Crawfish can be bought live, frozen, and most often spiced and precooked. You can buy cooked crawfish whole or as cooked tail meat. If you are going to cook live crayfish rinse them off before cooking. Discard any that are dead. Do not cook dead crayfish and do not eat raw crayfish.
In a large pot boil 2 ½-3 gallons of water. Add about 1 pound of salt.
Bring the water to a rapid boil and add the crayfish.
As soon as the water starts to boil, start timing.
Cook crawfish for about 4 minutes, until the they turn red and floats to the top.
Do not over –cook.
Let cool slightly before serving.
In the steaming process the crayfish never touch the water but are suspended above the water on a rack. Use a pan big enough to hold a steamer rack or a conventional steamer. Many sets or pots and pans have something set up for steaming. An inverted bowl can be used with a rack or plate on top of it just high enough to keep the crayfish out of the water and allowing the pan to be covered.
Place 1-2 inches of water into the pan and add the steamer rack.
Bring the water to a boil.
Place the crayfish on the rack and cover the pan.
When the steam starts to escape from the pot, start timing. Cook crawfish for about 8-10 minutes.
When they are done, immediately put them in ice water to stop the cooking, and drain in a colander. They turn to rubber if over cooked.
If serving hot skip the ice water.
Pre-cooked crayfish, whether whole or tail meat simply needs to be warmed up. Steaming is the best way to do this. Follow the recipe above but cut the time down to 2-4 minutes so they don’t get overcooked. If that happens the get rubbery and lose their flavor.