Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Company Review: Austin Crawfish Company.

So as the self-entitled coon ass and queen of Cajun food you all know I am, you might be surprised to hear that I somehow stumbled upon a provider and preparer of crawfish in the ATX that could actually pass for the stuff of the gods we have back home in The Big Easy. 

Lovingly and knowledgeably crafted crawfish is, to put it lightly, the most glorious food known to mankind. The primal  cracking and tearing of the shells from the flesh; it brings a reflective individual back to the way food is meant to be enjoyed. There's not a Crescent City native out there who would hesitate to suck vigorously on the just-separated heads, extracting every last bit of the savory, lip-burning juices hiding inside. I'd yearned so long for the slow smolder that exacerbates the skin on my face and arms as the spicy liquid is flung wildly about in my carnal attack of this, my favorite food. 

My stubborn stupidity and false sense of superiority kept me from sampling the Texas boiled crawfish that surrounded me for six long seasons. But this year was different. Finally accepting that financial obstacles and an overeager work schedule would prevent me from visiting my beloved home for yet another indeterminate period of time, I broke down and explored some of the local fare. My first experience with Fatback Boucherie reaffirmed my concerns with peeling back my Cajun shell and letting these Texan impostors into my culinary fortress. Those little crawdads were sad. They were small, dry and lacked any sense of spice whatsoever. I mean really, what self-respecting "Cajun" cook would allow himself to put out something like that? I'd be ashamed. Let the wusses  and the mama's boys cry their salty tears. I am Jillian, queen of cayenne! Can't take a little spice? Stay the hell away from my proud Cajun kitchen. Even Luke has learned to choke it down and let my soul food embrace him, slowly building his tolerance for all things spicy. I am proud.

Sigh. So after sloshing down the most disenchanting crawfish in America, my spirits were low. But, against my better judgment, a friend of mine compelled me to consider the work of another Austinite crawfish purveyor. I was skeptical but willing, as I had become desperate for the fortifying experience that is pillaging a bucketload of expertly prepared crawfish. 

Drew mentioned that after 10, these crawfish were free, an unsettling prospect to be sure. But at this point, I was determined. I had to have my fix. So here I was, at a lesser known bar on the outskirts of downtown, at 10 PM on a Monday evening. This seafood experience was either going to kill me, or it was going to change my life. 

Walking out to the dusty yard that is the Lustre Pearl hang out spot, I got a good feeling. It just seemed right. Picnic tables sat sporadically, sheathed in white paper and topped with a roll of paper towels and a large tin bucket. To my left stood a glorious platform supporting two boilers, each the size of a six-person hot tub (I'm told they can decimate 1,000 pounds of crawfish at once!). And the best part? The moment I was caught glancing around for my friends, I heard a friendly, "You look like you could use some crawfish!" "Yes, yes I could." So we chatted briefly about my previous disappointments, and I couldn't even begin to recall his response, as I was too engrossed in the pounds of crawfish, potatoes, corn and sausage being heaped into a to go box before my eyes. 

I mean really, this is free?

Now that's more like it! I didn't bother to wait for my friends to arrive before digging in face first. I'd finished half of that thing before any of them even arrived. And let me tell you, I had no shame. They found me in a state of complete ecstasy: lips and cheeks and hands all dripping with the sweet, spicy juices I'd yearned for; my bucket already half full with the dismembered carcasses of those sacrificed for my pleasure. These were the crawfish I knew. Flavorful, wet, spicy, and to be truly enjoyed only in the absence of all manners. 

Spritely New Orleans music seemed to encourage me as I threw my un-mussed friends into the filth that is the appreciation of Cajun food. Only one was hesitant to drain the hellish juices with her lips, until my dirty little voodoo shook her soul. Nothing felt better than to confidently impress upon them a piece of my home. 

And it's all thanks to these precious babies right here.

As well as Austin Crawfish Company, of course. You guys have brightened my heart with a worthy taste of New Orleans.


  1. This is great to hear about! To steal The New Orleans Hornets' mantra I'm In! As much as I love Austin, I will have to quiet the mind when it hears the name of this place and let my mouth do the thinking! Thanks for the great news!!

  2. Of course! It really made me happy to find someone here who can do crawfish right (even though I do think there's something to be said for having them in NOLA).

  3. Jillian,
    My name is Benji Guillot and I am the owner of Single Barrel Crawfish here in Crowley, LA. We supply Josh and Tom with crawfish and they really do an excellent job with them. Thank you so much for those beautiful words about them. It really makes us proud to be able to get that part of our culture into your area. Keep eating them and we'll keep bringing them.

    1. Hi Benji! I know it's been over a year now, but I'm finally trying to get my own little Cajun venture off the ground. My husband and I are trying to raise the funds to allow us to be food vendors at this years Shrimpfest in Seadrift, TX. We would love and appreciate your support in this, our first step towards our ultimate goal of opening a Cajun restaurant in San Antonio. If you're interested, check out our kickstarter page here:

      Thanks in advance!

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed what I had to say about the company. Thank you so much for supplying your wonderful product to my area! You guys make it all possible.