Crawfish make a great, engaging meal, but first-time eaters might feel intimidated by the peeling process. If you fall into this category, you’re not alone. These guys look like tiny lobsters, but they’re not necessarily eaten like lobsters. In reality, eating a crawfish is a lot easier than you might expect. If you’re heading to a boil this weekend, brush up on your technique with the following guide for how to eat a crawfish.

  1. Hold the crawfish on both sides of its tail, with your thumb on one side and the index finger on the other. Hold the body with your other hand.
  2. Use a twisting motion to separate the tail from the head. There should be a light snap. If you are truly all about crawfish, use this opportunity to suck the juice straight from the crustacean’s head. We don’t judge you either way.
  3. Using your thumbs, peel the crawfish shell away from the meat at the widest part of the tail, just where you separated it from the rest of the body. Peel off the first two or three rings of shell.
  4. Tug. Pinch the end of the tail and pull the meat from the shell. Discard the shell.
  5. Dip. Dip the meat in your favorite sauce and enjoy!

The process is simple, but it can be messy. To aid in cleanup, spread lots of newspaper on your table before digging in.