What's the first thing you do when you get a bag of crawfish? I pour them into a tub and fill it with salt water to purge them because I like my mud bugs without the mud. I had no idea I was doing it wrong.

The other thing that I have been doing wrong goes all the way back to something I was taught as a kid. I would throw away the crawfish with straight tails after they were boiled because I was told those were dead before they were boiled. I don't want someone getting sick after eating my crawfish.

Let's start with purging. The salt water bath I was treating my crawfish with was getting rid of the mud and debris but doing little to clean the crawfish intestines. According to an article at WWL:

"Research at the LSU Ag Center has shown that the addition of salt to the wash water provides no significant advantage in cleansing crawfish despite the numerous claims to the contrary." The article goes on to state "if you want to purge the crawfish, you have to set them aside with no food for an entire day."

Then let's clear up the straight tail theory. I would venture to guess that LSU is the only major university that studies crawfish boiling. With that in mind the article states "Research at the LSU Ag Center showed that the degree of tail curl in cooked crawfish was not significantly different between crawfish alive at the time they were cooked and those that had been dead... prior to cooking.

And if you want to make sure your crawfish are spot on ... invite a qualified crawfish tester over. I will be glad to help.