How to choose the best crawfish for your boil

Do you smell that? Spring may be in the air, but I’m not talking about the smell of flowers, friends. I’m talking about the heavenly aroma of crawfish. Oh, how I love the spicy aromatic goodness of a big pot of boiling crawfish. Now is the time to rinse out your boiling pot, refill the propane tanks, ready your outdoor setup, and grab some friends and family for a crawfish boil.

So, what makes a great crawfish boil? Is it the fixings (spoke to someone recently who puts a whole pineapple in their boil which sounds interesting)? Or maybe the technique? We all know those folks that have their technique down to an art. Or perhaps it’s the company that makes for a great crawfish boil? Arguably, good company does make all food taste better in my opinion. For this article, let’s focus on the main attraction of the boil—the crawfish themselves. How do we know we are starting our crawfish boil off on the right foot with good quality crawfish for our boil?

To give us some insight on this, I spoke to Todd Rosetti of Quality Poultry and Seafood. This time of year, Quality is boiling over 3,000 pounds a day. Filling the plates of happy customers with deliciously hot crawfish with all the fixings that make for a classic crawfish dining experience—sausage, potatoes, and corn.

According to Rosetti, these are the best practices for purchasing crawfish:

What should consumers look for when purchasing crawfish?

Boiled crawfish customers should look for crawfish with a brilliant red color and to make sure the tails are not straight. Curled tails indicate a thorough cook and the boiling of a good live crawfish. The straight tails indicate the crawfish was dead when it was cooked.

When should customers purchase crawfish?

The best quality crawfish are in March through mid-May. During this time, they are loaded with yellow fat and the tails are full of meat.

What do you wish consumers knew?

I wish that the public knew that purging with a lot of fresh water and or a salt mixture will make the crawfish purge themselves of the mud and sand. Also, you can kill crawfish by drowning them in ice water in an ice chest. Yes, you can pack them in ice in an ice chest for travel but make sure to pull the drain plug to allow the melted ice to drain yet keeping the crawfish moist.

What is your number one advice for the consumer?

When cooking crawfish, the best advice for a full flavor crawfish is to add some ice and extra seasoning after the crawfish has boiled for five minutes then continue to let them soak for 45 minutes after they have submerged themselves under the water.

If you are like me and are salivating over the spicy aromas and need some crawfish, break out the pots, call your people, and prepare the fixings! Maybe consider throwing a pineapple in with your crawfish, from what I hear it’s a rather good mix of spicy meeting sweet. I would love to hear what unique fixing you use in your own boils.

As always, friends, remember to support local businesses and purchase your crawfish directly from them.

Quality Seafood and Poultry is located at 895 Division Street, Biloxi, and is open from 7 am-5 pm every day except Sundays.

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Written by Jessica Rankin

I am a married mother of two rambunctious boys. For over a decade I worked in Marine Resources as a Fisheries Biologist and recently changed career directions to follow my dream of owning my own business. I am now the Owner of The Safe Food Culture LLC a consulting business specializing in food safety regulatory and training. It’s my goal to support businesses in creating cultures rooted in safe food practices. For more information please visit: www.thesafefoodculture.com

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