Boiling crawfish is lots of fun and really easy once you get the hang of it. But you do need a few special items that you might not have lying around (unless you grew up in south Louisiana!)
Before your mudbugs arrive, make sure you have an outdoor propane cooker, along with a nice supply of propane. (Nothing kills the fun of a crawfish boil like hearing your fire sputter and die while you’re right in the middle of cooking, and realizing too late that you’re out of propane!)
You’ll also need a large boiling pot with a lid and perforated basket inside. Obviously a bigger pot can boil more crawfish at once, so that’s a consideration if you’re feeding lots of people. (And remember, the more “batches” you boil, the more seasoning you will need to continue to add to the water, as lots of the spices are absorbed by the crawfish during the boiling process.)
A stirring paddle is helpful, too. It’s especially useful to mix in the spices and to help prepare the vegetables before the crawfish are boiled. (It’s also a good way for the cooking crew to scoop out a few mudbugs to sample the seasoning mix!)
Finally, you’ll need a large washtub or a couple of ice chests on hand, as well. They are used to keep the sack(s) of crawfish cool and damp before the boil, and to keep the crawfish warm after they’re done. (Once you designate an ice chest as your “warmer” after boiling, you might want to keep using that ice chest over and over. It will still function like a regular ice chest if you use it to go fishing or hunting, but it might get a bit discolored inside from the hot spicy crawfish continually poured into it.)
If you’re not boiling the crawfish immediately when you get them home, find a nice shady spot to keep the mudbugs cool. Poke a few holes in bags of ice and place them on the sacks to allow the cool water to drain over the crawfish (just make sure the crawfish are not stored for an extended period in standing water.) If you’re doing this with an ice chest, make sure your drain plug is open, or if you are using the Styrofoam ice chest that the crawfish came in, poke holes in the bottom for drainage. One eight-pound bag of ice is enough to keep smaller orders (10-15 pounds) overnight. For larger orders, use two bags of ice for each 30-pound sack.
For detailed information on how to actually boil the crawfish, peel them and make an awesome homemade crawfish dipping sauce, check out our Live Crawfish Manual here.
The only other thing you’ll need is FUN! Crawfish boils here in south Louisiana are all about family and friends gathering together and enjoying each other’s company. It’s a pretty laid back affair, so don’t sweat the small stuff. Experiment with the vegetables and spices to find out what you and your friends like best. But most of all, enjoy the whole process and have fun: that’s what crawfish boils are all about!