You’re planning a big dinner with lots of food and many guests who you want to impress, and you’ve chosen crawfish for your centerpiece. That’s great – but how do you know how much to serve per person?
The last thing you want is guests going hungry, but having too much crawfish isn’t ideal either. Estimating can be a challenge, as it will depend on how hungry your guests are and how many other things you are serving to go with the crawfish.
How many pounds of crawfish per person? As a minimum, you should purchase 3-6 pounds of crawfish for each guest. If you’re depending on crawfish to carry the meal, it would be safer to go for 7-10 pounds per guest.
Crawfish are very popular, and you want to make sure everyone has plenty, so buy more than you think you will need and save the leftovers for the following day.
How Much Crawfish Do You Need Per Person?
You’ll need to think about what else you’re serving with the crawfish, but here is a rough guide. If you’re not sure, add another couple of pounds per person, and plan to either send your guests home with the extra (they will thank you!), or make sure you have some space in the freezer.
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If you’re going to be serving up a lot of other food alongside, you will need less crawfish. For example, if the meal contains lots of potato or complimentary meat such as sausage or shrimp, you should be able to reduce these quantities a bit.
However, if your guests enjoy crawfish and have had it before, you may find it disappears faster than you anticipated, as it’s a rare treat for many diners! Cooked with lots of other ingredients, it is usually a popular meal, so it’s better to make too much than have your guests leaving hungry.
What are Crawfish and Why are They Popular?
Crawfish are like a miniature lobster, and share some of the lobster’s surprising prestige. They can grow to about 7 inches long, and there are many species worldwide. Most commonly eaten in the US is the red swamp crawfish.
Crawfish meat is rather like lobster meat, but it’s a little more tender. It is a sweet sort of meat, and tends not to be quite as rich as lobster, which may please any guests who don’t want a heavy meal. It’s definitely one to serve when you’re in the mood to impress!
Crawfish are also pretty low in fat, which might prove popular for anyone watching their weight, and is often appreciated by dinner guests who are used to heavy, fat-filled courses.
How Much Does Crawfish Cost?
With any meal, price is a factor. You need to think about what you’re going to be paying per head before you plunge into a complicated menu plan. Crawfish prices can vary a lot, but it often costs around $7-$8 for a pound of crawfish.
This makes them one of the more affordable dinner options, although you’ll need to think about other meat prices as well if you’re including them. Using potatoes can be a good way to keep the costs down and bulk the food out a little.
Crawfish are farmed in the US, which does help to keep prices stable, but you should still check the prices at local stores before you make a full meal plan, in case it is much higher where you live.
Where Can You Buy Crawfish?
There are a lot of online suppliers of crawfish, or you may find a local store that stocks them. They are a popular dish, but because they need to be kept live, they can be a little tricky to source sometimes, especially when they are not in season.
In the right season, some supermarkets stock live crawfish in limited quantities, and you can also go to seafood markets to buy them fresh if you want to. In some parts of the US, you may even be able to catch your own, though this might be a step too far in being a dedicated dinner host!
When purchasing, prioritize freshness and buy only live crawfish to make your meal the best it can possibly be. You should never buy ready-boiled crawfish for a fancy dinner; you’re better off cooking your own.
Is Crawfish Easy to Cook?
You will find many different crawfish recipes online, so decide what sort of pairings appeal and then take a look at the different methods. If you have never cooked crawfish before, it may help you to do a “test dinner” with you and your family alone before you attempt to cook a big meal for a lot of people.
You will probably end up boiling your crawfish, and you may want to add vegetables like corn, celery, peppers, and potatoes, or lemon, sausage, or even little shrimps to bulk out the dish and add flavor and texture. Garlic is also a great way to bring out the flavors of the meal.
You should never cook dead crawfish. They should be cooked within three days of getting them, and any which float during the cleaning process should be discarded as they are dead.
Freeze any leftover crawfish once they are cooked, and you can enjoy them on another day!
Crawfish are a great alternative to lobster, offering a delicate and sweet flavor and a taste that many people associate strongly with the US. They are wonderfully delicious and make a great alternative to some of the more standard meals you might see served at dinner parties, but you do need to be a little careful with the cooking.
Make sure you know what you’re doing and follow a recipe closely if you haven’t cooked crawfish before. Check out any warning tips so you know you aren’t going to serve your guests anything inedible.
Done right, a crawfish dinner offers a high-class, unusual, sumptuous meal that will have all your guests coming back for seconds!