Any crawdad cooking experts out there?

Mildog

Well-Known Member
I want to tell you all the best crawdad bait for your traps I found quite by accident. It was the first Lake Trout I caught since moving to Co, some 35 yrs ago. We were camping for the weekend with half the town of Ridgway, at Mira Amonte Lake . Having never eaten a lake trout I took it with us. After filleting I had the carcass of backbones and skin. On a whim I broke it down and put it in 2 traps I had. When I retrieved the traps I was amazed because they were both stuffed and actually hanging on the outside of the trap. I found I wasn't to keen for the oily strong flavor of lake trout! But its the best crawdad bait I have ever found! Makes sense because its fatty and oily and milks well in the water. Try it..
SADLY YOU CAN THROW FISH GUTS BACK IN LAKE IN UTAH BUT YOU CANT USE THEM AS BAIT... NO GAMEFISH PARTS ALLOWED AS BAIT !!
Crawfish get all over the entrails and guts, they love them but Illegal to bait a trap with them.
Mildog out
 

Mildog

Well-Known Member
I grew up putting them in saltwater, and I would argue that it does clean them out. Of course, I am simply going off of the the veins when we have cooked them before and after salt water. I use 1 cup of salt to one gallon of water. The are dead by the time, I get them home. There is a big difference between brackish water and salt water. The argument between if they were dead or not goes into the whole spirt of the law and letter of the law. If someone wanted to transplant them they would not bother with the salt water they would simply transport them. Of course, it also depends on when you were checked. Like I said, I would take that to a jury. I don’t know anyone, who twist the tails off of them alive before transporting them.
I have done it this way for many years since the transport rules were changed with great results. Rinse them well in fresh water to remove as much dirt and debris as possible, then devein them and take the tails off ONLY LIVE ONES (pitch any dead ones) and placed them on lots of crushed ice, then cover with more ice. The tails will keep this way for 24 hours,( maybe longer, I have not tried that) don't let them sit in water you want the tails covered in ice. I take the drain plug out of the cooler or put something to keep them up off the bottom so they don't sit in the water that melts from the ice. You must make sure they are surrounded by plenty of ice. You will still see muscle reaction and twitches in the tails when you are putting them in the pot to cook many hours later. They taste great, but I miss the sucking head thing when we do it that way.
As far as the salt purge, you can look it up, I have read studies that say it doesn't work at all, it may be that they were in water long enough that they just had enough time that they cleaned out. I have tried it a couple of times and waited as long as an hour before I gave up it never did anything. A fair amount of time alive in fresh oxygenated water with no food is supposed to be the best way to clean them out, I think commercial places may do that, but who has time for that. We often devein the whole ones right when we put them in the pot, several of us will gather and do it as fast as we can. It takes a while with 15 gallons of them but with 5 or 6 good helpers that know how to do it, it gets done and they are super clean that way.
I have tried to devein as a method to kill them and then transport home whole on ice to cook, NOT SATIFACTORY the meat turns to mush, I think the digestive juices leak out when deveined and breaks the meat down.

PS If a crawfish is dead you are never supposed to cook and eat it.....
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Man, you guys are sounding like microbiologists. That's easy for me to say cause I've never even had the oppurtunity to eat a mudbug. But i would. My early life found me in Maine eating lobsters so I'm in.
 

Mildog

Well-Known Member
That's the study I was referring to. I am also taking your word on anything you say !! Witha name like Boudreaux you must be a Mudbug expert!! LOL
Probably make a mean Gumbo or Etoufee' yummy!
 

Havalina

Well-Known Member
Actually if you read that report. They are only looking at a 10 minute salt water bath with 1.6 pounds of salt to 10 gallons of water. That is not a definitive study. You could spin that and say that one margarita after 10 minutes does not appear to make anyone sick, but then you don’t try eight margaritas in an hour, and see how the drinkers are doing in two hours. Your conclusion, margaritas don’t make people sick, which is simply not accurate.

I am fairly sure that that the soaking in saltwater is a carry over from blue crabs. There is an argument that you only need salt in non chlorinated water. Then I do not know any of my relatives who do a 10 minute saltwater bath. Everyone I know does a salt water Ice purge for several hours before cooking. I know my grandmother was always adamant on using an ice water slurry. She said it was the nice way to put them down before cooking.

Salt water will most certainly kill the crayfish, that is based of of osmotic pressure. I am sure that Wayne or another biologist will come by and correct me, but I remember way back in college something about 12 ppm salinity for aquatic animals and 36 ppm salinity for seawater. If the salinity of the outside water is greater than the creature. The animal dehydrates and dies, due to osmosatic pressure trying to achieve equilibrium.

I am not trying to carry the saltwater purist cross for cooking crayfish. I really don’t care, and it may not. It may be that due to just the length of time in the salt water they purge their contents the same as fresh water. I do disagree with the very limited scope of that experiment, when applied to the use of saltwater to purge crayfish. I would love to hear an opinion from a chef, who specializes in seafood and cooks for his or her living.

Now rolling back to the original dilemma of getting your crayfish home in Utah. You can purge your crayfish at the lake and kill them, or you can kill them and take them home. I prefer to kill mine by placing them in saltwater ice slurry for the drive home. My current drive home is about six hours from Lake Powell. My crayfish are either dead or incapacitated by the time I get home. Then I throw those tasty little guys in the boiling water with a bag of crawfish boil and corn and new potatoes. I might be wasting a couple of pounds of salt on my crawfish, but that is a first world problem, that I am happy to have.
 

Mildog

Well-Known Member
Transporting them home in Salted ice water bath would not qualify as not transporting them alive. IMHO and )(I would ask a DWR officer for a ruling on that to avoid a ticket) I have tried several times to kill and chill then transport home, results for us were not good, the meat did not hold up well. Maybe the method we killed them was a contributing factor. Poked them in the head with a nail. I was advised this would qualify for not transporting alive. I have tried the saltwater purge with very heavily salted water for over an hour maybe up to 2 hours, the water did not turn "black" as I had been told by an old gentlemen that was a cook from the south. He had told me it happens "quickly". Maybe most people only do it that long, so that's why the study was for only 10 minutes? The crawfish were still alive after all that time in cold salt water and after warming up and rinsing them before cooking, they appeared as if they would live a good life if they didn't take the plunge into the Hot Tub / pot. LOL. The longer you hold them in any water appears to be the key to "purging" them. When we are staying over the weekend we will keep them in fresh ice water overnight or longer at camp ( change water often)( Crawfish can drown if all the oxygen is depleted and they cant get to the surface for air, They can breath in and out of water, but will die if no oxygen in the water. We notice that the water gets very murky and the veins are cleaner just due to the long time in fresh water with nothing to eat. . So when we want to cook at home we de-vein and take tails off and ice them. They cook up and taste great if packed with lots of ice. Just don't get to suck out the goodies when done that way.
***You mention your drive is six hours from lake Powell. So you are you catching enough crawfish from Powell to take home and eat ?? Also, Spreading Muscles could be an issue if transporting in water whether salted or not. Muscles or veliger's could be attached to the Crawfish and I am not sure if salt water would kill muscles. In Europe they have been blame for spreading muscles as they can attach to the exoskeletons on them, another reason for not moving them to other water body as the Transport law is intended to help prevent that.

Mildog out

Actually if you read that report. They are only looking at a 10 minute salt water bath with 1.6 pounds of salt to 10 gallons of water. That is not a definitive study. You could spin that and say that one margarita after 10 minutes does not appear to make anyone sick, but then you don’t try eight margaritas in an hour, and see how the drinkers are doing in two hours. Your conclusion, margaritas don’t make people sick, which is simply not accurate.

I am fairly sure that that the soaking in saltwater is a carry over from blue crabs. There is an argument that you only need salt in non chlorinated water. Then I do not know any of my relatives who do a 10 minute saltwater bath. Everyone I know does a salt water Ice purge for several hours before cooking. I know my grandmother was always adamant on using an ice water slurry. She said it was the nice way to put them down before cooking.

Salt water will most certainly kill the crayfish, that is based of of osmotic pressure. I am sure that Wayne or another biologist will come by and correct me, but I remember way back in college something about 12 ppm salinity for aquatic animals and 36 ppm salinity for seawater. If the salinity of the outside water is greater than the creature. The animal dehydrates and dies, due to osmosatic pressure trying to achieve equilibrium.

I am not trying to carry the saltwater purist cross for cooking crayfish. I really don’t care, and it may not. It may be that due to just the length of time in the salt water they purge their contents the same as fresh water. I do disagree with the very limited scope of that experiment, when applied to the use of saltwater to purge crayfish. I would love to hear an opinion from a chef, who specializes in seafood and cooks for his or her living.

Now rolling back to the original dilemma of getting your crayfish home in Utah. You can purge your crayfish at the lake and kill them, or you can kill them and take them home. I prefer to kill mine by placing them in saltwater ice slurry for the drive home. My current drive home is about six hours from Lake Powell. My crayfish are either dead or incapacitated by the time I get home. Then I throw those tasty little guys in the boiling water with a bag of crawfish boil and corn and new potatoes. I might be wasting a couple of pounds of salt on my crawfish, but that is a first world problem, that I am happy to have.
 
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Boudreaux

Well-Known Member
Actually if you read that report. They are only looking at a 10 minute salt water bath with 1.6 pounds of salt to 10 gallons of water. That is not a definitive study. You could spin that and say that one margarita after 10 minutes does not appear to make anyone sick, but then you don’t try eight margaritas in an hour, and see how the drinkers are doing in two hours. Your conclusion, margaritas don’t make people sick, which is simply not accurate.

I am fairly sure that that the soaking in saltwater is a carry over from blue crabs. There is an argument that you only need salt in non chlorinated water. Then I do not know any of my relatives who do a 10 minute saltwater bath. Everyone I know does a salt water Ice purge for several hours before cooking. I know my grandmother was always adamant on using an ice water slurry. She said it was the nice way to put them down before cooking.

Salt water will most certainly kill the crayfish, that is based of of osmotic pressure. I am sure that Wayne or another biologist will come by and correct me, but I remember way back in college something about 12 ppm salinity for aquatic animals and 36 ppm salinity for seawater. If the salinity of the outside water is greater than the creature. The animal dehydrates and dies, due to osmosatic pressure trying to achieve equilibrium.

I am not trying to carry the saltwater purist cross for cooking crayfish. I really don’t care, and it may not. It may be that due to just the length of time in the salt water they purge their contents the same as fresh water. I do disagree with the very limited scope of that experiment, when applied to the use of saltwater to purge crayfish.
Good point! Also, it’s a single, unreplicated study. Most times I just hose them off to get the mud off and don’t even purge them (I used to eat dirt as a kid, too...) It’s probably time, as you say and as the article indicates, that is the best purger. Ice or ice water slurry probably helps decrease mortality during the purge time (overnight if I do it) by slowing down their metabolism, helping oxygen retention in the water and keeping them from overheating in Summer temperatures. Grandma is always right!
 

Mildog

Well-Known Member
Now you are talking ! The last Crawdads I had was in Feb in Austin Texas at the Shoal Creek Bar with some friends and of course a few cold beers.
They were tasty, smaller than the ones we get around here but they did a great job on the boil ! Yummy. I will be after them soon for a get together boil for sure !!
 

Havalina

Well-Known Member
@Mildog

I am a retired LEO, and that is why I referenced the letter of the law vs the spirt of the law. There is a golden rule of law enforcement if you want to make it to retirement. It is “don’t be a d#ck.” I am sure that the DWR has a few ahole wardens, but all of the ones that I have met have been extremely level headed. This is mainly because sportsmen follow the spirt of the law. I don’t catch more than my limit, not because it is illegal. I don’t want to be that guy who contributes to ruining a fishery. Secondly, next time you are out toss in 1 cup of salt to 1gallon of water. for three gallons of water along with a couple of gallons of crayfish. Then add 10 to 20 lbs of ice into the ice chest. The ice water slurry leaves the little sucker insensible fairly quick. If I was stopped at a check point, they would have a hard time proving that they were not dead. All LEO’s have a tremendous amount of discretion. One of the biggest contributing factors on enforcing the law is “how bad am I going to get beat up in court on this.” It is why, virtually no one gets a ticket for speeding 5 mph over the speed limit.

I am following the spirt of the law, and I understand the purpose of it. If I am ever ticketed, I will take it to a jury. The Warden had better have video of the crayfish having a party in the ice chest. If not he will have a very hard and long day on the stand. The crawfish are going one place and that is in a pot. I usually bring back a couple of gallons of them. I am not concerned about muscles at all as I use the water from the camp site for the ice chest. I do the same thing when I am at Bear Lake or the Flaming Gorge.

The whole concept of not eating any dead crawfish before they are boiled is a quality control issue. There is a real chance that my crawfish may just be incapacitated or they may be dead. Either way they are cooked before any spoilage can occur. When I was a kid we would use a sein net and drag it across the bottom of a tank i.e pond in southern Texas. We would catch enough to fill a couple of #5 wash tubs. Then my grandmother would let them sit over night and and the following morning add the salt and ice a few hours before cooking.

All of this talk about crawfish is making me home sick and nostalgic. I really miss the pre gentrified New Orleans.
 

Havalina

Well-Known Member
You can set up a trap in about 10 feet of water on any of the rocky points. Then just wait a couple of hours.
 

Mildog

Well-Known Member
@Mildog

I am a retired LEO, and that is why I referenced the letter of the law vs the spirt of the law. There is a golden rule of law enforcement if you want to make it to retirement. It is “don’t be a d#ck.” I am sure that the DWR has a few ahole wardens, but all of the ones that I have met have been extremely level headed. This is mainly because sportsmen follow the spirt of the law. I don’t catch more than my limit, not because it is illegal. I don’t want to be that guy who contributes to ruining a fishery. Secondly, next time you are out toss in 1 cup of salt to 1gallon of water. for three gallons of water along with a couple of gallons of crayfish. Then add 10 to 20 lbs of ice into the ice chest. The ice water slurry leaves the little sucker insensible fairly quick. If I was stopped at a check point, they would have a hard time proving that they were not dead. All LEO’s have a tremendous amount of discretion. One of the biggest contributing factors on enforcing the law is “how bad am I going to get beat up in court on this.” It is why, virtually no one gets a ticket for speeding 5 mph over the speed limit.

I am following the spirt of the law, and I understand the purpose of it. If I am ever ticketed, I will take it to a jury. The Warden had better have video of the crayfish having a party in the ice chest. If not he will have a very hard and long day on the stand. The crawfish are going one place and that is in a pot. I usually bring back a couple of gallons of them. I am not concerned about muscles at all as I use the water from the camp site for the ice chest. I do the same thing when I am at Bear Lake or the Flaming Gorge.

The whole concept of not eating any dead crawfish before they are boiled is a quality control issue. There is a real chance that my crawfish may just be incapacitated or they may be dead. Either way they are cooked before any spoilage can occur. When I was a kid we would use a sein net and drag it across the bottom of a tank i.e pond in southern Texas. We would catch enough to fill a couple of #5 wash tubs. Then my grandmother would let them sit over night and and the following morning add the salt and ice a few hours before cooking.

All of this talk about crawfish is making me home sick and nostalgic. I really miss the pre gentrified New Orleans.
Sadly good intentions by good people like you, don't cut it. The jerks of the Bucket Brigade moving fish and crayfish to where they think they ought to be has ruined it for the rest of us .Telling a fish cop "I am only taking them home to eat most likely won't cut it... oh and they are dying" I know a few of them good guys, I don't think they would give me the pass on that one.
I will try next time I am out which will be soon and perform a test on survivability after a salt water bath.
 
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