Ultimate Seafood Boil How-To Guide
This is a general how-to guide that covers the ins and outs of boiling crawfish. We recommend that you use this information as a "cheat sheet" while referring to one of our boiled crawfish recipes for specific quantities and measurements. Happy boiling!

Alright, so you?re ready to impress your friends with a Louisiana-style crawfish boil. Better make sure you have the right equipment on hand first. You?ll need a 15- to 20-gallon pot to boil the crawfish in, a metal basket to fit the pot, and a propane burner to cook on. In Louisiana, crawfish cookers are available in most hardware, grocery, discount, and sporting goods stores, but if they?re not available in your area, you can buy them online.

Next, get your hands on a sack of LIVE crawfish, which usually weighs about 40 pounds (yields about 10 lbs. crawfish meat.) That will feed 8 to 10 Louisianans, or as many as 20 in less crawfish-fertile regions. If you?re not lucky enough to have an uncle who has a crawfish pond or to live near the Atchafalaya Basin, you?ll have to go to your neighborhood seafood vendor, or you can order them right here at Zatarain.com.

An hour or two before you?re ready to cook, set up your crawfish cooker outside near a water source, preferable in a shady area. Pour the crawfish out of the sack into the metal basket and dip the basket in and out of a large washtub of cool water, changing the water several times until the crawfish are clean. Don?t leave the crawfish covered with water, as they need air to stay alive. Using gloves, discard any dead crawfish and debris. Keep the crawfish in a cool or shaded area until you?re ready to start cooking.

Shortly before you?re ready to eat, add the water and seasoning to the pot and bring it to a boil on the propane burner. Once the spices are dissolved, you can add the potatoes and onions and cook them until they are halfway done (see recipes for specifics.) Then add the crawfish, return to boiling, and start timing them; they will turn bright red-orange as they cook. When the cooking time is almost up, remove a couple of crawfish from the pot, peel them, and check for doneness. They cook quickly, so don?t overcook them or they will be tough, dry, and hard to peel.

When the crawfish are done, lift the basket out of the pot and set it down to drain for a couple of minutes, then pour the crawfish out on a table covered with newspaper. They are best served hot. Eat them plain or dip them into a bowl of Zatarain?s Cocktail Sauce. And make sure you have plenty of cold beverages on hand to cool down peppered tongues.

Real New Orlean's Seafood Boil