It's officially mudbug season, people, so get ready to suck some heads.
We mean, of course, the heads of boiled crawfish, those succulent critters that resemble tiny lobsters but pack rich, yellow juices in their noggins and Cajun-seasoned meat in their tails. The beat-red crawdaddies, which dwell in Louisiana's freshwater bayous, are popular delicacies in the Southeast.
Jeff Crissey, who has boiled crawfish for a quarter-century from his perch at Lauderhill's Rosey Baby Crawfish and Cajun House, says Broward is gaining steam on Louisiana's honky-tonk tradition of boiling bugs. The same goes for Miami bar Tobacco Road (626 S Miami Ave., Miami), site of Sunday's 13th annual Crawfish Boil. The noon-6 p.m. event, which is free (a 2-pound cup of crawfish costs $18), will feature live music by the Legendary JC's, Juke, and Lone Wolf OMB. Call 305-374-1198 or go to Tobacco-Road.com.
"More and more people are getting into it down here. Even the people with New York accents are starting to suck on crawfish," says Crissey, who will haul some 1,200 pounds of the juicy crustaceans to Miami. "It's the kind of food that's a lot of fun to eat, and it takes some technique to master. If you're a seafood lover, and you like to play with your food a little, this is for you."
Crissey says he paired up with Tobacco Road "several years ago," after its employees visited Rosey Baby for platters of crawfish. "They said, 'We think your crawfish is real good, and we'd like to put it in the boil,' " Crissey recalls.
His recipe involves boiling the crawfish in outsize cookers roiling with garlic, onion and cayenne pepper. The critters are then drained in colanders, dumped into buckets and served with an icy brew and chicken gumbo.
Elsewhere in the Magic City, the Stage Miami (170 NE 38th St.) will host its own third annual Crawfish Boil, a free event headlined by New Orleans-raised trumpeter Shamarr Allen on a bill with the University of Miami Frost School of Music's bluesy African-American Ensemble and the Do-It-Yourself Ensemble. The boil will take place from 1 to 8 p.m. April 21. Call 305-576-9577 or go to TheStageMiami.com.
If Miami's too far of a drive for tasty crawfish, there are boils to be had at Fort Lauderdale's Shuck 'N Dive. A 1 1/2-pound bucket there goes for $12, with side servings of beans and sausage and corn and potatoes for $3. At Rosey Baby, a 1-pound bucket costs $14.99.