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Crawfish Season – Enjoy While You Can!

A white bowl filled with cooked crayfish, displaying their bright red shells and claws. The crayfish are piled on top of each other, and the bowl is placed on a wooden surface. Another white dish is partially visible in the background.
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It’s early spring along the Gulf Coast and that means it’s time for crawfish. The exact timing for the season can vary from one year to the next depending on rainfall and temperature. But this year, NOW is the time to dig in.

A crawfish boil party
A crawfish boil will bring friends and family together in a hurry…

Crawfish boils are a great excuse to have a backyard get together with friends. It doesn’t take an experienced boil master to get it right but you’ll want to read up on how to prepare everything if it’s your first time. Good Friday is popular for boils in New Orleans which is home to many Catholics.

Ordering Your Mudbugs

Prices for live crawfish are generally about $4.50 per pound although it will usually spike around the Easter weekend. You’ll want to order well in advance with a reputable vendor. Depending on your distance from southern Louisiana, there will be a surcharge for shipping although that’s generally included in the price you pay the fishmonger. If you get a chance to pick them out, make sure they seem active and, well, a little angry. In sacks, make sure they don’t have so much room they can pull off each others’ claws. (I did tell you they should seem a little angry.)

Boiling the Crawfish

A crawfish boil cooking rig
Although a professional rig like this is great, a simple propane-powered stock pot is all you really need.

You’ll want to read up on the technique, which is surprisingly easy. Use a good commercial seasoning such as Zatarain’sInvalid request error occurred. and fresh sausage and vegetables. You will also want to invest in a good boiling potInvalid request error occurred. (which you can also use to fry turkeys at Thanksgiving). It’s important to get the correct order and timing for each of the ingredients. Although you could get away with only crawfish, potatoes, sausage (especially andouille if possible), corn, and onions.

When ready, drain off the liquid and dump onto a picnic table lined with plenty of newspaper. No utensils are needed and the best napkins are a roll of paper towels.

How to Eat Crawfish

There is an art to getting all the juicy meat from these things. It’s not difficult. Grab the head in one hand and the tail section with your other hand. Gently twist the tail and suck the juices in the head section. To eat the tail, squeeze the tail and pull out the meat. (You may have remove a few sections of the shell here).

Crawfish on the plate
It’s not just about the crawfish, but the accompanying goodies cooked in the same pot. This one includes hush puppies, too.
The only napkins you'll need...
The only napkins you’ll need…

Sweet tea or ice-cold beer are the preferred beverages although, being from Texas, I’d recommend Dr Pepper.

As to leftovers, etouffée or gumbo makes a great way to use any remaining tails from your crawfish boil. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Can’t get enough Louisiana goodness?  See also:

How to Mardi Gras Like a Local – Part I and How to Mardi Gras Like a Local – Part II from one of our New Orleans guest bloggers.

Hurricane Katrina Ten Years Later

Ash Wednesday While Traveling


  1. I had some in Houston two weeks ago. While Houston isn’t a huge tourist destination, if you’re there on business, crawfish can be a fun treat while you’re there.

    While crawfish are available year-round, they definitely taste better while they’re in season.

  2. Absolutely, Pat. Many restaurants and bars in New Orleans serve them. And they are popular throughout southern Louisiana and southeast Texas. If you miss the season, frozen tails are still good for gumbo and etouffée during the rest of the year. Just avoid the Asian imports, though, which aren’t raised with the same agricultural practices as in the US.

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