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Sucking the Crawfish Head

Learn to suck the head and enjoy the sizzling spices from the crawfish boil

Advanced techniques, from (How to peel crawfish) article.

A lot of cajuns will tell you that sucking the head of the crawfish is the best part. Generally speaking, those who try it once or twice and enjoy it, will continually engage in the act; fiendishly so. While the recurrent sound of slurping may be distracting to those who don't partake, those in the know completely understand the behavior.

Within the body cavity, are salty and spicy juices from the boil. Along with the juices, there is a yellow substance, or the "fat" which is the most prized. Hardcore Cajuns actually pinch the head a little as they suck, to savor every last drop. Cajuns being Cajuns and not astacologists (crawfish biologists), called it fat at some point in time. This very rich and super flavorful "fat" is really the hepatopancreatic tissue, which functions as the primary energy storage organ within the crawfish. If you have eaten crawfish before, but they were not from Louisiana, you have not tasted the fat. Chinese crawfish tailmeat, the most commercially available crawfish product in the U.S., is rinsed free of fat prior to cryovac packaging. This extends the shelf life of the crawfish, as extended contact with the fat will cause the meat to spoil faster. Commercially packaged Louisiana crawfish tails are almost always sold in their fresh form, and contain this vibrant orange-yellow fat. In addition to adding visual appeal, the fat contributes to the unmistakable richness of the meat, similar to the rich flavor profiles found in shrimp and lobsters.

OK, so maybe the thought of doing "that" at a crawfish boil in front of your friends, family, or coworkers isn't going to happen for you. Humor us. After you have pulled the tail of the crawfish head, look for the yellow fat. There will probably be a small morsel on the flap of the tailmeat that was inside the main body part. Dab it with the tip of your finger, and taste it by itself. If that wasn't enough finger-lickin' yummy goodness, there's more where that came from. You guessed it, inside the head. Using your pinky finger, insert it into the body cavity to your first finger joint, and scoop out along the top of the shell. Now you can savor the flavor without making a scene. Now repeat this, as you are peeling tails. Using your right pinky to extract the fat, peel the tail as usual, then dab your pinky in your mouth right after you pop the tail in. Nobody's the wiser. Take that China.