What does crawfish taste like? If you have ever tasted crawfish, can you specifically describe the crawfish’s flavor? What if you haven’t had a chance to taste them? This article was born to help you!
Crawfish is a delicious type of seafood. It’s really popular worldwide, but some of you may not have had a chance to taste it before, or maybe allergic to seafood. Therefore, this post also provides you with the “mysterious” taste of crawfish and how to eat them properly!
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is Crawfish?
Crawfish (also called crayfish, crawdad, or mudbugs) are freshwater crustaceans that are very common around the world. You can find them everywhere – from swamps to lakes to rivers. They appear mostly in countries such as America, Madagascar and Mexico.
Although they mostly live in freshwater, crawfish are also considered seafood and can be found on the ocean floor all over the planet. Some species of crawfish can endure to live in saltwater environments like the oceans.
Crawfish usually walk with two front claws, out of their total of 10 legs. They have long and strong bodies with a defensive outer skeleton. They look pretty like small lobsters and are usually mistaken as lobsters for their same appearance. (1)
More than 90% of crawfish consumed in the U.S are mainly from Louisiana. Crawfish have a wide variety of life cycles, from two years for certain species to up to 20 years for others, such as the signal crayfish.
In culinary uses, crawfish is delicious shellfish seafood. They are prepared in a lot of ways, but they need to be boiled perfectly beforehand. You must first remove the tough outer shell of this crustacean first to consume the soft portions of crawfish.
What Do Crawfish Taste Like When They Are Boiled?
To bring out the best taste, texture, and nutrients of crawfish, the easiest way to deal with them is to boil or steam them. You can simply boil them with plain water and choose to season or not season them afterward.
The taste of crawfish can be a bit hard to describe. It is between the flavor of crab and shrimp, but it’s somehow firmer and meatier. Boiled crawfish taste bright, subtle, sweet, slightly salty with a hint of mineral flavor. It has a genuinely distinctive taste!
Besides just boiling, cooked crawfish are also served and seasoned with brown butter to make them more buttery and nutty. Moreover, some people like to boil or steam crawfish in broth or a flavored liquid. This will enhance the taste of your crawfish even more!
Different parts of crawfish can taste differently. You are able to eat the roe, shell, tails, legs, tomalley, and claws of the crawfish. There are thousands of crawfish types globally, but it’s challenging to tell which type is better when they are all boiled with plain water.
This delicious Cajun crawfish boil recipe is waiting for you to enhance the taste of your crawfish!
The Texture And Smell Of Boiled Crawfish
The texture of boiled crawfish meat is very distinctive in each part, including:
- The Claw: When you eat the meat in this part, you will feel a very pleasant and silky texture. If the crawfish are cooked perfectly by boiling or steaming, the claw meat can melt right on your tongue!
- The Tail: The tail part of the crawfish is very firm and chewy. It still keeps a consistent texture even after being cooked by many methods such as grilling, baking, searing, and boiling.
- The Roe: Crawfish’s roe contains tons of tiny balls that can give you an exploding sensation while eating it. It pops in your mouth so you may feel that it’s fun to eat the roe, with a very smooth texture.
- The Tomalley: This is the digestive part of crawfish. It includes a silky, creamy texture that you can use for many salad dressings and sauces. This particular part of crawfish can be eaten as it is or stirred into soups and sauces.
About the smell of boiled crawfish, they don’t actually have any specific smell to tell when they’re cooked, even the classic fishy or seafood smell.
The Best Method Ever To Boil Your Crawfish
The easiest way to cook crawfish is to boil it. This is also the perfect method to have the crawfish maintain its fresh taste and nutrients. Learn how to boil your crawfish with these easy steps!
One tip to get the best and healthiest crawfish boil is that the crawfish should still be alive right before you put them in the boiling pot. If you cook the dead crawfish in any method, they will end up being so smelly and fishy that it can even make you diarrhoea and get sick.
What You May Need:
- Crawfish (any type to your likings, but I would recommend red swamp crawfish)
- A large pot with a lid
- Spices or boil spice mix
- A container
- A spatula (optional)
- Premade spice mix (optional)
Step 1: Put the large pot on the stovetop. Pour the water into the pot until it reaches half of the pot. You can add a premade spice mix at this step.
Step 2: Light the stovetop and wait for the water to be boiled.
Step 3: Place all of the crawfish inside the pot while the water is boiling, then put a lid on top of the pot.
Step 4: Wait for about 3 to 4 minutes after putting the lid on. Check the crawfish regularly to see whether they have turned to a beautiful red-orange color.
Step 5: It’s time for seasoning! These seasoning recipes may vary based on the local recipes or to your likings. I usually use salt, garlic, lemon, and pepper. Or you can also purchase some premade boil spice mix at the spice store or on Amazon.
Step 6: Sprinkle some spices on a container first, then take the boiled crawfish out and put them on the “seasoned” container. Then, add another layer of spices on top.
Step 7: You can use a spatula to mix the crawfish with spice, or if the container can be covered with something, put it on and shake them all together to get a nicely seasoned crawfish.
When you are done mixing or shaking, leave them there for about 15 minutes before serving, so that the flavors can have some time to get inside the crawfish.
It’s a piece of cake, right? Now if you are going to eat crawfish for the first time, you may need some detailed instruction on how to eat your crawfish the right way! So read the next section for more!
Still confused? These guys will show you how to boil crawfish correctly!
The Way To Eat Crawfish Properly
If you’re about to have some boiled crawfish for the first time, you may not know where to begin and tend to mess up everything! Don’t worry, I’m here to help! The most precise and easiest way for you to eat these crustaceans!
Step 1: First, twist or pull off the crawfish’s head. If you don’t really want to eat the head part, you can toss it away. But the juicy yellow liquid inside the head is creamy and delectable, so you can try it to see whether you like it or not.
Step 2: Carefully peel the shell off the tail by gently holding the tail and peeling along its edge to expose all the meat. It’s perfect to not leave any meat inside the shell.
Step 3: Pull out the meat and enjoy! If you’re lucky enough, you can get all the meat inside just at one take! You should prepare some dipping sauces to serve with a crawfish boil.
If the crawfish’s claws are big enough, you can eat the meat inside by crushing the shell with your own teeth or some heavy culinary equipment.
Learn how to eat crawfish perfectly using your hands!
Crawfish And Lobsters: What’s The Difference?
Many people may mistake crawfish and lobster since they have similar appearance, taste and cooking methods also. However, you can tell them apart by some distinct features. Let’s find out what they are!
|Size||Much smaller than lobster (3-6 inches)||Bigger than crawfish (20-25 inches)|
|Living territories||Mostly in freshwater||In saltwater (oceans)|
|Taste||Tastier, stronger, meatier than lobster||Light seafood flavor, milder than crawfish|
|Usual preparation||Cooked whole. Seasoned with Cajun mixed spice.||The tail part is preferred to boil. Covered with butter.|
- Size: Crawfish are sometimes called small or baby lobsters, since they are apparently smaller than lobsters. The average size of crawfish ranges from 3 to 6 inches, while the mature lobster can reach up to 25 inches in size.
- Living territories: Crawfish usually live in freshwater, only a few species of them can survive in saltwater environments; while lobsters live mostly in the oceans.
- Taste: Their tastes are hard to differentiate when they are all boiled in plain water, with savory and light seafood flavor. Crawfish are somehow tastier, stronger and meatier than lobster.
- Usual preparation: Crawfish are usually cooked whole and seasoned with Cajun mixed spice for crawfish boil; while lobster tails are often boiled and covered with butter to make an aromatic and buttery flavor.
And those are some of the significant differences between crawfish and lobsters. You can notice these points to differentiate them two and use them wisely in culinary purposes.
Incredible Health Benefits Of Crawfish
Crawfish are definitely healthy crustaceans that are packed with tons of nutrients including vitamins and minerals. They are overall a perfect source of protein, iron, selenium, and vitamin B. Some of the outstanding health advantages of crawfish are listed below!
- Crawfish consist of a low-calorie content. This makes them healthy seafood that can help you in the process of losing weight. Add them to your dietary menu and you may be surprised by what they can provide you!
- Crawfish are not only low in fat but also low in unhealthy fats, such as trans and saturated fats. One more reason for you to have them as a dietary meal!
- Crawfish contain such a fantastic protein quality! Protein is an important mineral to your health. They help you maintain the health of skin, hair, and nails. A specific serving of crawfish can have 14 grams of protein.
However, eating too much crawfish boil can cause you to absorb excessive sodium, which is not good for your health. So you should only consume them at a moderate portion size! (3)
Some Spectacular Varieties Of Crawfish
As I mentioned, there are a lot of crawfish types in the world, but there are some common types that stand out for crawfish. Let’s see how different they are!
|Type Of Crawfish||Appearance||Average Size|
|Red swamp crawfish (Louisiana crawfish)||Long claws and heads, signature dark red||2.2 - 4.7 inches|
|White river crawfish||Rich crimson red color, a dark V-shape line on the abdomen, dark spots||2.5 - 4 inches|
|Signal crawfish||Brown-blue color, white space at the chelae, smooth and protective shell and claws||2.4 - 3.5 inches|
|Rusty crawfish||Round, rust-tinted patch on carapace, black-tipped claws||1.7 inches|
|Devil crawfish (Thunder crawfish)||Blue-green color, dark orange lines at the tail, few red spots on the head||3 - 4.5 inches|
Red Swamp Crawfish
Red swamp crawfish are known as Louisiana crawfish since they are mostly found in the Louisiana region. They have long claws and heads, with a signature dark red. They can reach up to 4.7 inches in length.
Red swamp crawfish are usually seasoned with cayenne pepper, garlic, lemon, bay leaf and boiled in a large pot. They are often served with corn on the cob and potato. This dish takes place at many parties and dinners in Europe, Canada, America, Cambodia, China, etc.
White River Crawfish
White River crawfish can be found in Southeastern Missouri and along the Mississippi River. They consist of a rich crimson red color with a dark V-shape line right on the abdomen. They also have some dark spots all over the carapace.
This type of crawfish is a bit smaller than the red swamp crawfish with an average length of 2.5 – 4 inches. (2) Their appearance also resembles red swamp crawfish, without an areola at the back.
Signal crawfish is native to Washington. They are also the only species existing there. Adult signal crawfish have a somewhat brown-blue color. This type also includes a white space at the chelae – the claw’s connection.
The shell and claws of signal crawfish are very smooth and protective. The largest signal crawfish can be 3.5 inches long. They are usually boiled or steamed in culinary uses, and their meat tastes delicate and sweet, with a firm, meaty, and juicy texture.
Rusty crawfish is also a common type of crawfish that are mostly found in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They can be identified by the round, rust-tinted patch on each side of the carapace, right before the tail. They typically have black-tipped claws as well.
Rusty crawfish are professionally caught for human utilization and may be used as a feeding source for bigger game species. The mature rusty crawfish usually reaches 1.7 inches long, which is quite small.
Devil Crawfish (Thunder Crawfish)
You can find devil crawfish, or also called thunder crawfish, mostly in the Mississippi River, Canada, and central Atlantic states. They have an overall blue-green color and some dark orange lines at the tail. There are also a few red spots on their head.
Devil crawfish can reach up to 4.5 inches in length, which is a quite large size. They also look pretty like miniature lobsters!
I think you’ve made your decision for tonight’s meal after reading all of the fascinating details about crawfish! However, it might not be everything that you’re looking for. Are there still some concerns? So, welcome to the crawfish-related questions and answers section!
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Crayfish – Wikipedia.
- Missouri Department of Conservation. 2021. White River Crawfish.
- Houstonmethodist.org. 2021. Crawfish Boils: Healthy or Unhealthy?.