when it’s done.
It also helps to have a cooler ready nearby or a large tub that you can cover. Once you finish cooking the crawfish, it can be poured into the cooler to stay warm until you are ready to serve. This also helps if you have so much crawfish that you have to make it in multiple batches.
You will also want to make sure you have good cooking gloves since the equipment will be hot.
Don’t forget to have a lot of paper towels nearby as crawfish can be very messy when you eat with your hands.
What Goes in the Crawfish Boil?
When you host your own crawfish boil, you have control over what goes in there along with the crawfish (obviously) and enough water to cover everything.
Spices and Seasonings
- Old Bay seasoning
- Cayenne pepper
- Cajun seasoning mix
- Black pepper
- Bay leaves
- Small red potatoes
- Small ears of corn
- Yellow onions
- Andouille sausage
- Lemon slices
- Hot sauce
- Cocktail sauce
What Sides Can I Make with a Crawfish Boil?
Since a crawfish boil originated in Southern Louisiana, it’s a good idea to have cajun-style sides. I also like sides that help offset the spiciness of the cajun seasonings.
- Fresh bread
- Potato Salad
- Roasted Vegetables
- Mac and Cheese
- Deviled Eggs
- Baked Beans
And don’t forget to serve it with a cold drink or have cold beer available. Most of the time, it’s hot outside so you’ll want a way to cool off.