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The Crawfish Boil

Photo: Jody Horton
Hands-on time 20 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 35 mins

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Chef Tim Byres' boil works great with shrimp too. It's a one-pot meal in itself with spiced potatoes, sausage, and fresh corn, but no one will complain if you also serve a bowl of bracing slaw, bean salad, pitchers of margaritas, and a mile-high Tequila-Key Lime Meringue Pie. Cook the crawfish on the stovetop in two batches for ease. Or, if you have a 10-gal. pot and propane cooker (or wood fire), boil the crawfish outside all in one go. To do so, simply double the first five ingredients and water.


  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Crawfish Spice Mix
  • Tejano Red Sauce, divided
  • 5 1/2 pounds red new potatoes (about 30)
  • 6 (1/4-lb.) andouille sausage links
  • 6 ears fresh corn, cut in half
  • 20 pounds live fresh crawfish, purged (see Crawfish Connection, below)*

How to Make It

  1. Pour 3 1/4 gal. water into a 7 1/2-gal. heavy stockpot; add celery, lemon, onion, spice mix, and 1 1/2 cups red sauce. Bring to a boil; add potatoes. Boil 20 minutes or until potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife. Transfer potatoes to a large, clean cooler to keep warm. Add sausage to pot; boil 5 minutes. Add corn; boil 5 minutes. Transfer sausage and corn to cooler.

  2. Add half of crawfish to stockpot; boil 8 to 10 minutes or until crawfish tails curl. Transfer crawfish to a large bowl; toss with desired amount of Tejano Red Sauce. Transfer to cooler. Repeat boiling procedure with remaining crawfish. Serve with corn, sausage, and potatoes.

  3. *6 to 8 lb. unpeeled, large raw shrimp may be substituted. Boil 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.

  4. CRAWFISH CONNECTION: ORDER, CLEAN, BOIL Order direct from or, and figure on 2 lb. live crawfish per person. To purge crawfish of mud and debris, place them a 48-qt. cooler with a pourable spout. Add cold water and 2 cups salt. Gently stir crawfish; let stand 3 minutes. Open spout, tilt cooler, and rinse crawfish with a steady stream of cold water until water runs clear.

Recipe adapted from Smoke: New Firewood Cooking copyright by Tim Byres. Published by Rizzoli.