There are hundreds of recipes for boiling Louisiana crawfish, and thousands of variations.
We've used one "recipe" for years, for decades actually. We fine-tune it sometime depending on the taste buds of our guests, but it goes something like the following.
GUIDELINE WHEN PLANNING YOUR BOIL
An average person typically consumes about 3 pounds of boiled crawfish, served with corn and potatoes.
Some long-time crawfish eaters might consume as much as 5 pounds.
Most live crawfish come in mesh sack of about 33 pounds.
We split the bag into 2 equal batches, each about 15 pounds. If the batches are about the same size, it is easier to keep a uniform ratio of water-spices-crawfish. We also cook our corn and potatoes only in the first batch.
Another advantage of splitting the crawfish into two batches: we can control the spice or "heat" level in each to cater to different palates of different guests. One batch is "hot", the other not so much!
We use an average size boiling pot (40qts), which can boil about 14-15 pounds of crawfish and associated ingredients.
Make sure your propane tank is full, and that your propane burner has been safety-checked.
Step 1 – Rinse the crawfish
Pour the crawfish into a tub or ice chest … rinse twice or more with fresh water until the water becomes clear.
Step 2 – Season water, and bring to a boil
Add water to the pot, and season as follows:
Bring the water to a boil, this can take a little while. Pull up a chair, grab a cold one, and relax!
Step 3 – Cooking batch #1 ... the first 15 pounds
TIP The trick in this step is all about timing: The vegetables need to cook, but not so long that they start to disintegrate. Cut the potatoes, lemons, and corn into halves (if they are large).
When the water starts to boil, add the potatoes
Bring the water back to a boil, then boil 10 minutes
Add crawfish and corn, bring back to boil, and boil 5 minutes
Turn off the burner, and let the crawfish and contents rest for 15 minutes to soak up the spice
Lift the basket out of the water and let the water drain back into the pot. Dump the crawfish onto the table, or into an ice-chest to keep warm.
Step 4 – Cooking batch #2 ... the 2nd 15 pounds of crawfish
Re-season the water by adding these ingredients:
Bring to a boil, and add the crawfish
Bring to a boil again, then boil 5 minutes
Turn off fire, let crawfish sit for 15 minutes
Pour the hot boiled crawfish onto your tabletop, probably covered with newspaper, like this
Step 5: Enjoy the fruits of your labor ... Here's how to peel a boiled crawfish
Now it’s time to eat! Grab a crawfish with your left hand, and gently twist off the tail with your right hand.
Squeeze your thumb and forefinger at the sides of the tail, which breaks the shell. Gently pull apart the shell, and enjoy the meat!
Some add another step: sucking the head! It contains a wealth of taste and spice.