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Backyard boils in the Big

Backyard boils come a dime a dozen in New Orleans. Finding one is as easy as asking a bartender where they’ll be at shifts end. Jackie, whose backyard boil we attended, and James of Clesi’s, may seem laid back when putting together these down south cookouts, but make no mistake, they aren’t messing around. Spicy Cajun seasoning, a combination of chilies, garlic, pepper, and onions, is generously portioned over sausage and sweet potatoes. But cooking the little lobster look-alikes are just half the battle. Once the food’s served up the real challenge begins.

Cooking crawfish is an art. Eating it is a skill. Mastering the technique of pinning the legs, pinching the tail and twisting the head only sounds easy, especially if you’re a first timer, but don’t be fooled by its seemingly simple instructions. Add in the speed factor and things can get really hairy. The faster you are at shucking shells, the better, as these fresh-water crustaceans tend to fly off the plate. After a few failed attempts, our gracious hosts showed us a handy little trick— after twisting the head, you can peel back the shell like shingles on a roof. In true New Orleans fashion, what initially looked complicated was just a locally kept secret.

Germany has bratwurst. France is the king of the crepes, but if you’re looking for big flavor here in the states, you don’t have to look far. Hugging the Mississippi river, nestled snuggly between Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, rests New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA has a certain spice for life that makes it unlike any other North American city. Once you are out to do some exploring, you’ll find that among the art, street performances, and architecture, the Big Easy caters to a more straightforward taste. Jambalaya, beignets, and gumbo may stack pretty close to the top of its food pyramid, but the pride of this city’s gastronomy lies within the crawfish.

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