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Crawfish boil in New Jersey?

c
Chicagoan_in_Jersey Oct 11, 2009 10:55 AM

Is there any restaurant in New Jersey that offers a crawfish boil? We live in Monmouth County, but we're so eager for a good crawfish boil that we''re willing to travel anywhere between Philly and NYC.

  1. c
    Chicagoan_in_Jersey Oct 26, 2009 07:38 AM

    Thanks for all your replies! Sounds like I have a couple of restaurants to check out.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Chicagoan_in_Jersey
      k
      Kdoh Mar 4, 2010 08:37 PM

      Dear Posters,

      I don't know if anyone is checking this thread any longer, and I may be talking to myself, but here are some crawfish observations.

      As a NJian who has spent most of my life in the Deep South, I've been to plenty of crawfish boils.

      By far, the boil of choice is Zatarain's, which you can order from their website, zatarains.com There is no common agreement about liquid boil vs dry, but I've never heard of anyone who prefers liquid alone. At minimum, a combination is used.

      If you enter New Jersey Crawfish Boils in the Chowhound Search box you will see this thread and one below it about doing your own boil. It contains advice about methods, recipes, and equipment. There's nothing magic about the equipment because all it's meant to do is boil the boil and separate the mudbugs in a basket from the corn, potatoes, etc. You can do this in your kitchen, but the pot has to have enough room for the veggies to boil. This thread also has sources for crawdads.

      Here's where things might get interesting if Roro is checking in.

      Cooking everything in the same boil means everything will taste the same, i.e. like the boil. This is really the low rung of creativity, IMHO - monotaste. The only difference outside of the taste of the crawdad is texture.

      However, all is not lost. Just about any creole dish using shrimp can be prepared with crawfish. In fact Crawfish Etouffe is as well known as boiled. Other options include Gumbo and Crawfish Pie. Zatarain's has plenty of recipes. I would bet a Commander's Palace cookbook would also have some great ones.

      One usually overlooked factor is that Crawfish is part of the greater Lobster family. There is no reason you can't serve it like Lobster, i.e. boiled in salted water and dipped in drawn butter (the tails are too small to split and broil). Serve with your favorite Lobster sides.

      BTW, if you google Crawfish Shippers, you'll see dozen of suppliers in Louisiana.

      Beer is the drink of choice for a boil, but to me, the spicier the boil, the more you should avoid premium beers - you can't taste them. Abita offers a good line of premiums, but there are now also a couple of hand crafting brewers in NOLA. I can't remember the names, but the New Yorker did an article on them within the last year. Check out the newyorker.com archives.

      For the more creative dishes, Chardonnay or Sauv Blanc ought to work well. If the Etouffe is robust from a dark roux, try a Zinfandel if you like red.

      I hope this revives the thread and provides stimulus for thought. Nothing was intended as criticism of anyone's post. I hope to hear from all of you. (pardon typos. I'm a two-fingered klutz typist).

      Kdoh - Texarkana, TX, Monroe, LA

      1. re: Kdoh
        r
        roro1831 Mar 5, 2010 04:28 AM

        Well we will agree to disagree about boiling techniques and how boiling everything together is the low rung of creativity. If I wanted my crawfish boiled in salted water and dipped in drawn butter, I would eat lobster, but I don't like lobster. The spice is what makes a crawfish boil, or shrimp or crab boil good, not what you dip it in after the fact.
        I will agree that there are tons of things to do with the crawfish after the boil, assuming you have some leftover. Crawfish bread, crawfish Monica, crawfish pie, crawfish bisque etc and I have lots of recipes for all of those from my grandmother and father.
        I use a combination of Zatarain's liquid and powder, as well as lemon juice and the lemons after they are squeezed. Additional liquid goes in after the soak.
        I never boil them inside as the house will reek of Zatarains, not that I would mind but the wife would not like it very much. Luckily I have a 100 quart pot to boil, and the potatoes and corn and other veggies are in the basket with the crawfish, not seperate. But, as you stated, every person has their own little "trick" that they do when they boil. Some people put some fresh squeezed orange, others put some beer, but as long as they are spicy I will eat them.

        1. re: roro1831
          k
          Kdoh Mar 5, 2010 05:33 AM

          Roro,

          Glad you got back in on the thread. I'll bet you have enough great recipes to put out your own cookbook. Ever thought about it? Any input on the beer discussion ? I'll try to find the New Yorker article and report on who it was about. I also forgot to mention about having plenty of beer flats available, which requires emptying them.

          As far as agreeing to disagree, that's part of what food discussions are about, don't you think, that some people don't appreciate. Unless our taste buds are wired together, and last I checked no one's are, thank goodness, I should respect each person's preferences You are eating for your enjoyment, not mine. and as far as I'm concerned, I have no business telling anyone what they should enjoy although some people we see on some threads want to tell us what to like, or in most cases what not to like (see the long Rutt's Hutt thread - very amusing in this regard).

          I hope C_in_NJ gets back on so we can find out if he has fixed his mudbug jones.

          Sunny and 63 today in Texarkana, Maybe we'll have a Spring this year instead of going right into Summer.

          Welcome back and best regards.

          Kdoh

          1. re: Kdoh
            r
            roro1831 Mar 5, 2010 05:46 AM

            Honestly, I drink beer while boiling, but once the eating starts, no drinking whatsoever. In my opinion it takes up valuable time. typically when I boil it's an all day affair, from the running around to get the crawfish (although when they get shipped now that's not a part of the day), getting the supplies, chopping up all the veggies etc, telling people to show up an hour in advance to share in the process. So by the time the boil is done, I'm drunk and ready to eat lol. I drink more when I am done eating. It's never a high quality beer, usually Bud or Shiner (assuming someone up here has secured some as it is not sold in Jersey).

            Never thought about a cookbook, but my wife is always telling me I should look into opening my own place, maybe starting out with one of those trucks and then opening a space.

            And FYI, put me on the side of people who love Rutt's Hut, if it wasn't a Friday during Lent I would go there for lunch as I work about 5 minutes from there.

            C in NJ probably did not get the jones fixed as it was not crawfish season. I know of a boil in NYC and then the crawfish fest is coming up in May or June. Luckily I have a trip back home planned for the second weekend of Jazz fest so I will get some crawfish then.

            1. re: roro1831
              TongoRad Mar 5, 2010 06:01 AM

              There is some discussion going on on the Beer board about some locally available Bocks (Yuengling and Genesee) that should be similar to Shiner's, maybe they'll satisfy your jones the next time you get one. It's probably not too costly to find out, in any event.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6916...

              1. re: TongoRad
                k
                Kdoh Mar 5, 2010 06:48 AM

                T,

                Thanks for the beer input.

                Roro,

                I forgot to mention about the great southrin tradition that the cook never has to get his or her own beer. It is brought to you without asking. One of the purposes of the beer flat is that after the cook has emptied the first one and the food is served, he can lie on his back with his flat on his stomach and eat his fill without worrying about getting up for the rest of the weekend.

                Kevin

                1. re: Kdoh
                  r
                  roro1831 Mar 5, 2010 07:21 AM

                  Well versed in that southern tradition, I never have to grab a beer when boiling crawfish. The folks up here are slowly learning that bringing me a beer is a small price to pay for crawfish.

                  1. re: Kdoh
                    j
                    jrd303 Mar 6, 2010 08:17 AM

                    What's a beer flat?

                    1. re: jrd303
                      r
                      roro1831 Mar 6, 2010 12:25 PM

                      I will assume that a beer flat is the cardboard box bottom that a case of beer comes in.

                      1. re: roro1831
                        k
                        Kdoh Mar 6, 2010 12:44 PM

                        jrd,

                        You were the original responder, so we're glad you're back on. Roro is correct although they're made from, containerboard rather than cardboard(I'll explain the difference if anyone cares). A flat is a shallow box, so it's used for 4 six packs of cans as opposed to long necks. Its not unusual for a lot of the crawfish lovers I know to have a serving of two pounds of bugs plus a pound of potatoes and corn, etc. and a flat can accomodate that much whereas, obviously to all of us, no throwaway plate can.

                        Although you can't easily see it, flats have a thin water repellent coating to allow for cold storage, so they break down slowly to heat and moisture (I'm retired from paper manufacturing so I have a head full of trivia about this stuff).

                        Kevin

            2. re: roro1831
              m
              mbrnj Apr 23, 2010 01:20 PM

              I'm a recent transplant to Monmouth county after 30 years in TX. Was born and raised in Baton Rouge, though and thought that my crawfish boil days were over when we moved up here. Is the Crawfish fest worth it?? It is pricey and kind of a trek, but would be willing to do it for some real LA food. There is a LSU NYC crawfish boil on May 15.. I did not got to LSU and am not sure if you have to be part of the alum association or not. The folks who own Langosta Lounge in AP are opening a NO style restaurant--I'll have to try it but don't have high hopes after our fruitless quest for decent Mexican food. Lots of great restaurants here for seafood and Italian.

              1. re: mbrnj
                r
                roro1831 Apr 23, 2010 07:21 PM

                I tried to contact the LSU folks last year and no one got back to me. There is another crawfish boil in NYC the weekend of May 14. I have the info in an email at the office, will post the link here.
                As far as the food goes at the Crawfish Fest, it's not worth it just to trek out there and pay to get in just to get some food. Unlike Jazz Fest the food is not that great as compared to what is available in New Orleans/BR etc.
                No reason for your crawfish boils to be over. I'm bringing my pot up next month and will have a couple of boils up here.

                1. re: roro1831
                  j
                  joedontexan Apr 24, 2010 01:40 PM

                  Hey yall everybody here is invited to the breaux bridge louisiana crawfish festival in may come on down yall will have a ball.

                2. re: mbrnj
                  l
                  llehrer Dec 16, 2011 01:06 PM

                  The Crawfish Festicval is worth the trip - the music is authentic and the food great - also the Old Bay in New Brunswick often has crawfish (when its in season) - there is also a place in Monmouth called Rajin cajun but I haven't tried that - I opt for ordering them from LA and doing myself in addition to the fest!!!

          2. f
            fourunder Oct 13, 2009 07:28 AM

            Believe it or not, IKEA has a crawfish party at the end of August.....all you can eat for $9.99...it has something to do with an end of summer tradition in Sweden. Mark it on the calendar for next year.

            http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note...

            7 Replies
            1. re: fourunder
              r
              roro1831 Oct 13, 2009 08:06 AM

              I saw that the last we stopped by IKEA, I was curious, but I'm sure they are not boiled in spices like a typical Louyisiana boil, but I could be wrong, plus it looked like they are served cold, but then again I could be wrong.

              1. re: roro1831
                f
                fourunder Oct 13, 2009 08:19 AM

                For $9.99. does it matter?.......:-)

                If it's any consolation, I'm sure the meatballs are hot.

                1. re: fourunder
                  r
                  roro1831 Oct 13, 2009 08:43 AM

                  Actually it does, if they are flavorless what's the point. I'd opt for the meatballs at that point. Nothing worse than crawfish that have no flavor.
                  Now you have me thinking about the meatballs, luckily I have some in the freezer. :-)

                  1. re: roro1831
                    f
                    fourunder Oct 13, 2009 08:52 AM

                    Okay if it's flavorless, you would have a point....but how would you know unless you give it a chance.....:-)

                    My understanding is IKEA stores have people running their food operations who have educations and degrees similar to Food Universities such as the CIA or Johnson and Wales....if so, I would be willing to give them the benefit of doubt they put out something well received.......they already make some of the best inexpensive meals available on a daily basis......I heard they offer a very good breakfast option which I am curious to see and try for myself....Two Hot Dogs for a buck is also available, if I am not mistaken.

                    1. re: fourunder
                      r
                      roro1831 Oct 13, 2009 09:01 AM

                      I have a friend that loves the breakfast there.
                      My buddy from New Orleans now lives up here as well, we may have to make a pilgrimage to check out the crawfish next go round

                      1. re: roro1831
                        r
                        rking Oct 13, 2009 10:09 AM

                        Murphy's Style Grill in Red Bank has them advertised on their website

                    2. re: roro1831
                      r
                      roro1831 Oct 15, 2009 12:15 PM

                      I did a little searching online about the Swedes and crawfish, here's how it is typically done:

                      * 2 lbs. of crawfish (approx. 25 pcs.)
                      * 3 quarts of cold fresh water
                      * 5 tablespoons salt
                      * 1 tablespoon sugar
                      * A lot (10-15) of dill-"crowns" (when you grow fresh dill, you let it start to grow flowers, but you pick the dill before the buds evolve into flowers. The buds should have turned yellow though. This is very important, do NOT substitute for ordinary dill.)
                      * 1 tsp of anis (optional)

                      Make sure all of the crawfish are alive.

                      Boil water, salt, sugar, dill-"crowns" and anis.

                      Place the crawfish in a sifter, and lower them into the boiling water. let them cook for 10 minutes after that the water boils up again after putting in the crayfish. Let them cool off in the seasoned water.
                      Serve cold.

                      Doesn't sound like something I would enjoy, even for ten bucks. Crawfish are best hot out of the water, so that the head is full of juice which can be sucked and the fat dug out with your thumb. There is no heat in the recipe, no cayenne, no lemon, and there are no onions, mushrooms or corn or any other vegetable cooked with the crawfish.

              2. r
                roro1831 Oct 13, 2009 07:14 AM

                Crawfish are out of season right now anyway. During crawfish season, at Oddfellows in Hoboken, they do crawfish on Tuesdays. Price is a little steep compared to back home in New Orleans ($9/pound). That's the only place I know of.
                I am trying to talk to a place in Hoboken into doing a boil like we do at Blue Bayou in Chicago. Hopefully we can pull it off as there are a lot of people up here who like crawfish.

                As far as the crawfish fest goes, the music is great but I find the food marginal at best. The crawfish are good but just about everything else is not. If you have ever been to Jazz Fest in New Orleans, the food does not hold a candle to it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: roro1831
                  j
                  jrd303 Oct 15, 2009 04:59 AM

                  While I'm sure the Crawfish fest doesn't hold a candle to the food in Louisiana (and you'r post really makes me want to get down there) there were so many things at the Crawfish festival I've never come across in NJ and they certainly weren't bad by any means. Would you happen to have recommendations for places in NJ that reminds you of back home ?

                  1. re: jrd303
                    r
                    roro1831 Oct 15, 2009 06:36 AM

                    My kitchen. lol
                    Seriously, I have yet to run across anything up here that even comes close, and honestly I don't even take chances with the places that claim to be New Orleans food related or even worse, cajun.

                    If you are serious about getting down to New Orleans, go for one of the weekends of Jazz Fest, it's held the last weekend in April and the first in May. Some of the greatest food you will ever run across at a festival, as well as some of the best music. 12 stages or so of constant music from 11am to 7pm.

                2. j
                  jrd303 Oct 11, 2009 11:41 PM

                  I know it's of no use now. But next year June 4th-6th is the NJ crawfish festival. Not only a crawfish boil but a caravan of :Louisianan food vendors travels north for a weekend. Can't recommend it enough.

                  http://www.crawfishfest.com/

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