Crawfish boils are one of the most famous, popular, and delicious traditions in Louisiana. A traditional crawfish boil includes a number of added ingredients such as small red potatoes, whole onions, whole garlic bulbs, and mini corn-on-the-cob, all thrown into the pot to cook alongside the mudbugs themselves. The result is an array of scrumptious side dishes that absorb the unique flavor and spices in the boiling water.
While the add-in ingredients mentioned above are among the most common used in Louisiana crawfish boils, there are numerous other unique and unusual options. Some of these may be considered “weird” or strange by some people–but that’s simply a matter of personal taste.
In fact, since crawfish boils have been happening in Louisiana for many generations, some people and families have developed their own unique traditions when it comes to the foods they include in a crawfish boil.
A Note About Boiling Bags Some of the ingredients we are going to mention are small or fragile–so if you want to try adding them to your crawfish boil, you’ll need to put them in a boiling bag. These mesh bags can be found easily online and at many supermarkets. We’ll let you know which ingredients should be cooked in a boiling bag!
If you’re one of those people who immediately thinks “yuck” when broccoli is mentioned, this cooking method is not likely to change your mind. But if you’re a fan, you may be pleasantly surprised at the intense flavor that the crawfish boil adds.
If you want to try it, cut the broccoli into spears and place in a boiling bag. Put it into the boil for the last 5–10 minutes, depending on if you want your broccoli crisp-tender or cooked all the way through.
Canned Green Beans
You read that right. The trick with this one is to poke several holes in both the top and bottom of a can of green beans and drain the liquid from the can.
Just pop it into the boil and the boiling liquid will fill the can–infusing the beans with spicy goodness.
This one may be a bit out there for some–but lots of folks swear by it. You’ll need to peel the pineapple and cut it into slices or chunks and place in a boiling bag. Pineapple is naturally both sweet and tangy, and the boiling spices add a truly unique flavor.
This technique is actually logical for many cooks and BBQ experts–since lots of rib recipes call for parboiling before smoking or grilling. Just add a whole rack (or cut it into a few sections) of pork spareribs at the beginning of the boil–then grill or smoke the ribs afterward and coat with your favorite sauce.
A perfect addition for fans of spicy foods. Use whole jalapenos–you can just toss them in or use a boiling bag if you prefer.
Some people may think it’s kind of gross putting raw chicken into a crawfish boil–but there’s really no problem since the boiling water will kill any bacteria.
If you’d like to give it a whirl, put the wings in a boiling bag before adding. Don’t forget to cook your wings all the way through!
Eating whole artichokes is messy and takes a lot of work for a small bite of food–which can also be said of crawfish themselves! You can drop them right into the boil or put them in a boiling bag.
We’re talking peeled, whole, hard-boiled eggs here. This one makes lots of sense, as many cooks in Louisiana add hard-boiled eggs to gumbos and fricassees. It’s best to put the eggs in a boiling bag before adding.
This one really isn’t all that unusual, as it’s already a common practice in some households. Most kids go wild for this, since they love hot dogs, and the boiling liquid really adds great flavor. You can toss the hot dogs right in or use a boiling bag.
Looking for a way to make brussels sprouts exciting? A crawfish boil will do just that. These little cousins of cabbages will fall apart if you just toss them in–so be sure to place them in a boiling bag.
Yes, you can do this with cabbage, too! It’s best to cut them in quarters and use a boiling bag–otherwise the leaves will come loose and get tangled in the crawfish.
Try using whole sweet potatoes instead of the usual red spuds. Just drop them right in and enjoy a sweet/spicy treat.
We hope this gives you some new and interesting ideas for add-ins at your next crawfish boil. We’d also love to hear from you about your favorite or unique ingredients to add when boiling crawfish–so feel free to let us know in the comments.
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