More than 30 species of freshwater crawfish live in Louisiana and other parts of the South, and with an availability of fresh crawfish from December to July, these small crustaceans can stand on their own or compliment a number of dishes, including etouffee, cheese enchiladas, baked potatoes and bisque. Crawfish are an excellent source of B vitamins, protein, calcium and iron, with each 3-oz. tail containing only 70 calories. For a quick crawfish fix, throw a few on a hot grill and enjoy with garlic butter dipping sauce.
Set a gas or charcoal grill to cook on high, direct heat. Start the charcoal in the grill, enough to evenly cover the bottom of the grill once they have heated to an orange, hot heat. Turn off all the burners on the gas grill, then turn the first burner to "Start." Light the gas grill using the electronic igniter or a barbecue lighter.
Turn all the burners to “High” on a gas grill, then shut the lid to preheat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the hot coals evenly over the bottom of the charcoal grill. Check the temperature of the charcoal grill by holding your hand about 3 inches above the cooking grate. The charcoal grill has reached a high temperature of 450 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit when you can hold your hand over the grill for two to three seconds without removing it.
Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil over high heat. Submerge the crawfish headfirst into the pot and allow them to boil for 20 to 30 second and immediately remove the crawfish from the pot with a wire mesh strainer.
Lay the boiled crawfish belly up on flat surface covered with paper towels. Slice the crawfish open from the head, down the belly and to the tail with a sharp knife. Remove the intestines, which look similar to a thin vein running through the body of the crawfish.
Remove the small sack located behind the eyes of the crawfish. Crack each leg of the crawfish to allow the heat from the grill to penetrate the crawfish.
Rinse the crawfish under cold water and place them on the hot grill, belly up. Allow the crawfish to grill for three to five minutes, basting with butter and lemon juice. Turn the crawfish over with tongs when they turn bright red, then grill for an additional one or two minutes to crisp the shell.
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Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.