Is It Safe To Eat The Heads Of Crawfish?

Different regions enjoy different types of cuisines based on what's local to the area, and they can often seem a bit foreign to those who aren't familiar with them. Rattlesnake and alligator may seem completely exotic to some people, while others eat them regularly, and frog legs might seem like a crazy thing to order as an appetizer but are quite common in some areas of the United States. 

The southeastern region of the United States is renowned for crawfish boils, and for good reason: they're delicious! These small crustaceans are commonly found in Louisiana and surrounding area. Insider writes that they're actually the state crustacean, and huge crawfish boils are a way of life. The season runs during the spring months, and there are a few things to know when buying (and eating) crawfish, especially if this is your first time participating in this community dining event. It can seem a little overwhelming (or scary) but we assure you, there's nothing to be wary of.

You should definitely eat the heads

Crawfish are typically boiled in a large pot with various aromatics, according to Chef Amy Sins (via Insider), and the recipes vary from family to family and person to person. Once the crawfish have been boiled, it's time to eat them. 

Their taste is described as "a cross between shrimp and lobster" and they're served as-is, so it's up to you to crack open the shells. The first step is separating the head from the tail by grasping the head in one hand, the tail in the other, then twisting and pulling them apart. You're encouraged to "suck the head," where you'll find tons of flavor and a bit of yellow called "crawfish butter" that tastes like foie gras. From there, peel the shell of the tail to better access the delicious meat, and pinch the tail in one hand, the meat in the other, then pull the meat out and enjoy!