At my local HMart and they have live USA crayfish. Buy? How best to get them home alive, store, cook?
To keep them alive, you'll want to keep them cold, moist but not submerged in water.
You keep them cold as it slows down their metabolic rate. That way, they kind of just... chill out.
You keep the moist so that their gills will remain wet. That way they'll stay alive.
Submerging them in water would eventually 'drown' them as the water would not be oxygenated well enough for a bunch of crayfish. (Although you could possibly have them in a large pool of water with fish tank pump but I find that too much effort.)
If you're just taking them from the store and back, putting the crayfish on ice (not in ice) in an ice chest would do the trick. You may also put some cold packs on top. For storing, I'd do the same. Just make sure that the water from the melted ice doesn't pool and has some place to drain.
For large quantities (I just bought 70lbs of crawdads this weekend), I'd left them in their sacks, on ice in a bathtub or large cooler with a damp towel draped over. Place a few sacks of ice over to keep them cool on top. As the ice melts, it would drip down and keep the crayfish moist.
I vote a traditional crawfish boil, and if you don't eat them all, peel the tails and turn them into étoufée. This looks about like what my friend does each year. I recommend adding extra heads of garlic - we typically squeeze cloves onto saltines, and I love it! http://whatscookingamerica.net/Seafood/CrawfishBoil.htm
Hurrah for a crawfish boil! I second that! We use a combo of dry and liquid boil and add additional dry when they come out of the water ... napkins, lots of newspaper, and cold beer a must
I used to live in Lafayette, LA and there is nothing better than a crawfish boil. It takes a lot of time to peel and eat crawfish, which allows for a lot of great conversation and fun. hardlikearmour has a great idea with the garlic cloves! I don't know how many pounds you purchased - with crawfish more is better!
hardlikearmour, thank you for sharing your photos! And the complete information on storing, cooking and purging. Also, love seeing something scientific about how much crawfish to order. Wow, can't thank you enough for sharing this!
I actually just had a crawfish boil yesterday. I'm still smiling from it.
Other possible sides to dump into the boil: cauliflower, andouille sausage, mushrooms (yes!), corn, new potatoes, garlic, carrots, anything else you can think of.
SKK, I can't take any credit for the photos. Just googled crawfish boil and found something that was like what my Louisianan friend's do!