Crayfish are just as easy as lobster to cook and serve. You’ll need to clean, cook, and peel them before eating. I’ve outlined everything you need to do below.
- Crab Boil spices (I use Old Bay)
- Cold water
Over your propane camping stove, bring a large pot of cold water to a full boil. While the water is heating (it can take a while) you’ll need to clean the crayfish.
Pour at least three gallons of clean, cold water into the crayfish-filled ice chest and let it drain out. Be sure that the ice chest can drain easily and in an area that won’t put mud in your camp! This water will rinse off any mud or debris on the crayfish.
If any have died, throw them in the garbage and do not cook them! (Dead crayfish smell and will attract animals, so don’t toss them into the forest.)
Once the water is boiling, season it with Crab Boil spices. You can also add garlic, peppers, lemon, etc to taste, but I find these just get in the way if you have to cook more than one pot of crayfish. Add the rinsed crayfish to the boiling water.
When the crayfish turn bright red, remove from the boiling water.
It’s far easier to peel the crayfish when they are still hot. To peel them, grasp the body section in one hand and the tail in your other hand. Sharply break the body by bending the crayfish backwards. Discard the body section. (There is some meat in the claws and body, but it’s a lot of work to get it out; I don’t bother.)
With the underside of the tail facing up, use your thumbs to spread the shell. You’ll see what appear to be tiny, clear legs on the underside of the tail and then a ridge. Put your thumbs on this ridge and push out. The tail will crack in the center, on the underside. By fully cracking this, you can remove the tail meat. The last thing you have to do is remove the mud vein from the tail with a thumb nail or small knife.
Serve with melted butter.
Or put into pasta.
Or with eggs.
Or substitute for shrimp.
Or straight out of the bowl.