16,000 pounds of mudbugs

last weekend, king of crawfish aka jim gossen of louisiana foods threw a crawfish boil of colossal proportions for the OTC kick-off party held at U of H every year. the feast of crusteans involved a 16,000 pound order of live louisiana crawfish.

when jim invited me to come by and check out his custom crawfish-cooking mechanism, it was an offer i simply couldn't refuse. this contraption enabled him to dish out 5,000 pounds of crawfish an hour! i walked away in complete awe. and after a six-month plus hiatus from my blog, jim finally gave me a subject that i couldn't wait to report back on.

Take a look at this set-up.

step 1: CLEANING. bags of pre-washed crawfish were dumped into washing tanks for a final rinse. dead crawfish floated to the top of the water and were hand-picked out.

conveyor belts pulled live crawfish from the bottom of the tank and deposited them into huge metal baskets. there were 2 of these machines running simultaneously.

step 2: COOKING. metal baskets filled with crawfish were lifted by 2,000 lb electric hoists and dropped into large boilers.

crawfish were cooked for 4-5 minutes in one of five boilers of seasoned water containing dry and liquid crab boil, and jim's secret ingredient, tabasco mash.

a box of tabasco mash, dried leftover sediment from the Tabasco sauce-making process.

step 3: electric hoists pulled metal baskets out of boiling water and hot, cooked crawfish were dumped into metal chutes where they got a second coating of dry seasonings--louisiana foods' proprietary blend of salt, cayenne powder, lemon, celery powder, and onion powder.

step 4: the bottom of the metal chute was opened and crawfish were transferred into carts and wheeled into the party tent.

crawfish stayed hot in huge, insulated storage containers until guests were served. corn and potatoes were served separately from smaller ice chests.

the stats:
people: 15,000
food: 16,000 lbs. crawfish (2 18-foot trucks worth), 2,000 lbs. potatoes, 8,000 ears corn
powered by: 227 gallons propane

boy, would i love to throw one of these shindigs for me and all of my friends (heck, and their friends too). so how much would it cost to throw one of these events? a ballpark figure: $60,000. when i win the lottery, jim will be one of the first people i call... and you're all invited.
photos courtesy of jim gossen
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