Any crawdad cooking experts out there?

Cliff

Well-Known Member
Wouldn't ice just make them go dormant but not dead?
I've read that 55 and below they go dormant but still alive.
It would be nice to find a way to transport them without having to cook them lakeside.
There's a reason why down south they cook 5 gallons of them for a feast. 80 is a drop in the bucket to them!
Still looking for good information on to clean or not, salt or not, etc
 

Skip

Active Member
I was raised eating crawfish in Louisiana and always boiled them alive. A decade or so ago I found out how to harvest and transport them legally in Utah. Twist the tails off then on the end of the tail twist the center fin and pull out the mud veins, then put them on ice immediately. Take um home and boil in crab boil with potatoes and corn. Can't beat them. Kevin how did you ever get out of Kentucky without liking crawfish.lol
 

WyoRado

Member
Not all crayfish are the same, there is native and non-native crawdads. The rusty is non native and according to wildlife officials more aggressive/damaging than the native version.
 

Cliff

Well-Known Member
I was raised eating crawfish in Louisiana and always boiled them alive. A decade or so ago I found out how to harvest and transport them legally in Utah. Twist the tails off then on the end of the tail twist the center fin and pull out the mud veins, then put them on ice immediately. Take um home and boil in crab boil with potatoes and corn. Can't beat them. Kevin how did you ever get out of Kentucky without liking crawfish.lol
So as "true" Southerner you say taking the tails off and the mud vein out will produce good quality fare OK I'm gonna try it as I'm a life long west coaster who knew nothing of eating the little buggers while growing up.
How do you avoid getting pinched while twisting the tails off? :) I would think they would take exception to that !!
 

KYKevin

Well-Known Member
You hold them or catch them behind the head, and you will get pinched by some, that's just part of it. Not a Crayfish expert, but I have caught a lot in my life, I just caught them for bait to catch fish. But Skip has probably caught and eaten a lot of them, being from Louisiana.
Skip
I all way's liked the Bluegill's better that I caught with them, better then I liked the Crayfish 😁.
 
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Havalina

Well-Known Member
I place mine in salt water for the trip home. It cleans them out and they are generally freshly dead by the time I get home. There is the letter of the law and the spirt of the law. In both Utah and Colorado, the dwr folks are really level headed. Most of them have biology degrees. If they are in salt water they are going to die, in a matter of about eight hours. I would take that one to the jury. There is one little twit at willard, who if he ever becomes a street cop, will be given a very quick attitude adjustment by his local neighborhood gangsters. Dignity and respect, everyone is human.
 

Not Yet You Bet

Well-Known Member
OK, but if we changed the law such that (It is illegal to put them back into any waters other than the waters where they were caught) rather than it is illegal to transport. Do you think we would be less successful in keeping them from spreading into other waters?

I have seen young children catching Crawdads and having them in a bucket. Then they take them home and rather than killing them they put them into other waters. I think that is a bigger problem, and children don't read the rules. Those people that illegally put them into other waters are hard to catch, and they will probably do it anyway. I would like to know how many tickets have been given for transporting live Crawdads. Have they caught anyone that was trying to transport crawdads to another water for the purpose of spreading them?

If it is not working and only penalizing the honest person taking them home to eat, lets change it.
 

Wet1

Well-Known Member
I've been told by the Utah DNR guy from that lake that they can't leave the lake alive.
Unfortunately due to the regs in Utah the only option you have is to twist the tails off and put them on ice in order to transport them away from the lake if you don't want to cook them on site.
 

ThunderJet

Member
I cook around 40 or 50 batches a year at the lakes, my grand kids love to catch, play and eat them. we often spend more time craw fishing than fishing. Strawberry is the best lake to catch a lot, Flaming Gorge is the best eating, they are large, very clean but not as easy to catch a lot. the best way to store them for a day or two is place them all into a onion bag and place on top of ice in the cooler. 2 days later they will all still be alive to cook. In Louisiana at the market the walk in fridge will be full of 35# bags of live crawfish. We have just twisted off the tails and kept them for days in the cooler before cooking. the flavor is still ok but they are very hard to peel, (not worth it to me)
There is an art to eating them and it starts with how they are cooked. most everyone overcooks them and makes them hard to peel. When perfectly cooked you twist off the tail leaving on the first tail rib attached to the body, lightly bite down on the meat while squeezing the end of the tail with thumb and finger and pull the tail meat into your mouth. with practice should take less than 5 seconds. Never should have to peel them to get to the meat.
I attached my recipe for cooking them. i learned from a master boiler in Louisiana
 

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Mildog

Well-Known Member
I have been catching and cooking CRAWFISH CRAWDADS MUDBUGS in Utah for over 50 years. Crap that means I'm older than I thought LOL. I started as a Kid. I attended the meeting when DWR changed the transport rules (before the change it was not illegal to take them home to cook and we did that all the time) I and others fought to keep it legal to transport alive for eating purposes but still make it illegal to put them in other water bodies. They explained that people could transport them freely and possibly move them and it would be difficult to catch or stop them, since you would not know the intent of the transport and could only do anything if you caught them when actually dumping them somewhere. They said they needed this as an enforcement tool by stopping live transport for any reason away from the lake where caught. They explained that although there are native species, the most aggressive and larger ones that are now most everywhere and non native are far more aggressive and take over the native species. If they were to get into the wrong water bodies can do more harm than good. They had a map of where they had spread and where they had not in the state of Utah. On the map they showed that they were not in Strawberry/ Soldier Creek yet. ( this was a long time ago, I cant remember exactly when the rule change was.)
I raised my hand and said they were mistaken and they WERE in Soldier Creek. They DWR personnel were not happy and said that was not good. They said they had no evidence that they were there. Someone had put them there almost for certain. I relayed this story. One day as I was launching on Soldier Creek, I saw a young boy with a crawdad in a glass jar. I asked him where he got that. He said down by the dock. Over the next few weeks my friend and I placed traps in several locations and even on the Strawberry side the only place we could catch any was near the Soldier Creek Ramp. It took a few years but now they are distributed all over both sides of the reservoir. In those early years, you could not find them on the Strawberry side. I do several Crawdad bashes every year and have for almost 30 years. I have done several local outdoor TV shows, newspaper articles over the years and have been doing the Crawdad cookouts and taught many people how to enjoy crawfishing in my previous life job for a very long time. We often camp and cook them at the lake ( there are lots of good lakes in Utah to Crayfish catch and cook) We have to do it at the lake if we want to do it legally and enjoy them whole and do the suck heads thing which I love to do. I have not found any good way to try to kill and cook them whole later safely and have good results. They meat turns to mush from my experience. If not cooking at the lake we devein them. Put the TAILS on lots of ice, then transport them home to cook. We clean and rinse them well before cooking the tails up with all of the spices and such, the taste and quality is excellent and they will keep for at least 24hrs on ice. You will still get twitches and muscle response from the tails when you do it this way. Never cook one that is dead before you would try to take the tail off, throw any dead ones away. The bummer is you only get to enjoy the tails this way, but they are very good when boiled up with all the spices. We also add sausage, onions, new potatoes and corn to the boil when doing tails or whole. We put it all together in the order of time it takes to cook each item. I will be doing a Crawdad bash soon and plan on at leas two or three this summer. I may have to see if I can find a video of the methods spices and techniques we have used with great results to post. On the transport live issue, a couple years back I had a cooler of ice with maybe a hundred live crawfish we had caught on the Strawberry side of the lake in some traps while we were fishing for Kokes. we had a group that was meeting up on the soldier creek side at a camp spot. later in the day. I figured I was not leaving the body of water where they were caught so I was driving over to meet up with everybody and catch some more. I was stopped at a surpirse mandatory DWR check/roadblock as I was leaving Strawberry and driving over to the Soldier Creek side. I showed them my Kokes and opened the cooler with the Crawfish and Ice and the officer said those are still alive. I explained I was very aware of the rules and I was going to the Soldier creek side to meet up with a group for a Cookout and since I was not leaving the same body of water where caught I was OK. He said I could write you a ticket because you are on the road leaving away from the lake. He said I can tell you are aware of the regulations and said he would not write me a ticket, but I want to watch you turn right to Soldier Creek and not left to SLC when you drive away. LOL So he let me go onward, but technically he could have written a ticket that I could have fought. He said being on the main road away from the lake was an issue. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT LEGAL TO TRANSPORT CRAWFISH ALIVE AGAIN, TO BE COOKED AT HOME, but still illegal to move them to another water body. Wayne if you have any pull, or know how we could petition for that rule change that would be great.
Mildog OutIMG_3895 (1) Crawdad buckets.jpgIMG_3948 (1) Crawdad pot and pan.jpgIMG_3961 (1) Crawdad boil trays.jpg
 
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Mildog

Well-Known Member
That's why you add the corn, potatoes and sausage. Definitely not going to View attachment 8691get full with bugs only.
I can get full of just the Mudbugs ! But I love the corn Potatoes, onions and sausage we add for sure !! After we fed about 16 people at the last crawdad bash we did last summer. We did over 3 5 gallon buckets full of whole Crawfish. I took PART of the leftover crawfish and the next morning I sat at the table and peeled the tails. I ended up with 2 1/2 pounds of cleaned peeled tail meet. I froze them in Vac bags and we make fettuccini, and or "lobster"/ Crawdad rolls with them, very yummy. When you have had a lot of practice and know the techniques you can peel them pretty fast. I took me just under and hour to get the 2.5 lbs of tail meat. I boil up the carcasses covered in water and make crawfish stock to use when cooking up Cajun or seafood dishes.
 

Mildog

Well-Known Member
I place mine in salt water for the trip home. It cleans them out and they are generally freshly dead by the time I get home. There is the letter of the law and the spirt of the law. In both Utah and Colorado, the dwr folks are really level headed. Most of them have biology degrees. If they are in salt water they are going to die, in a matter of about eight hours. I would take that one to the jury. There is one little twit at willard, who if he ever becomes a street cop, will be given a very quick attitude adjustment by his local neighborhood gangsters. Dignity and respect, everyone is human.
I don't think the putting in saltwater would qualify as them not being alive. I would think you could put them back in fresh water after while and they would still live. It would probably depend on how much salt in the water. Crawfish live in brackish water in some parts of the south. Also the cleaning them out by putting them in salt water is actually a myth, I had been told by a great old man I knew from the south that is how you clean them out. I have tried it a few times and did not get any results. Since then I have read several studies by university of Louisiana that it is a myth and does not work. Best way is to hold them in clean oxygenated water for a few days. Pretty hard to do. I think some commercial places do that before they ship them so they are clean.
 
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