Try The Tiger Paw’s backyard crawfish boil recipe

The Tiger Paw serves up freshly boiled crawfish on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the season. However, if you can’t get out to the bar on Coursey Boulevard, owner Chris Mercier shared his backyard boil recipe that you can try at home. 

First, before you boil, learn how to clean your mud bugs like The Tiger Paw. 

Second, consider your seasoning options, like this locally made crawfish boil seasoning. 

Now, you’re ready to get your boil on! Here is what The Tiger Paw recommends: 

Backyard Crawfish recipe

Suggested tools:

  • ~80 qt crawfish pot with basket
  • Typical accompanying burner setup
    • Make sure this is for boiling; some that are for frying or jambalaya may not put out enough heat to quickly re-boil the crawfish and this is extremely important.
  • Long-handled stirring paddle (Stainless or wooden)
  • Long-handled metal skimmer (optional)
    • This is typically used for frying, but is handy for picking out specific crawfish for tasting

Ingredients for initial boil

  • 1 Sack or 30lbs of live crawfish
  • 1x 4.5lb bag Louisiana Powdered “Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil
  • 1x 16oz Zatarain’s Liquid “Concentrated” Shrimp and Crab Boil
  • 4 lemon halves
  • 4 bulbs of garlic, 1/4″ of tops sliced off
  • 3 yellow onions, 3/4″ of end sliced off
  • 15 small or 10 medium red boiler potatoes
  • 10 half cobs yellow sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 lb white button mushrooms
  • 1lb brussels sprouts, frozen
  • 4 lemon halves
  • 4 whole heads of garlic, 1/4″ of tops sliced off
  • 3 yellow onions, 3/4″ of end sliced off
  • 15 small or 10 medium red boiler potatoes
  • 10 half cobs yellow sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 lb white button mushrooms
  • 1lb brussels sprouts, frozen

Ingredients for subsequent boils:

  • Additional water to replace what evaporated
  • 1/2 bag powdered boil as above
  • 8oz liquid boil
  • 4 lemon halves
  • 4 whole heads of garlic, 1/4″ of tops sliced off
  • 3 yellow onions, 3/4″ of end sliced off
  • 15 small or 10 medium red boiler potatoes
  • 10 half cobs yellow sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 lb white button mushrooms
  • 1lb brussels sprouts, frozen
  • 4 lemon halves
  • 4 bulbs of garlic, 1/4″ of tops sliced off
  • 3 yellow onions, 3/4″ of end sliced off
  • 15 small or 10 medium red boiler potatoes
  • 10 half cobs yellow sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 lb white button mushrooms
  • 1lb brussels sprouts, frozen

Between-boil adjustments and tips:

  • Adjust water level as needed to optimal as some will evaporate.
  • Too salty – Reduce powder by 0.5lb
  • Not salty enough – Increase powder by 0.5lb
  • Too hot on lips or tongue – reduce liquid boil by 2oz
  • Not hot enough – Increase liquid boil by 2oz

Directions: 

  1. Clear your decks of distractions to ensure no step goes past ideal. The difference between great and mediocre crawfish can often be less than 60 seconds.
  2. Feel free to be inventive with the accoutrements; all kinds of veggies, sausages, etc. are excellent in a crawfish boil. Once the crawfish are done, all manner of things including whole chickens, turkey legs, etc. can be seasoned and enjoyed. Your imagination will reward you here!
  3. Fill pot with clean water
    1. An estimate may be achieved by placing live crawfish in the basket, placing in the pot, and adjusting water to a level higher than the crawfish but lower than the top of the pot. Leave some extra for vegetables, potatoes, etc.
  4. Add powdered and liquid boil.
  5. Stir vigorously
  6. Add potatoes, onions, garlic(along with cut pieces of onions and garlic for more flavor)
  7. Boil water on highest setting
  8. Maintain a rolling boil for 2 minutes.
  9. Stir vigorously
  10. Add washed crawfish
  11. Squeeze lemon halves over boil water and drop into pot
  12. Stir gently(careful to not break crawfish shells)
  13. Close lid and return to boil (typical 5-8 minutes)
    1. Stir gently every ~2 minutes
  14. Allow to boil for one minute.
  15. Turn off burner
  16. Add corn, mushrooms, brussels sprouts.
  17. Stir gently.
  18. Every 5 minutes, stir gently and taste medium sized/colored crawfish
  19. Average soak time is 30 minutes
    1. This varies quite a lot with size of crawfish, time of season, amount of seasoning, etc.
    2. Be patient and pull the crawfish out when they taste GREAT.
    3. Differently-sized crawfish will absorb seasoning at different rates.
    4. The very largest in your batch will generally be a little less spicy with the very smallest being more spicy. Cook and test to the middle-sized population in your batch of crawfish to ensure maximum success.
  20. VERY CAREFULLY dump boil water only after it has cooled. Do NOT dump the boil water in any areas where you want grass or plants/trees to grow. The salt and seasonings in the water WILL KILL grass and many other plants and potentially prevent future growth for some time.
  21. Enjoy!

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