Cracking Crawfish at Your Next Seafood Boil

If you’re a Houston crawfish rookie, don’t be too intimidated by its seemingly daunting shell. Especially for non-seafood eaters, attending a crawfish boil can leave you looking like a deer in the headlights. To avoid being the odd one out, familiarize yourself with this step-by-step guide—you’ll be cracking craws like a pro in no time.

The Anatomy of the Crawfish

Similar to lobster, the majority of crawfish meat is in its tail. However, you won’t want to ignore the head either, which is rich with sweet and briny chow—often the best part of a seafood crawfish boil. After separating the head and tail, give its juices a thorough sip and don’t be shy.

Step 1 – Twist and Pull

Rock the tail off the crawfish by gently twisting and pulling until they separate.

Step 2 – Pinch and Suck

Next, pinch the underside of the crawfish tail, which is closest to the tail fin. Much like a Ring Pop, you’ll want to press up, and with the other hand pull the meat out the other end. Take it slow—you’ll be more likely to pull the meat out smoothly along with the vein without having to peel off any shell.

Step 3 – Crush Away

Nothing is more adventurous than taking the lead on a crawfish head. Simply crush it between your fingers and suck out leftover boil juices like a shot glass.

Crawfish Beverage Pairings

The cherry on top of a delectable seafood boil is the drinks that go with it. If you’re chewing on crawfish, pair your meal with the following refreshments.


For a refreshing, cold, and acidic partner to your crawfish delight, you can never go wrong with a beer. A classic pilsner or lager makes for a suitable crawfish companion, although you could opt for a fruit-driven sour beer as well.


For wine connoisseurs, something aromatic can balance the sweetness of boiled crawfish.

The Do’s of Crawfish

DO wear dark clothing; you never know when you’ll encounter a spill.
DO keep a bottle of water handy. Houston crawfish boils can be notoriously spicy, so you’ll want to keep your palette cool and fresh.
DO pinch, peel, eat, and repeat! Knowing how to break a crawfish apart will bless you with its juiciest bits. Always start at the top of the tail, peeling the shell off gently.
Then, pinch and pull the loose meat, sucking the juices out as you finish off the best parts.

The Don’ts of Crawfish

DON’T wear valuable watches or jewelry. A crawfish boil is hardly ever neat, and you won’t want its juices on your finery.
DON’T rub your eyes. If we haven’t yet mentioned spices—which we definitely have—you’ll regret catching an itch on your eye.


A signature Houston dish, crawfish boils are an experience you can’t miss out on when traveling Texas. A hit-or-miss experience for crawfish newbies, discovering the best way to devour this sumptuous seafood is half the fun.

For an at-home crawfish bash, order take-out at Crawfish Cafe, Houston’s best crawfish restaurant! With nine different preparations, our menu is always full of surprises.

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