'Messy and hands-on': Grilled crawfish boil recipe to pull off a traditional summer affair

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For those who love the long-held tradition of crawfish boils, experts are offering tips to help pull off a true extravaganza.

Miami chef and restaurant owner, Cesar Zapata at Phuc Yea, Pho Mo and Arepitas Bar spoke with Fox News explaining how a good old-fashioned boil is more than just a combo of potato, corn, sausage and live crawfish.

“I love cooking crawfish boils because it’s an event and a way to gather with friends and family, and a fine excuse to throw back a few beers, catch up, and have fun — Big Easy style,” Zapata said.

Top Miami chef Cesar Zapata shares his recipe for grilled Viet-Cajun crawfish "boil." 
(Isaac Toups)

Zapata said he grills his boil to add a smokier, more complex flavor to the crawfish.

“This is a perfect recipe for a pool party or any outdoor gathering — it’s messy and hands-on, and sure to provide some lasting memories with family and friends,” he added. “Once your crawfish are tossed in Cajun garlic butter, dump them right on the table, it’s time to eat.”

Zapata reminds home chefs to line their table with newspaper, have empty buckets on the table for shells and a couple rolls of paper towels in each corner. 

Isaac Toups, chef and owner of Toups Meatery in New Orleans and author of award-winning book Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking, advised that all home crawfish cooks invest in a huge stainless steel stockpot. 

“Bayou Classic makes them in all sizes, and even has some with the burner. This recipe calls for cooking it outside on a propane burner. You can cook it inside on your stovetop, but you better be ok with coughing up spice for a few days,” he says. Before cooking your crawfish, Toups also cautions folks to remember to purge the crawfish to rinse off the grit. “Nothing worse than gritty crawfish.”

Grilled Viet-Cajun Crawfish “Boil”

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cool time: 20 minutes


-½ lb. butter (cut into large dices)

-6 garlic cloves (minced)

-2 kaffir lime leaves

-¼ cup Thai bird Chilis (chopped)

-2 tablespoons lemongrass (chopped, only the green part)

-2 tablespoons shallots (minced)

-3 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning

-4 limes cut into halves

-¼ cup fish sauce

-4 ears corn, cut into two-inch pieces

-3 lbs. fingerling potatoes (cut in halves) New potatoes work also

-4 lbs. jumbo crawfish

-4 links of andouille sausage (cut into one-inch pieces)

-Salt and pepper to taste



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