A Guide: Crawfish Season in Houston
It's mudbug season across the South (which typically runs February through May). Living so close to the Gulf Coast, the Bayou City has no shortage of places to get your crawfish fix, both Cajun-influenced and Houston's unique Vietnamese-style. Houston has plenty of options for when you want to get your hands dirty.
But before you dig in, here are a few pointers for the crawdad newbies including a tutorial on the proper way to eat crawfish, the best local beer to compliment your meal, and a recipe from one of Houston’s finest restaurants, Brennan’s.
How To Eat
- Invite your family and friends. Crawfish boils are meant to be enjoyed in large groups. Typically because, when a bucket of food is dropped on a table in front of you, you don’t feel like a pig in a trough by yourself.
- Order crawfish. A LOT of crawfish. Depending on the size of your group, plan on ordering 2-3 pounds per person. Don’t panic. Most of the weight will be in the parts of the crawfish that are discarded.
- Remove the head from the tail. Let’s take a step back. Before you dig in, it is in your best interest to grab a bib. Once you’re properly protected, pinch the head between two fingers with one hand, and hold the tail with your other hand. Give the head a twist.
- Suck the head. When in Houston, do as the locals do. The head is the most flavorful part as it collects all of the spices! This part of the crawfish is considered a delicacy in the Southern United States.
- Peel the tail's shell. Pinch the shell that covers the tail with your fingers to crack. Remove the shell and discard.
- Deep clean. Hold the tail with one hand and peel back the outer layer of skin from the top of the crawfish with your other hand. If done correctly, this will remove the “undesirable” bits in one clean motion.
- Now stop and assess. Here’s where eating mudbugs is akin to a “choose your own ending book”. As you may be experiencing already, crawfish has a spicy kick. Now is the time to make a decision. Do you speed things up, or slow things down. Take a look at your crawfish boil and you’ll find that peppered in among the critters are sides of corn on the cob and red potatoes.
Speed up? Grab corn. Corn does an excellent job of soaking up spices, so if you’re feeling fiery then dig in.
Slow down? Grab potato. Potatoes help cool down the spices. Remember, this is not a marathon. Take your time and enjoy the company of your friends.
- Eat the tail meat. The tail meat is the most substantial part of the crawfish, and can be eaten right away or used to make other crawfish dishes.
- Extra Credit: Suck the claws. Most crawfish have small claws that can be cracked open and sucked for their meat and juices. Larger crawfish have large claws with pieces of meat that can be pulled out and eaten.
Local Craft Beer Pairings
Crawfish boils bring a certain level of spice to the table. Cool things down with a craft beer from one of Houston’s numerous breweries including Saint Arnold Brewing Co.,Southern Star Brewing Co., Karbach Brewing Co. No Label Brewing Co., Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., 8th Wonder Brewery and more. Most local mudbug eateries will have a substantial selection of local craft beers on tap. So quench your thirst with one of these home-grown brews and enjoy a leisure day.
Do it Yourself: Chef Danny Trace of Brennan’s
Restaurants Serving Crawfish In Houston
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Those looking for a taste of Cajun Country near downtown Houston will find the real thing at The Cajun Stop restaurant. Launched...
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