Crawfish boils are a big deal down here in Southern Louisiana. Residents of the Pelican State wait eagerly for the arrival of spring and crawfish season every year. If you have a yard, chances are you are hosting – or are considering hosting – a crawfish boil this year. And if you do not, you probably know someone who is and are looking forward to attending.
If you are attending a boil at someone’s house, there are some basic things to consider – we’ll call them crawfish boil etiquette – to help ensure that every boil is one to remember.
Crawfish Boil Do’s
- Do bring something to the table. Whether it is beer, ice, more beer, a side dish, or more beer, it is always proper to bring something to the crawfish boil that you can share with others.
- Do allow others to squeeze in around the table. Most crawfish boils are big gatherings. You should expect to squeeze in and get cozy.
- Do offer your seat to ladies and the elderly. If you are young and virile there is nothing wrong with standing to eat. It’s just plain respectful.
- Do police your own carcasses. And don’t judge others on the way they discard of theirs. Much like religion and politics, the way a person deals with their shells is their own business.
- Do wash your hands before eating. And afterwards use the outside hose before you use the sink inside.
- Do bring your own lawn chair. In fact, bring a few if you have them. No one owns 100 lawn chairs and you should never expect them to.
- Do let the chef know if you have dietary restrictions. If you don’t eat land animals and you didn’t say anything it is not the cook’s fault if there is sausage in the boil.
- Do be conscious of others. If the corn and potatoes are in limited supply make sure you leave some for others.
- Do Suck the Heads. Even if you only do it once, and just to say you did, it is totally worth it.
- Do help clean up. It takes a lot of work to put a crawfish boil together. It is simply good manners to help clean up, peel the leftovers, and pack away the tables.
Crawfish Boil Don’ts
- Don’t cherry-pick the crawfish. Everyone wants the big ones, but it is simply bad manners to stand over the pile for 45 minutes while others wait impatiently.
- Don’t only show up for the crawfish. Too many people show up right when the crawfish hit the table and are gone as soon as they’re done. Stick around. Have a beer. Make a few friends.
- Don’t bring your dog without asking permission first. Dogs will go crazy over the smell of boiled crawfish (who doesn’t?). People could have allergies, or they simply may not want Rover trying to steal their food.
- Don’t tell the cook how they should be cooking. If you want to be in charge of the boil, have your own. Otherwise you should sit back and enjoy.
- Don’t sit down. Unless you are under 10, over 60, or have a legitimate medical reason, save the table for people who do.
- Don’t complain about the spiciness. This is Louisiana. Get over it. This is especially true if you show up later to the boil. The later the batch, the spicier it will be.
- Don’t bring people who don’t enjoy crawfish. This should be a no-brainer. If someone doesn’t eat crawfish, they probably won’t enjoy the boil very much.
- Don’t forget to thank the host! Again, throwing a crawfish boil is not an easy job. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Be sure to thank the host – and the cook – for taking the time to provide you with good food and a good time.
Attending a crawfish boil is not just something to do in Southern Louisiana, it is a rite of passage for many. The truth is, half the fun of a boil is cooking and preparing. If you are looking to take that next step and host a crawfish boil of your own next season, we have everything you need to be your neighborhood crawfish king.