Crazy for Crawfish
We love, love, love crawfish season with heaping, steaming platters and the spicy corn and potatoes that come with it all. Our eyes are rolling back just picturing it. If you don’t know what we mean, here’s the deal:
Crawfish Season, and Seasoning
Those mudbugs can show up on Southeast Texas menus from November through July with warm, wet winters. Come around in spring and summer – from February through May – for your best chance at plump, juicy tales flavored to the max. Tex-Joy, made in Beaumont, is one local favorite spice blend cooks put in their boil. Local chefs and home cooks have their own blends and heat levels. It doesn’t have to be super hot, but Cajuns around here favor the spicy side.
If you’re new to all this, be bold and order up a batch. Your server or someone near you can offer some tips. You basically pinch off that tail and get to the meat inside. Sometimes the claws are big enough to crack and get some meat out. The biggest fans suck the juice out of the head. That’s not for everyone. But we just love it soooo much. You may want to tuck your napkin around your neck. It can get messy.
Wash your hands well afterward and don’t rub your eyes! Spicy hands can give them a burn. Don’t be alarmed that it’s typical to order two or more pounds for each person. After all, the shell gets left behind. Tip: If you’re still intimidated, scan your menu for crawfish you don’t have to peel. Etouffee and pistolettes are delicious options.
Where’s the crawfish?
Several area restaurants advertise when they are ready to boil, so make a call when you’re ready to indulge. Here’s a sample of some popular places likely to be boiling with the season allows:
Reel Cajun Seafood Restaurant & Bar – One of Port Arthur’s newest seafood restaurants serves photo-worthy heaps of crawfish and shrimp with award-winning chicken and sausage gumbo. There’s an outside dining area and you get to choose your spice level. It’s crawfish farm-to-table.
Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp – Live music and campy style makes this Tia Juanita’s a fun pick for flavor. Mexican and Cajun flair shows up on this expansive menu.
The Rodair Roadhouse – Peel while you listen to live music at this Cajun-style rustic restaurant with a house specialty: fried green tomatoes. We want some right now.
Judice’s 1927 – The Judice family brought a boudain recipe to Port Arthur in 1927. The family store sells burgers in Port Arthur. Now Judice’s 1927 serves Cajun recipes in an upscale Nederland setting. Look up to find a pirogue “chandelier” fashioned from a boat like old A.J. Judice steered.
The Boudain Hut – The Boudain Hut is an old shool neighborhood spot for crawfish, a game of pool and, of course, boudain balls to start it all off!
Larry’s French Market – In addition to a spread of fried and grilled seafood, several murals depicting Cajun life adorn the walls. Check this Groves classic for live music and maybe dance a little, too.
A Touch of Cajun – Crawfish is popular, and this Nederland eatery prides itself on plate lunches as well. Ask about barbecue. There is much “touch” in the flavoring.
Did we make you hungry? We’re just beginning. Follow #flavorsofPATX for all the seafood you can stand!