September 29, 2021 by CC Staff

Crawfish 101 – What to Remember When Buying Live Crawfish

Besides barbecues, Houston is also famous for its other local delicacy, the crawfish. Served with various sauces, they have become a staple for both tourists and locals alike. Therefore, if there is a chance to get your hands on fresh crawfish in the market, grab it! Because there might be no other time to have them within your reach.

However, if you’re used to eating them cooked in a restaurant, are there practices that you need to follow or remember when buying them fresh? Of course, you would want crawfish that is new, alive, and clean. But are there other factors to consider? Here is a guide for buying fresh crawfish from the market.

Consider the Grade

Crawfishes come in various grades—value, select, and premium grade. While looking for the perfect crawfish to buy, try to get your hands on medium to large crawfish. Value grade or mixed catch crawfish are usually a good bang for your buck. However, remember not to combine various-sized ones to avoid cooking them unevenly.

In choosing the best grade, consider it by knowing which way you would cook the crawfish. Select and premium grade crawfish are bigger and more suited for long cooking times for the usual seafood boils. However, if you’re a people-pleaser, then a premium significant or extra-large crawfish should give you compliments in return.

Determine the Amount

Crawfish are sold by the pound rather than per piece. On average, one person can eat three to five pounds of crawfish in a meal. But there are also instances when they can eat seven to ten pounds of mudbugs in one sitting. Therefore, the amount of crawfish you buy should depend on how many customers you will serve.

In planning the amount of crawfish, you will order, add the number of people you will serve, and multiply it to three to five pounds of crawfish. For example, if you’re throwing a party for ten guests, multiply the visitors to three to five pounds of crawfish each, giving you at least thirty to fifty pounds of orders needed. However, if you’re planning to add other ingredients, such as potatoes, corn, or other common boil ingredients, then you can subtract a pound of crawfish per person.

Figure Out its Storage

It’s best to cook crawfish while they are still alive. Therefore, after getting your order, make sure to keep them breathing until the time they’re ready to cook. Before receiving the delivery, prepare the necessary tools like spray bottles, a large cooler, ice packs, newspapers, a thermometer, and old towels.

Remember not to expose your crawfish container to direct sunlight. Keep the mudbugs chilled in a cooler and ready for cooking. But remember to open the lid slightly to allow them to breathe. Lastly, never store them in water, or else they’ll die. Crawfish can stay alive for days as long as you maintain the ice and storage well. If you’re planning to store them for more than two days, remember to rotate the sack daily to allow the ones underneath to breathe too.


Although Houston serves one of the best seafood boils, cooking crawfish at home is also a great experience to share with family and friends. However, remember that you’re dealing with fresh and live food. Therefore, your priority is to keep them alive as long as possible. But if the delivery you received includes dead mudbugs, separate those to avoid contaminating the remaining batch.

If you’re craving for the best crawfish in Houston, drop by Crawfish Cafe and experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure of digging in Texas’ Viet-Cajun specialties. Since 2013, we have been dedicated to serving only the freshest batches of crawfishes. More than ten years later, we’ve become one of the local places to get crawfish in the state. Check our menu and see which of our specialties suit you best.

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