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  • The Chopping Blog

How to Throw a Crawfish Boil in Chicago

Posted by Jennifer on May 27, 2015

I have never been to a crawfish boil, nor had I ever even tasted a crawfish until my recent Crawfish Boil class at The Chopping Block. I had no idea what I was getting into (in a good way.)

First off, when we went to wash our hands, we could only use one sink because the other one was full of ice and live crawfish!


Crawfish, or crawdaddies as we call them around here, are essentially fresh water crustaceans, resembling small lobsters. Now lobster I can handle, considering New England Lobster Party is still my all time favorite cooking class at The Chopping Block.

Before we began our boil, we learned how to shuck oysters to be deep fried and served with a homemade remoulade. This was much easier than I thought, and a nice snack before we took on the boil.

To begin the boil, we chopped potatoes, corn, andouille sausage, lemon, garlic, and button mushrooms. We than seasoned the water with cayenne pepper, salt, and tabasco in order to cook the vegetables. Once those were tender, it was time to add in the sausage and crawdaddies. Then, all we had to do was cover the pot and make sure none of those little guys snuck out. I would say we left everything to boil for about 8 minutes, and could tell when the crawfish were done because their shells turn bright red, just like lobster.


Now here’s the fun part. After you drain the pot, you get to dump everything onto a huge table covered with newspaper. Everyone just sits around and picks at what they want. It’s so fun and social, it makes you feel like you’re at a big community dinner. Our chef taught us how to crack the crawfish to not only get the meat out of the tail, but suck out the inside of the head as well. I’m not going to lie. I passed on that part, but everyone else seemed really into it! The only thing missing for me was a ‘crawfish bib’ because I’m here to tell you it’s a roll your sleeves up and dig in type of party.


We ended the evening by flambéing our own bananas foster. My mouth is watering just thinking about these delicious rum and brown sugar soaked bananas topped with vanilla ice cream. Everyone who wanted to was able to learn how to execute a ‘flambe’ which was exciting to watch, and not as hard as one may think!


That’s what I love about taking cooking classes. Foods and techniques that seemed so intimidating and unapproachable before become completely doable. What do you want to learn how to cook?

Topics: Classes

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