Gather some family and friends for a casual, well-loved tradition that leaves everyone full and messy. Crab legs and crawfish are a classic seafood boil combination, but you can also use lobster, clam, mussels, or shrimp, too.

Budget for about 1.5 to 2 pounds of crawfish, and about 1.5 pounds of crab legs, per person. This amount can be adjusted depending on if the group trends towards liking one seafood more than the other. Additionally, plan for roughly 1 corn cob and 1 potato per person.

You might have thought ahead and purchased crab legs and crawfish before the day of the seafood boil. The crab legs will keep in the freezer for up to a few months, and crawfish can be successfully kept fresh for several days with a few handy tricks.

Seafood boils require some specific equipment. You will need a jet cooker, which can also be used for a fish fry. Get a boil basket or skimmer for easy transfer from the pot to the table. Last, but not least, make sure to have a tried-and-true combination of spices, like Zatarain’s or Old Bay, for the boil mix.

So… What Now?

The crab legs and crawfish have been purchased, the stock pot is cleaned and ready. It’s time for a seafood boil!

Bring a stock pot full of water to boil, filled with squeezed lemon juice and seasonings/boil mix of your choice. Add potatoes and simmer for 12 minutes, then add corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. At this point, you can add the crab legs and crawfish to the pot. The crab legs should go in first, boiling for about 7 minutes. Then, add the crawfish for 3 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let the entire pot simmer for about 10 minutes so that everything is cooked through.

Crab Legs, check. Crawfish, check. Everything else…

Tips for tying the whole event together:

  • Potatoes and corn are the most traditional sides, but sides can be customized to the experience you want to provide.
  • Prepare for a mess! Put newspaper over all the tables and make sure there are an abundance of paper towels or napkins available for the guests. Encourage everyone who attends to dress for the occasion– wear clothes that can handle some mess.
  • Tableside offerings should include drawn butter, baguettes or some type of crusty bread, salt and pepper, and hot sauce.
  • As the boil progresses, the same pot gets used and spice keeps getting added, so the seafood will get hotter and hotter. Make sure to have some lemonade, wine, or beer!
  • Put husks and shells to one side of the table. At the end of the party, crumple up the newspaper, with everything inside, for a quick clean-up.
  • Order crab legs and crawfish for your next seafood boil, stock up on newspaper, and don’t forget to have fun. Seafood boils are a flexible and casual affair!

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