How to Plan a Crawfish Boil

For the past two years we have had a crawfish boil for my son, Eli’s, birthday.   It’s a great way to get all of our friends and family together and make Eli’s celebration even more special than just your run-of-the-mill birthday party.  Not to mention, crawfish are a must here in the south and my husband LOVES them!  Eli, not so much yet, but don’t worry…we also served his favorite – fried fish!

As a wedding and event planner, I couldn’t help but go all out!  It was so much fun!!  So, if you are interested in planning your own crawfish boil, I thought I would share a few tips and ideas with you.

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First things first – The guest list and invitations!   I always prefer an actual paper invitation as opposed to an evite, because they are more personal, in my opinion.  So, I did a little searching on Etsy to find inspiration for this year’s invitation.  If your budget is limited you could definitely create your own.  As far as the guest list – we chose to invite close friends and family only, as crawfish do tend to get expensive.  *Note – you may want to price crawfish (boiled and ready-to-boil) in your area before deciding on the final guest list.

Menu – Quite a few children were invited to the party, so we decided to fry fish along with boiling crawfish.  Remember, crawfish is a shellfish so some of your guests could be allergic, not to mention, they are an acquired taste so more than one menu option is a good idea.  After deciding on the main dishes, go ahead and factor in side dishes, drinks (crawfish go very well with beer if you want to serve alcohol), dips (some people like to dip their crawfish in cocktail sauce, for instance, but my husband’s family makes an awesome spicy dip.  I will share the recipe later.), and plates, cups, etc.  Also, will you be serving a cake or other sweet?  Since this was Eli’s birthday, we had to get him a cake – red velvet with cream cheese icing, to be exact.  All of the final details tend to add up, so refer to my next tip for a checklist.

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Go shopping!  Once you’ve set aside a budget for your event you should go shopping and begin stocking up on items for the event.  Below is a checklist of items that you may need or want to purchase for your crawfish boil.  We boiled our own crawfish, so if you are planning to purchase yours already boiled you will leave off some of the items I’ve included:

  • Plates (we purchased some cute ones with a crawfish design)
  • Cake plates
  • Cups (check these out!  They also make great favors!)
  • Napkins or Paper towels (crawfish tend to be extremely messy, so we purchased paper towel rolls to set on each table)
  • Plastic utensils
  • Drinks (coke, diet coke, unsweet tea, sweet tea, water, and juice boxes for the kids, also,beer if you so choose)
  • Red potatoes and corn (these are ALWAYS boiled with crawfish)
  • Fish and fish fry
  • French fries
  • Vegetable oil for frying fish and french fries
  • Crawfish boil liquid and powder seasoning
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Ingredients for the “Love Family Special Sauce” (ketchup, mayo, hot sauce, Tony Chachere’s seasoning)
  • Ingredients for any other side dishes you choose to offer (we also had coleslaw)
  • Plastic or paper tablecloths (something that you can just toss afterwards is best for a crawfish boil)
  • Trays, large bowls, and/or buckets for the crawfish and crawfish tails (You can easily purchase these at a Dollar Store to save money)
  • Trash bags (it is advisable not to throw crawfish tails into your personal trash cans as the stench will be excruciatingly painful)
  • Decorative items (to be discussed in my next tip)
  • Ice for drinks
  • Wet wipes (for cleaning crawfish grime and seasoning off of hands)

Plan your decor – Peruse your home and see what you already have that could come in handy.  For instance, I had this old boat-shaped shelf that I purchased a while back for a wedding and it fit perfectly with my crawfish boil theme.  I also had an old wood slab that was perfect as a cake plateau.  However, I did want and need to purchase a few more items to add to the ambiance.  Below are a few pictures of my setup!  Maybe you can get a bit of inspiration from them.

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Don’t forget the details!   Instead of using a typical guest book, for instance, I purchased this book and had each guest sign it as a keepsake for Eli.   Another thing to remember is if guests will be bringing gifts, have someone keep note of who purchased each gift so you can write thank-you notes after the event.

Paying attention to the tiny details is what will set your crawfish boil apart from the rest!  Do you have any great tips to share??

Erin Sharplin Love

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