My First Crawfish Boil in Austin, Texas

Posted by on May 3, 2011

Creepy, crawly, and pinchy. I faced my first crawfish boil in Austin, Texas on one breezy spring afternoon. “Don’t wear white”, the Texan warned me.

As soon as we entered our friend’s backyard, the whiff of Cajun spices hit me. I peeked into the tubs of the rather menacing creatures, all 90 lbs of them.

crawfish boil live photo by Melody Fury

Inside the cauldron, a spicy brew of spices steamed and bubbled. The cook poured some crawfish in, along with corn on the cobs, red potatoes, and onion halves. He let it boil for a while, then turned off the heat and left it to stand for 20 minutes so the flavours could soak through.

crawfish boil cooking pot photo by Melody Fury

When the critters were ready, we lifted the basket out and scattered the contents onto a lined picnic table. With cold beers in hand, we all dove in. Well, some dove in more readily than others. Since this was my first crawfish boil, I watched my friends’ shelling techniques and eating etiquette.

crawfish boil cooked photo by Melody Fury

Essentially, I twisted off the head first, then wiggled the tail off with the entrails intact. I pulled off the shells (which are thicker and crunchier than prawn shells), then popped the tail meat in my mouth. The flesh was soft and meaty but since the Cajun spices were so intense, it was hard to taste the crawfish itself.

crawfish boil cooked photo by Melody Fury

I consider my tolerance for spice quite high but my lips were throbbing from the burn! After a few gulps of cold beer to extinguish the initial fire, I made my signature move. I wrapped my lips around that head and sucked. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here and watch at the 2:38 mark). The flavour was ok but it lacked the fatty gooeyness I was hoping for.

crawfish_boil melody fury

For me, the crawfish boil was about gathering a group of friends, digging in communally, and drinking lots of beer. I couldn’t help but to compare them with B.C. spot prawns and naturally, they were no comparison. There was, surprisingly, a decent amount of meat that made the mess and work worthwhile. . At the least, the mildly sweet meat and didn’t taste dirty like I imagined. I can see this easily becoming an annual tradition.

p.s. Notice the splash-proof windbreaker? It’s messy business!




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  • Judy Chin

    Wow, Mel. That looks absolutely delicious! I love marveling over all your food experiences in Texas! I am drooling…

  • http://twitter.com/nicolb Nicolb

    Mmm……

  • WINEcouver

    Have always wanted to try crawfish. Is it like lobster, shrimp or prawns in taste?

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Thanks Judy. I love new experiences and am exploring Texas 1 bite at a time. Wish me luck :)

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Under the spices, I imagine that the taste is similar to a prawn but without the springy texture. It is slightly sweeter than the flavourless tiger prawns, but is far blander than spot prawns.

  • http://www.linglieats.com Ling

    That looks really good! I’m not sure if I could tolerate the intense cajun spiciness level though

  • Elle

    Crawfish are great. I have yet to find me a place that serves it like that anywhere near NYC. Nor can I know where to get the crawfish raw so I can just boil it myself. I love anything lobster-y lol

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    I believe they had to order it pre-order it and I think there are places to order it online too. If I’m in NYC, I’d much rather have Maine lobsters ;)

  • Elle

    I have lobsters majority of the time. It’s good to try something different, especially when they’re in season =D

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Oh definitely. If you’re ever in the Pacific NW in the summer, be sure to get some spot prawns!

  • Elle

    Oh thanks for the tip! I love seafood. Spot Prawns is definitely a new thing to me also.