ETX Foodie Recipes

Crustacean Craze

Crustacean Craze

EAST TEXAS- When spring time rolls around in the Pineywoods, East Texans start craving crustaceans! Crawfish are deeply rooted in East Texas and Louisiana culture, dating all the way back to the native Americans and the early European settlers. Abundant in the swamps and marshes across the Deep South, crawfish were a favorite food of early residents. Centuries later, crawfish season is still exciting, with crawfish boils and backyard parties- a time-honored tradition. Crawfish, mudbugs, crawdads, crayfish… Call them what you will, but the prolific Cajun delicacy is once again on the menu throughout the region!

Late winter into early spring East Texas crawfish farmers harvest fat crustaceans, which generates a buzz with impatient fans who just can’t wait to partake with friends and plenty of cold beer. Some folks like to boil their own and invite their friends and family over for a Cajun feast. Others who aren’t so sure about boiling their own bugs are constantly on the look-out for a place that serves good crawfish with all the right fixings.

If you have never purchased a mesh sack full of crawfish and dunked them in boiling water, then served them to friends on a coke flat, perhaps you are wondering where you can find some hot and ready to eat mudbugs?

Crawdaddy’s Cajun Grill in Flint, Texas has crawdads on hand. Located at 18950 Hwy 155 South, Crawdaddy’s is serving up red, hot crawfish with corn, potatoes, and all the trimmings on their deck. And as if the red swamp crawfish weren’t reason enough to pay them a visit, you can also take in live entertainment on the deck! Be sure to bring your own beer though; Flint is dry. Crawdaddy’s is a great place to go with friends or take the whole family!

Crawdaddy’s is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00am to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Purple Pig Cafe in Flint is also serving crawfish on the weekends! Not everyone is a fan of crawfish, and if you are going to dinner with someone who doesn’t share your love of mudbugs, the Purple Pig Cafe has hickory smoked BBQ, seven days a week. You can also try their Native American inspired menu. The Native American Grill Menu supplements all of our favored barbecue items and includes grill items such as Fried Catfish, Hamburgers, Chicken Fried Ribeye, and much more.  You can even chow down on some of the best tamales in East Texas! The Purple Pig also has live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday which makes the Purple Pig a great place to grab some food and enjoy some good entertainment.

Another place you want to add to your Cajun dinner list is the Crawfish Stand in Big Sandy. From boiled crawfish to alligator sausages, the Crawfish Stand offers a large selection of products. You can also buy your mudbugs live for your own party at the Crawfish Stand! They are East Texas’ largest wholesaler and retailer of live crawfish. Go by the Crawfish Stand and get your fix, at 505 Hwy 155 S., in Big Sandy.

Get your crawdads straight off the farm in Hamshire, Texas! For the past 20 years South East Texas Crawfish Farm has produced some of the best crawfish in the area. Let South East Texas Crawfish Farm supply the crawfish for your next crawfish boil.

South East Texas Crawfish Farm is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Live crawfish should stay alive about four days if handled properly.  To ensure maximum life of the crustaceans:

  • Store at 38°F
  • Keep out of direct sunlight.
  • Do not drop sacks.
  • Always lay crawfish sacks on their sides, not upright.
  • Stack Crawfish bags only two deep.
  • Do not spray with chlorinated water.
  • If crawfish are kept cool, there should not be any need to mist the animals between deliveries.
  • Cooked crawfish should be kept under refrigeration.  To ensure maximum shelf life, the temperature should be as cold as possible…32°F is best.

Are you ready to eat some crawfish?! It is hard to imagine someone in East Texas that has never eaten crawfish, but we know a few folks who haven’t indulged in the mudbug culture. You might have a few questions if this is your first rodeo, but has the answers!

How do you eat a crawfish?

First, pinch the head with one hand and the tail with the other. Twist and wiggle, carefully removing the tail from the head. Then, set the head aside. Some folks might discard the head all together, but hold onto it.

Working on the tail, pinch all over to crack the shell and remove the shell. Hold the tail meat and pull back the flap of skin on top to de-vein. A seasoned crawdad consumer can break apart the crustacean and have the meat out in a matter of mere seconds.  Now eat that bad boy!

Now the head. Some say the head is the best part. You want to pull that off the bottom half by lifting the shell of the head, you’ll find “crawfish butter.” You can also suck on the other half of the head. It’s quite juicy.

Don’t forget the claws! For little ones, just suck on them like lobster legs. Some crawfish are huge enough to crack open the claws and retrieve the claw meat.

Want to try your hand at boiling crawfish?


1 (35-pound) sack live crawfish
1 (12-ounce) bottle  Hot Sauce (any brand)
1 to 2 (26-ounce) boxes of table salt
3 ounces Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil liquid concentrate (3/4 of a 4-ounce bottle)
3 ounces cayenne pepper
8 to 10 medium new potatoes, such as Red Bliss or Yukon gold
4 small yellow onions, cut in half

  • Find out if your crawfish have been purged. If they haven’t, soak in fresh water for 10 minutes. Some people use salt to purge their crawfish, others don’t.
  • While you’re waiting, fill an 80-quart pot (fitted with a strainer insert) halfway with water and bring to a boil over a large outdoor burner over high heat. Add hot sauce, salt, Zatarain’s, and cayenne pepper.
  • Add potatoes and onions to the pot. (No need to peel either.) Boil vegetables for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cover a table with newspapers, flattened cardboard boxes, or plastic trays for serving the crawfish. Add half the crawfish to the pot. After 5 minutes turn off the heat, cover, and let the crawfish steep to absorb the flavors for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and dump onto the table. Repeat with the rest of the crawfish (you can boil 2 to 3 batches of crawfish in the same water-seasoning mixture).
  • Eat plain or with dippin’ sauces like cocktail sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup, or Tabasco.

Now, invite all of your friends and enjoy!

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