While there are definitely a few spots around town that serve excellent boiled crawfish (Bevi Seafood, Clesi's, Big Fisherman, Seither's, etc.), some of the best and most memorable boils are typically held in a friend’s and/or family's backyard. While important, the crawfish itself isn't necessarily a marker for a successful boil. There are other essentials that have to be taken into account, from sides like sausage and red potatoes to whether there's ice-cold beer in easy reach or a table large enough to accommodate every head-sucker and tail-pincher who attends. Most importantly, crawfish boils are highly social events, and while tasty, there's just so much missing if you're sucking down a few pounds all by yourself.
Hopefully, you're the kind of person everyone wants to invite to their crawfish boil, but just in case, there are quite a few things you can do to ensure your spot at the table.
- Bring beer. This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people think it's cool to come to a party without supplying, at the very least, your own libations. Also, though I shouldn't have to say it, bring good beer. A local brew like NOLA Blonde Ale or something from LA 31 would be a great addition to any boil.
- Chip in! Regardless of what point in the season the boil will be held, crawfish can get pretty expensive, especially if you're serving a large group of people. Last year, the average price was $2.50 per pound, and with a minimum of five pounds per person, the mudbugs alone will set your host back $250 for a party of 20 people!
- Support the Black & Gold. It's practically assumed that if you live in New Orleans, you must be a Saints fan, but even if you aren't, it's better to be safe than sorry!
- Offer to be a designated driver. Lots of people like to drink lots of beer when suckin' the heads, and we all know that drinking and driving is never the answer. Yeah, you'll have to keep your consumption to a bare minimum, but isn't all that tasty crawfish worth a little sacrifice? Not to mention, you'll be keeping friends and loved ones safe and/or out of jail.
- Bring dessert. After eating a bunch of spicy crawfish and sides, a dessert certainly wouldn't go amiss. Several pints of Quintin's Natural Ice Cream would hit the spot, or better yet, a gallon jug of New Orleans Original Daiquiris.
- Wash your hands. It doesn't matter if you washed your hands before you left the house, wash them again! Wouldn't you want all the other people touching that pile of food you’re eating from to wash their hands, too? It's just good manners.
- Make room. Don't hog your spot at the table! Always be willing to squeeze another person in next to you. After all, the more the merrier!
- Save some sides for others. Like making room for more, don't hoard all of the corn, sausage, mushrooms, or precious garlic. This is a shared experience, so do what you can to make everyone happy.
- Suck the heads! Be brave and suck away! If it's really not your thing, try at least one before moving on to the next bug.
- Stand up. Oftentimes, there aren't enough chairs for everyone. If you are able, save the few seats for those who really need them, like Maw Maw or Paw Paw.
- Keep your boiling tips to yourself. Unless the cook is asking for input or seems to be having a hard time and is surreptitiously seeking help, just keep your advice under your Saints hat. No one likes a backseat boiler.
- Hang out. It's plain rude to show up just to eat the crawfish and then disappear after you've had your fill. These are your friends and/or family! Take your time and enjoy being around the people who make your life complete.
- Help tidy up. Like any get-together, crawfish boils can be messy. Do your part to pitch in. Your efforts will be appreciated and remembered.
- Thank your host. This should be a given, but in case you missed etiquette class, thank your host—at least twice. Everyone who hosts a party takes great pleasure in knowing their guests enjoyed themselves.
- Throw your own crawfish boil. At the very least, you'll know you have an invite!