Cooking According to Captain Matt Webber
The springtime is one of my favorite times of year. April through June, crawfish are in season. When crawfish are available, I love to throw down with a big ole Crawfish Boil. Here are my steps for a successful crawfish boil. Hit me up in the comments section if you have any questions such as where you to find live crawfish and such. Here we go!
You are going to need supplies to get your boil off the ground. You need a propane burner and stand as well as a big ole cook pot with a basket. Set these up in an open, outdoor area. You may also want a big wooden spoon, and it never hurts to have a blowtorch handy. At a minimum you’ll need a place for the crawfish to land, and a table is always a good start. You may want some newspapers to spread out if you plan to dump the finished product directly on the table. You will need a cooler or three in the 45- to 60-quart range. You’ll need a water supply and a hose. You are going to need paper towels and a trashcan preferably with a good liner. I know the list of materials may sound a little strange but it will all make sense soon enough.
For real success, a crawfish boil includes far more than just the bugs—it’s a full meal. Here is a list of the things I use in mine:
- Beer is the number one ingredient and the rest is optional
- Cajun seasoning (Slap Ya Mama works best)
- Worchester-shister-sire sauce
- Siracha sauce
- Whole peeled garlic
- Small red potatoes
- Yellow Onions
- Andouille sausage links
- Corn on the cob
- Salt (truly optional)
- Last but not least, Beer. That’s right, Beer is so important that I mentioned it three times. I just don’t want you to run out.
First things first, crack open a cold beer. I recommend Shiner Bock. If you have no more driving to do, you should never have a free hand. Now that that is out of the way, your Crawfish are going to arrive in a 35-40lb sack and they are going to be dirty. I mean Louisiana, muddy swamp, bug dirty.
Not only are they going to be dirty but they are going to be full of it. That’s right, they are going to be full of shit. You don’t want to be eating on a bunch of dirty, nasty bugs!
You need to purge them bad boys and wash them off before you get to cooking. The first thing I do is hose the sacks down for several minutes to get most of the big dirt washed out. The next step is to open the bag and set as many as can comfortably fit into one of the coolers. At this point, crack the drain on the cooler so water can drain out and fill the cooler with the hose to allow for a rinse cycle to be continuous. This accomplishes two things. It further removes exterior dirt and allows for the mudbugs to excrete. Some folks will not rinse them but rather let them soak in a briny solution which is supposed to make them poop but I haven’t seen any proof that that solution works.
Long story short, purge them bugs before you cook them to make sure you’re not introducing a bunch of dirt into your cook pot. You’ll want to monitor this purging process throughout the cooking timeframe to ensure your not overflowing the cooler and letting bugs escape or letting the water level get too low.
Fire up the Pot
Important Safety Advisory! DO NOT FIRE UP THE BURNER INDOORS! This is an outdoor activity and cooking with propane indoors is incredibly dangerous. Now that the Public Service Announcement (PSA) is completed, we can move on.
This may sound self-explanatory but there is a method behind the madness to make your life easier and ensure you are as efficient as possible. The water is going to take some time to get to boiling so you’ll want to get the burner fired up soonest. As soon as you have the water on the burner fire it up with your torch and turn it onto full blast.
Now that the burner is going and starting to heat the water up, we can go ahead and get things started. Take several lemons and several oranges and cut them in half. Take the halves and squeeze them into the water and then drop them into the water. We want that citrus flavor in there right from the beginning. Add in about half to one pound of Slap Ya Mama seasoning and then wait for the water to boil.
The amount of seasoning is dependent on the delicate nature of you and your family’s taste buds. I prefer a pound and a half of seasoning at a minimum but remember this: You can always add more seasoning but one it’s in there, it’s in there for good. At this time, you also want to have your spare cooler nearby and ready to receive.
Now that the water is boiling, have another beer, remove the citrus rinds and replace the basket. Add in a stick of butter, half a bottle of Worchester-Shister-Sire sauce, and maybe a half a cup of Sriracha sauce. Let that mixture roll for a bit, stir it up with your spoon. The reason for the butter is to make the peeling process easier. It really greases up the tail meat and allows it to slide out of the shell easier.
The amounts of ingredients you add are going to depend on the size of your strainer and cook pot. The smaller the pot and strainer, the less the ingredients. I typically use a 20-quart cookpot and this is the amount of ingredients I use and the intervals I add them. If you have whole corn, snap them in half. If you have frozen corn, they will usually be in the portion sizes you’re going to need. You’ll want to prepare the Sausage and Onions ahead of time so cut the sausage into bite size portions and peel the onions and cut them in half. Everything goes into the pot in timed sequence:
- First thing to go in is about 6 half pieces of corn, replace the lid and wait for 10 minutes
- Second, add in about 5-6 small red potatoes and a generous handful of garlic cloves and wait ten minutes.
- After that, add in the handful of mushrooms and a handful of sausage then let everything boil for another 5 minutes.
- Last thing to add in is the crawfish. Fill up the pot with crawfish until they reach to top of the water and place the lid back on.
- Let your bugs boil for another five minutes and then turn the burner off and take the lid off.
- Let the whole thing soak for ten minutes to allow everything to soak in the spicy goodness.
Once the soak is completed, you will lift everything out of the water with the strainer basket, leaving the water in the pot for the next batch of veggies and crawfish. Pour the crawfish out on the table to eat right awayt or into the cooler. The cooler will help keep everything warmer longer and in my opinion is the best approach. You can also sprinkle that Slap Ya Mama seasoning onto the freshly cooked bugs to give them even more pep.
Eat and Enjoy!
Now that the first batch is done, you want to fire up the next one. Add more water and spices if you need to and also another stick of butter. Fire the burner back up, bring the water to a boil and once its boiling, start the process of adding the ingredients. Continue this process until all your bugs are cooked and all your beer is gone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope you have subscribed. Here is a link to my Crawfish boil video in case you need a visual to go along with the article. As always here’s to hoping you get to have Another Fine Day Full of Fun and Adventure.