For you non-Southern Parents of out there, I am here to teach you about the best season of the year: CRAWFISH season!
While some of your faces might be puckering up, others (hopefully) are intrigued. If you haven’t already figured out, we LOVE food in the South. For this yankee, learning the art of actually peeling crawfish was one thing, but appreciating the delicious taste they offer was not hard at all. The photo above was taken years ago at a crawfish boil I attended during the Grove Bowl on campus. It's a delicious mess, totally worth it!
So why am I writing an article about these crazy mud bugs? Two reasons: 1. When your kid starts talking about going to Crawfish boils, you probably want to know what exactly that is. 2. Upon your next trip to Oxford this spring, you’ll be better versed and ready to see what the hype is all about.
Here’s the lowdown:
A crawfish is like little a mini lobster - but much less fancy!
Crawfish season usually starts in January, peaks in late April/Early May and dies off by mid to late June. Why some many variances?
The weird weather in the South plays a huge roll in these sweet crustations' breeding and growing cycle. So, the more mild winter, the earlier they come. The more erratic the weather, the unpredictableness of size will be. If we have a HOT spring, those little guys will be gone deep back into their mud baths to cool off. So, in an ideal world, we want a mild winter and a slow spring and summer that holds the crawfish off to maximize their availabilty and size.
As the season progresses, the crawfish get bigger and bigger.
It’s a real thing to “suck the head”. Which really means, getting all the spice out. (But you don’t have to!)
A tail CAN be straight (some people say that means it was a bad crawfish, but a straight tail can still be eaten!).
A traditional boil is SPICY and includes corn, potatoes and sausage. You can get fancy and add mushrooms, artichokes, brussels sprouts or your own favorite boiled veggie.
If you attempt to put on a boil yourself, consult a professional before. There are a few things you’ll want to learn about like: purging, seasoning, butter, temperature, sitting time and the proper equipment needed.
Crawfish are typically sold by the pound or the sack.
DO NOT EAT FROZEN CRAWFISH. EVER. EVER. EVER. Repeat. It’s nasty and bitter and like eating paper. Do not fall for this trick in the grocery stores!
We are blessed in Oxford with many places to get fresh crawfish in or out of a restaurant. Just know that they are only available in the aforementioned months and usually only on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday and Sundays (or until each place has sold out.)
Crawfish boils are so much fun and a great main event/food for your next gathering. Here are a few Oxford restaurants you can find crawfish at on certain days of the week (be smart, call ahead to make sure they still have some available):
These are trailers that boil crawfish at a certain location and allow you to drive up and haul off what you want (live or cooked). They also can cater your event, large or small, onsite or delivery, with the whole set up (crawfish tables, trashcans and more!).
Cajun Crawfish: (a personal fav!) located on the west side of town on Jackson Avenue at the Chevron parking lot. Mr. Derek KNOWS his stuff (and he’s an Oxford original!)
Rebel Boilers: Located at the intersection of Highway 6 and South Lamar in the Texaco Parking lot. Not too shabby, either. We believe they also provide The Library with their crawfish)
The Landshark Crawfish: If you like SUPER spicy these are your guys. Located behind The Mustard Seed on Jackson Avenue.
In addition to the above, Taylor Grocery Catering also provides catered crawfish!
We hope you get to enjoy some Crawfish on your next trip to Oxford!