- halved lemons,
- bulbs of garlic sliced in half to expose the cloves and
- onions sliced in half through the equator (so the top and root ends hold them together)
- cut-up head of celery to the boil at the beginning, along with
- a bag of small red potatoes.
Add 1/2 sack, 17 lbs, of the crawfish in the new 40 qt. pot.
NOTE: “Boil” is the most overused word at a crawfish boil, McCusker said. The secret to great crawfish is not boiling the crustaceans, but instead poaching them in hot water, allowing them to soak up seasonings as they finish cooking.
Below is based on http://www.lacrawfish.com/showrecipe.aspx?recipe=boiled-crawfish and http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2011/03/post_64.html with my mods for this cook.
- Add water to the new 40 qt. pot to 3/4 full and 4 quarts to the original aluminum pot. [As the 4.5 lb. bag of Louisiana Fish Fry Crawfish Boil seasons a 35 lb. sack, then one pound will season about 8 lbs of crawfish. Added seasoning to the first pot anticipating I could get 15 pounds in it. Once the crawfish were dumped in the clean wheelbarrow it was clear that only 1/3 of the bag would fit.
- To the 20 qts of water added:
- 3 pounds of teh 4.5 lb bag of Louisiana Fish Fry Ltd’s Crawfish Boil powdered seasoning mix.
- 2 onions cut in half at the equator,
- 2 garlic head cut the same,
- celery stalks and leaves
- 3/4 C ground celery
- Added one Zatarines shrimp boil seasoning cache as that is all we had. [should have had a cache and used our home made boil mix.]
- Brought the 5 gallons of water to a rolling boil in about 20 minutes. Turned off burner, and dropped in mesh bag of potatoes into covered, seasoned pot. Potatoes were done in 30 minutes. Put them into small foam ice chest and they stayed hot until we ate 2 hours later.
- Moved pot off the burner to steep.
- Boiled the small pot to make a rich batch of seasoning with the mix and veggies to use to refresh the big pot for the second and third boil of crawfish.
- Washed crawfish with running water in the cleaned wheelbarrow and Rocky picked out the dead ones with Piper and Olivia’s help. We did this with each 1/3rd of the sack as the pot was heating up. [See Next Time below for better washing and purging as some of them were not purged and there was more dirt in the water–especially for the third boil– than should have been.]
- When the big pot has steeped for an hour return to a boil and put shrimp into the boil until they start to float and turned off the fire and they soaked for about 5 minutes. Despite the heavily seasoned pot, they were still mild.
- Returned water to boil and add the first 1/3 of the sack (~12 lbs) of crawfish, covered. When small bubbles where all across the pot turn off fire well short of a hard, rolling boil.
- Let crawfish soak covered for 15-20 minutes in very hot water.
- Add the frozen corn and start stirring and checking. In the first pot at about the 45-minute point most had sunk. [“When the crawfish sink, they’ve absorbed all the flavor they’ll absorb.”] Pulled basket and emptied into a very large bowl. Picked out veggies and put them back into the pot.
- Returned water to a boil and refreshed with half the concentrated seasoned water from the small pot. Remembered to taste to check salt and seasoning. There is PLENTY of both as when I dumped in the last of the small pot all the seasoning that sunk to the bottom kicked it up a lot. Should have stirred it as the seasonings had settled. Added the second 1/3rd of the sack of crawfish. Repeated steps 6 and 7. Sprinkled with NolaCusine.com’s Creole Seasoning as they were mild.
- Repeated step 9 with the final 1/3 of the sack. Remembered to taste to check salt and seasoning before adding the crawfish. There is PLENTY of both as when I dumped in the last of the small pot all the seasoning that sunk to the bottom kicked it up a lot.
- Put each boil into a very large bowl and took inside as the flies had found us.
- When the third and final boil was into the soaking phase we ate…too much. When it was done soaking I took them inside and dumped in the sink to avoid the flies. Added four of the frozen small plastic water bottles to cool them.
- Submerge sack when arriving at home and later to keep wet, alive and to begin cleaning.
- If salt purging then do it just before cooking as it will kill them. Most do not seem to do the salt purge.
- Get plastic basket and tub or use small kettles to wash them by dunking. When submerged the dead ones will float.
- Added one seasoning shrimp boil cache. Missed the shrimp boil flavoring as the seasoning bag added none of that great smell. Should have had a cache and used our homemade boil mix.
Below is from http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2011/03/post_64.html. Referenced this a lot when developing how I planned to do this.
The potatoes need more time to cook, they explained. Larger potatoes can be cut in half, but they will absorb more seasoning and may fall apart faster.
Frozen corn is added later to cool down the boil. Corn takes a little time to cook, and won’t get mushy or overspiced.
Costanza and McCusker brought the covered pot of water and seasonings to a hard rolling boil, which took 15 to 20 minutes. Then they dumped in the crawfish and stirred it all around several times with a wooden paddle. They covered it with the lid, checking periodically to see when it was coming back to a boil.
When it showed a lot of bubbles over most of the surface but was still short of a hard, rolling boil, they cut off the flame.
“I let mine sit a couple of minutes, or three to five minutes for large (size), and then add the frozen corn. That will start cooling the water down, ” Costanza said.
“And it keeps the corn intact. Otherwise, you draw out a corncob pipe, ” McCusker added.
“Once you add the corn, start stirring and checking, ” Costanza said. “When the crawfish sink, they’ve absorbed all the flavor they’ll absorb. The trick is to make sure they’re not overdone by the time they sink.”
When two large packages of frozen mini-cobettes were added, the crawfish were all floating high in the pot.
Sure enough, 20 or so minutes later, they had sunk considerably. The soak takes roughly 40 minutes, more or less.