5.06.2010

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

18 comments:

David_L said...

That is amazing...would love to see it in action!!!

Emily said...

Wow. That's nothing short of stunning.

Justin said...

that is insane

Jackie Ewing said...

Wow this looks interesting. You seem like you know your food and everything, so do you have healthy recipes of your own that you make? If you do, you should send them into this contest I know of that’s making its way around the country, the Aetna Healthy Food Fight. It’s coming to San Antonio on October 2-3 and Houston on October 9-10! I noticed your recipe and thought you would be interested. You could get great exposure for your recipes and meet celebrity cooks (Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson, Sara Moulton, or Cat Cora). All you have to do is go to healthyfoodfight.com to submit one of your healthy recipes. Deadline to sign up for San Antonio is September 15th and Houston is September 22nd so hurry! Good luck if you decide to enter, and if not, keep posting! :)

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Wow...that's so cool!

Lara Croft said...

What an event! Takes dedication and determination! I grew up in Kemah and Houston area and love the food here! I tried something new the other day at a place in Cypress called Rockwell Tavern & Grill. They are known for their burgers and although they are going through some growing pains as they have new owners, everything is still great! Chef Ray has added to the menu these fantastic Shrimp cakes! I am a crab cake fan from my mother making fresh when I was young but these actually out do those! Served with a wonderful spicy sauce I was in heaven. Well, just wanted to share. Love your blog! Have a good one!

Roxanna said...

Seeing tons of crawfish cooked in just around 5-10 minutes is amazing.
I'm into cooking and I love trying new ways of cooking dishes, especially those that are grilled. Recently, I just had
gas barbecue reviews that lead me to a gas barbecue sale. Well, this is like winning a lottery to me, so I immediately bought one.

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Donally said...

Mmmm, these bugs looks delicious...
I going to cook this up in my next dish!!!

Ché @ Knight at the Restaurant said...

I just found your blog via Twitter. BRILLIANT. LOVE the name AND the premise.

Catering Muenchen said...

Italian food is delicious, Italian restaurants tend to be romantic. When you imagine sitting in a restaurant with a violinist who serenaded, what do you think? The best food in the world what you think! Italian food is the food of romance and Italian restaurants in play until the romance.

Kris said...

very cool info!

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Bill C. said...

Wow never seen that before. Very interesting!

get rid of toenail fungus said...

I love the way they cook it, especially with potato.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! it just looking yummy. I just recall my dinner which I took with my friend at Houston.


Sarah from Store Hours

Lester Bergeron said...

I never knew all that went into crawfish boils. It's nice that they could churn them out quickly. LRB http://iceandrefrigerationsystems.com/

Shanna White said...

Looks delicious! I definitely want to try this when I go to a newBuryport, MA restaurant for spring break!

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