eat up >> cajun crawfish boil for papa sug

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My Cajun Grandpa (Papa Sug) passed away this last October and his birthday was on Saturday. He was born and raised in Louisiana and he also raised his own children there. Somehow we migrated to Arizona but  Papa Sug kept his accent intact, along with his favorite southern food. Our family decided that a good 'ol southern crawfish boil was the best way to celebrate our Papa.

As a kid I remember going to crawfish boils and I can honestly say that we haven't had one in probably 20 years? We ship the crawfish straight out of Louisiana so the cost can add up, which makes this event quite special.

They are shipped, still alive, from a farm in Louisiana (although if you live there you can catch them yourself).
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And those pincers work. Just ask my Uncle.
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Before we cook the crawfish we throw some corn, smoked sausage, mushrooms, red potatoes, and lemon in a giant pot full of water and Cajun seasonings. Let them soak for a while.
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Strain out the veggies and sausage but keep that giant pot of seasoned water around for the crawfish to take a bath in later. Throw the veggies and sausage on the table. And yes, that's newspaper instead of a table cloth. It's the Cajun way. Plus clean-up is much easier. Might I add that the last time we had this kind of shindig I remember Papa Sug having all the veggies in a mesh bag while they were soaking--smart man.
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Then the live crawfish take a dip in the hot tub. They were way excited about this part. Everyone loves hot tubs.
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After the hot tub comes the cool down in the seasoned water. These cooked bad boys will soak up all that flavor for a little bit.

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Then the feast begins!
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Now, their is a technique and a procedure to how you eat these guys.

1. Firmly grip the back with your left hand and the tail with your right.
2. Hold tight and twist the tail, then pull the tail off.
3. Peel the first "ring" of the shell off the tail.
4. Now grab the meat with your left, grab the very base (fin) with your right, gently pull. The meat should come out smoothly.
5. De-gunk.
6. Dip in either melted butter (my fave), mayo-ketchup-hot-sauce dip, or vinegar with salt and pepper.
7. Enjoy!

You may have heard a rumor that true Cajuns will eat all the insides of the chest cavity/head ( aka sucking the head). This is true. Apparently the flavor is amazing.

Calm down now. We are Cajuns who adapted to city we mainly eat the tails. Every now and then someone will get brave and go for it. But I will never be persuaded. Ever. Giant gag-reflex problem here.

But my dad got in on the action. And so did my Uncle. Good for them.
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It was a fun evening and I loved bringing a touch of my Papa Sug's homeland to the desert.

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  1. Very cool. I think it is a wonderful tradition to carry on in honor of your Papa Sug. Great captures too!

  2. So bummed I missed this. Rumor has it you have an interest in AltSummit? Lets talk.

  3. This was the sweetest tribute to your Papa! I learned a lot that day!! Your family is hilarious and it's obvious you all loved Papa Sug very much!!

  4. What a fun way to remember your grandpa! I've always wanted to try thus meal... But I couldn't eat the head either. Someone would have to pay me a lot of money to do it. :)

  5. What a fun way to remember your grandpa! I've always wanted to try thus meal... But I couldn't eat the head either. Someone would have to pay me a lot of money to do it. :)