Crawfish Boil With Jimmy Kennedy

By Jimmy Kennedy, & Justin Brouillard
Cook Ambassadors

There are many great dishes from Louisiana featuring crawfish, such as étouffée, jambalaya, crawfish pie, pasta, stuffing and dressings and many others, but crawfish boils are much more than just cooking and eating a local delicacy. They are a full-on, time-honored tradition, a big part of Louisiana’s incredible food heritage and important social events around the South and especially in southern Louisiana.

I say this a lot but, of all the recipes, please feel free to improvise with this one. It seems like everyone has their own slightly different version of what constitutes the perfect boil, with most of the differences involving the timing of when to add certain ingredients. I’ve had the pleasure of attending and cooking many crawfish boils, and the one constant of all the versions is that they are all perfect.

It may seem daunting but it’s easy, lots of fun and very rewarding. While crawfish boils are typically for large crowds, you can do this for just you and the family while at home or camping. For planning purposes, you can figure 3 to 4 pounds of crawfish per person, but leftovers are delicious, too. Have fun and Go Cook Outside!

Ingredients (8 to 10 guests)

30 to 35 pounds live crawfish

4-pound bag of crawfish/crab/seafood boil seasoning

4 ounces of liquid crawfish boil, optional

6 to 8 lemons, halved

6 large onions, quartered but not peeled

6 or 7 heads of garlic, tops trimmed but not peeled

1 bunch of celery, coarsely chopped

5 or 6 pounds of small red potatoes

6 to 8 ears of corn, cut in half or smaller

3 or 4 pounds of sausage, cut into 2-inch to 3-inch pieces

1 pound whole mushrooms

cauliflower, asparagus, artichokes, pineapple, apples (optional)

2 sticks of butter

hot sauce


Fill a 40-quart pot with a strainer basket half-full with water and bring to a boil. Add the bag of seasoning, garlic, onions, celery and butter and squeeze in the lemons and add the squeezed halves. Stir well, cover and let boil for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Next, add the sausage, corn and potatoes and let cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the crawfish and stir. Let the pot boil for 2 ½ to 3 minutes and turn off the fire and stir again. Add the mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus, pineapple, apples or any other vegetables or fruit you like.

Now the crawfish needs to soak for around 30 minutes. Some people like to add ice at this point to keep the crawfish from overcooking, but if I do anything, I will add big chunks of pineapple that I’ve chilled to almost freezing. I feel it doesn’t dilute the boil as much and adds another treat to be eaten.

After the soak, use gloves to carefully remove the strainer basket from the pot and let it drain a little while holding it over the pot. Dump the crawfish down the length of a table covered in butcher paper, newspaper or a plastic tablecloth, and have friends and family line the table and dig in.

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