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Crawfish season

So, It's almost crafwish boil season, and I was wondering if anyone knows where to get the best price/lb on live crawfish in the Austin area. I've searched past posts, but there wasnt alot of info on buying the buggers live. I hear Quality Seafood usually has reasonable prices but I'm sure there are some other places I haven't heard of.

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  1. If you are a true coonass (I'm from Baton Rouge), Quality Seafood is the only one you will consider based on size and number of dead in the sack.
    Other options are:
    HEB-they are getting better
    MT Market-hit or miss, but sometimes they let you fill your own bag so can go for selects
    Fiesta-haven't tried in years, but they have them when others don't; small I'm told

    2 Replies
    1. re: amykragan

      I went to a crawfish boil recently that had initially picked up a 5lb sack from Fiesta, got them home and well over half were dead. Pretty bad. They were however able to take the dead ones back and exchange (with a little coaxing) them for blue point crabs, so it all worked out just fine.

      1. re: amykragan

        You may have to purge the ones from Fiesta, and they don't advertise them as unpurged.

      2. Shoal Creek is doing a special on Fri and Sat nights, however my true NOLA (New Orleans,LA) friends said to wait 'til later in the season to go.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gulch

          Gulch, time of season is a personal preference. I grew up on crawfish (in Lafayette, and later in New Orleans) and came to appreciate the critters at all points of the season.

          I have to agree that they have the least flavor in late Feb, early March, but that's often the best time to introduce someone who hasn't tried crawfish before. The distinctive flavor is easier to appreciate for a first-timer when it's not so strong.

          As we get into March and April, the crawfish get bigger and tastier. My favorite time is right after Easter. I know, that changes every year, but my Catholic family would have a big crawfish boil the first weekend after Easter every year, so it may not have as much to do with flavor as memories :)

          By May, the shells get much harder, but you'll often find crawfish with huge deposits of fat in their heads. That's the best time to suck the heads and the best time to make etouffee.

          When I was little, my grandparents would make the grandkids peel all the blue crabs while the adults ate crawfish. We couldn't have any crawfish until we had finished peeling all the crabs. I still can't stand to eat blue crabs ;)

        2. Hong Kong Market usually has good supplies of crawfish and blue crabs.

          1. Quality Seafood is definitely the way to go.
            My second choice is Sambet's - www.sambets.com

            1. I've bought from both Fiesta and Quality Seafood.

              Quality Seafood has much larger crawfish and significantly higher prices. There are also very few dead crawfish in their sacks.

              However, I usually buy from Fiesta. At the height of the season they will have sacks of medium and large crawfish so you can pay more or less for them. If you're not buying an entire sack you can see them load the crawfish into a smaller bag and see if there are a lot of dead crawfish or not.

              It's a matter of whether you're willing to pay $2.50+ a pound at Quality Seafood for quality or take your chances at Fiesta for $1.00 to $1.80 a pound.

              2 Replies
              1. re: The Tres Leches

                Correct - Fiesta's are half dead, but cheap, and Quality is pretty pricey. About 18 years, ago, there were some people named DuPree that had a seafood shop on Barton Springs where Romeo's is now. Does anyone remember that?

                Better than buying from Quality, find someone who is making a run and get a sack or three or four from them. I tried searching on craigslist for someone who is doing that and couldn't find anyone. But I did notice this:


                Apply Anytime:
                Crawfish Shack & Oyster Bar
                2013 Wells Branch Pkwy # 106
                Austin TX 78728

                1. re: rudeboy

                  Yup... When I don't want to make the trip, I'll usually go to Fiesta. They won't let you pick through the crawfish, but they don't usually have a problem with returns.

                  I just buy twice as much as I plan to eat, then return the half that's dead.

                  Quality has always had larger and healthier crawfish. If I'm having friends over and I don't want to make the trip, I just buy them there.

                  If I've planned ahead and am having a lot of people over, I'll drive to Beaumont. (http://www.texascrawfish.com/)

              2. On a related note, I am coming to town for SXSW event next weekend, will be staying downtown near convention center without a car. Any restaurants in that area (or reasonably close via cab) good for getting some of these tasty morsels, cooked of course?

                2 Replies
                1. re: CFByrne

                  Do not go to the Boiling Pot on 6th St, it's a ripoff with high prices and small servings.

                  You may check if Roux Restaurant also on 6th St is boiling crawfish. I know Shoal Creek Saloon on Lamar boils crawfish on Fridays and Saturdays.

                  1. re: CFByrne

                    Short cab ride, you could go to Alligator Grill on South Lamar. I love their patio.

                  2. Ok well I was jonesing for some crawfish and knew Shoal Creek was having a boil so we ventured there on Saturday night....................major disappointment. Maybe, hopefully they were having an off night, but the tails were sticking to the shells and they were not spicy at all. I understand they must appeal to the masses, but c'mon. We immediately went out and bought all necessary supplies to have our own crawfish boil.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: groovinpinky

                      where did you buy your crawfish?

                      1. re: amykragan

                        Haven't bought them yet, as we just got our supplies this weekend. I am thinking we are going to try quality seafood.........I will definitely post how it turns out. Can't wait!!

                      2. re: groovinpinky

                        I am in town for the weekend from Florida so I may give Shoal Creek a shot tonight. If the bugs are no good I guess I can always have some etoufee and gumbo. Or head back towards my hotel area (Conv Center) and try out Roux.

                        Or maybe I should just go right to Roux and go crazy, I see I could theoretically have 2 apps, gumbo and etoufee, and the a main course of Voodoo Jambalaya. This sort of sounds like my Dream Cajun Meal (if I can eat it all, but I DO have a fridge at hotel so who cares).


                        1. re: CFByrne

                          has anyone tried cypress grill? They are always advertising about the "best crawfish" in town. I have actually had good crawfish at Sam's Boat. They serve it pretty spicy...which is hard to find in restaurants.

                          1. re: chowinginaustin

                            I like Sam's boat the best but have tried them pretty much everywhere. Sam's Boat uses a shake on at the end which adds to the salt & spice

                            1. re: chowinginaustin

                              Had three lbs for $17-...pretty tasty, spicy, juicy and sweet. Great variance in size, but no duds - all fresh and good. Got an extra pound to go to eat in front of the tv. Gonna make the rounds, though - I think Pappadeaux has a happy hour special.

                              1. re: chowinginaustin

                                I've never tried the crawfish at Cypress Grill but have been disappointed with the food. It's just not very good consider how much they boast about their authenticity. The food is very mediocre and overpriced.

                                It's not a real muffaletta if you can count the number of slices of meat they put on it because it's so few and they serve it on a seeded hamburger bun.

                                1. re: The Tres Leches

                                  Thank you, Tres!!! My sentiments exactly. I went with a big group of Louisianians, and I don't think a single one of us were impressed. Admittedly a tough crowd, but as you say, they boast about their authenticity. We did ask if they used Louisiana crawfish or the imports, and our server assured us that they were from Louisiana, so I'll give them that. Otherwise unimpressed.

                                  1. re: mayormel


                                    Have you tried Louisiana Longhorn Cafe in downtown Round Rock?

                                    I've had an excellent fried seafood platter (excellent in terms of batter, seasoning, frying technique), but cold french fries on the same plate, oddly enough. They had a couple of of 'fresh crawfish' signs out.

                                    It's in the pedestrian part of downtown Round Rock. Both times I've driven by there at 7pm-ish in the past month it has been packed with people outside.

                                    200B East Main Street, Round Rock
                                    From their web page:

                                    (512) 248-2900
                                    Tuesday - Thursday 11:00 am - 8:30 pm
                                    Friday 11:00 am to 9:30 pm • Saturday Noon to 9:30 pm
                                    Sunday Noon to 8:30 pm
                                    Closed Monday's for reserved parties.

                                    1. re: sweet100s

                                      LLC is where I go to "scratch the itch" for red beans and rice. I've tried their gumbo (not bad, not great) and their jambalaya (about the same as the gumbo), but haven't had the crawfish yet.

                                      I saw the signs last year for fresh crawfish, but never dropped in. I'll have to give it a shot. Since Uncle Boudreau's on 290 closed, I haven't found a decent place for crawfish.

                                      Others have said it more eloquently than I, but Boiling Pot is criminally bad.

                                  2. re: The Tres Leches

                                    My rec, such as it was, was for the crawfish only.

                            2. Papadeaux was very dissappointing last time I was there almost a month ago. I was misinformed that the buggs were $2.99, they were $4.99, no biggie but they were REALLY small and really soft shells made em hard to peel. they had a bunch of heads with no tails on them to. However there oysters were rediculous and I will return for those. Biggest ones I had in a while.

                              1. So, we had our own crawfish boil this past weekend and we got our crawfish from Quality Seafood @ $3.00/lb. Cost is high by Louisiana standards, but I was pleasantly surprised. There were not too many dead guys and they were much bigger than expected. It definitely filled my crawfish fix.

                                1. i did not care for the crawfish at louisiana longhorn. all the seasoning was on the outside. and they did not come outta the shell very easily. i tried the fried seafood from my friends plate and that was good. gonna have to try one of their oyster poboys. i had their white beans and sausage. the beans were a little thick, cooked down and almost pasty in consistancy, but tasted ok.