Crawfish Boil

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  • 10 pounds live crawfish
  • 2 oranges, cut into thick rounds
  • 2 lemons, cut into thick rounds
  • 1 garlic head, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably homemade
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 12 small new potatoes
  • 4 ears corn, cut in half
  • 1 pound small boiling onions
  • Salt, freshly-ground black pepper and cayenne to sprinkle over the crawfish and vegetables


  1. Rinse crawfish well. Put them into a large pot of water and let them sit for about 30 minutes (you can skip this soaking process if the crawfish are farm-raised and purged of mud). While the crawfish bathe, pour 4 to 5 gallons of water into a large stockpot. Add to it the oranges, lemons, garlic, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne and bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the spices 10 to 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, corn and onions. After the liquid returns to a boil, cook the vegetables for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain crawfish from their soaking bath, and ad them to the stockpot. After the liquid again returns to a boil, cook the crawfish for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let the crawfish and vegetables steep in the liquid for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid from the pot.
  3. Serve everything heaped on big platters, with plenty of newspapers on the side to soak up drippings from the peeling and eating, all done with the fingers. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and cayenne over the crawfish and vegetables as you eat, and, after you break off the tails, be sure to suck the fat from the crawfish heads.

Serves 4.