Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Peel the tails, suck the heads

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These crawfish are ready to come out. Note the lemons.

Hey, it is the season to be eatin, right? Just past Thanksgiving and quickly approaching Christmas, food is important.

It is around this time of year, as a boy and young adult, we would make excuses to go to the hunting camp and do some cookin and eatin. (Actually, we did it year-round.)

In addition to the hunting and fishing, food and the preparation of food, played a large part in the whole experience.

For the most part, what we cooked and ate came from the woods and waters right around the camp.

So, to start with, let's talk crawfish. (Substitute shrimp or lobster; same recipe.)

There are many ways to prepare crawfish.

Me, I want mine boiled and I will peel and eat the tails and suck the heads. That's where the good stuff is.

So just how do you boil a crawfish? Sounds like a stupid question, right? It isn't. You can mess up a crawfish boil quick as a sneeze.

You need a big pot, mine is 10-gallon.

You add water, (not from a rubber hose), your seasoning and I prefer, 1 and 1/2-bags of Louisiana Shrimp and Crab Boil or Gulf Coast boil, save the remainder.

Next, add three or four quartered lemons and two quartered onions.

Now some people like to boil potatoes and corn on the cob with their mudbugs. I don't. But if you do, just put them in first.

When your potatoes are within about 30-minutes of being done, add your crawfish and maybe a touch more shrimp boil and bring that water back to a rolling boil.

Now comes the important part. Once your crawfish are a bright, deep red, get them out and put them in some container you can seal.

An old ice chest works well and so will a Tupperware bin.

Put the crawfish in and sprinkle the rest of your dry boil on top and shake. Then, seal the lid and wait 30-minutes.

But here is another step in making sure you have good crawfish.

If you do as we did and catch them yourself, before cooking, purge them. Put them in bath of saltwater while still alive.

Then, after a bit, remove and wash in clean water. Any that do not have their tails tightly closed, throw out.

Here is a real cooking tip. If you have access to live lobster, small ones, do them exactly the same way.

Talk about good to eat. Just have plenty of drawn butter handy for tail dipping.

Something else we did on a regular basis was combine a fish fry with the crawfish boil. Plenty of fried fish, salad, fried potatoes and crawfish. It is all finger food and a great combination. But there is no reason you can't combine crawfish with just about any other dish.

Since wild hogs ran all over the swamp, we had a lot of pig roasts during the entire year.

The preferred size was a shoat of about 60-pounds. We would shoot one, boil it and "scrape" the hair off, season to beat the band and hang it on gambrels over a hardwood fire.

Then, we started calling people and telling them to come. No special occasion needed.

Sitting by a fire of pecan and hickory coals, guitars, fiddles and squeeze box going and fresh, hot to handle, cracklins within arm's reach. Can it get any better than that?

Unfortunately, we don't have the easy access to crawfish and wild hogs here.

But that doesn't mean you can't have a hog roast or a fish fry or maybe just a big pot of gumbo and a skillet or two of cornbread.

Mudbugs are expensive in the amount needed for a big boil but they can be ordered.

It's all good and this is the time of year for it.

Smoked deer hams with a side order of backstrap, aint bad.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com

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