It’s finally crawfish season again! Across the south, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, thousands of us wanna-be Cajuns eagerly await the bounty of mudbugs – and the permission to eat with our hands – that spring bestows upon us annually. The spicy Southern delicacy is a beloved part of our culture, and as such, those who cook them particularly well find their social calendars (or restaurants) full as the weather warms up.
The Making of Crawfish Season
I’ve eaten crawfish for as long as I can remember. But I started thinking: I know very little about crawfish season and what makes one crawfish season better than the other.
As it turns out, the answer to both questions is the weather.
First off, our crawfish come from Louisiana – southern Louisiana.
Unlike a lot of seafood, there are no set dates that harken the beginning and end of crawfish season. Crawfish lay their eggs from the early fall through the coldest months of the year. They burrow in silt and mud, and then the females come up after the first heavy rain of the spring after the water temperature reaches at least 50 degrees.
This means a wet and mild winter might result in crawfish harvested as early as late December. Crawfish thrive when there is plenty of rain and warmer temperatures, so when the weather is warm and wet in the late winter/early spring, you can bet on a bumper crop of big and plentiful crawfish that year.
The season usually peaks in May and June and runs through the summer, sometimes as late as August.
The 2017 Crawfish Forecast
This year’s crawfish season looks to be one of the best in recent memory. There were some concerns about how Louisiana’s massive flooding in August of last year might affect this year’s crops, but early harvests have indicated that this should be a bountiful year. Some farmers in Louisiana are even reporting January yields of three to four times more crawfish than average. What?!?
It usually takes until March for farmers to harvest at this level. The result should be lower early season crawfish prices. Cha-ching!
Your Guide to Where to Buy Crawfish in Jackson
Enjoying crawfish is as much about the social experience as it is the food. Many of the best crawfish joints around Jackson feature live music and even allow you to bring your own cooler of beer to fully immerse yourself in the Cajun culture. My personal favorite beer to drink with crawfish is another harbinger of spring each year, the Abita Strawberry. I think the slight hint of fruitiness plays off of the spicy crawfish perfectly.
In Jackson, we are blessed to have numerous locations that provide our tastebuds with this Cajun treat. There are as many opinions about the best place to get crawfish in Jackson as there are people that eat them.
Eat Jackson has compiled our own list of some of our favorite places in the metro area. The options range from little crawfish shacks to the very civilized Friday afternoon crawfish boils at Seafood R’evolution that happen throughout the spring.
The days and operating hours of most of these places vary greatly, as does the rules about attire, and whether or not you can bring your own beer. Each them is on Facebook, and we strongly recommend doing your own fact checking before making the drive.
The Crawdad Hole in Jackson // Call ahead at 601.982.9299
BYOB to this rustic spot located at the MS Agriculture Museum. It features outdoor seating and live music on the weekends.
Sal & Phil’s in Ridgeland // Call ahead to check availability at 601.957.1188
This full service Ridgeland restaurant features lunch, dinner and a full bar. During crawfish season they serve up some of our favorite mudbugs.
Seafood R’evolution in Ridgeland // Call ahead to confirm at 601.853.3474
We’ve never been to a more civilized place to eat crawfish. They’re only available on Friday afternoons. And it’s fun. Go.
Mudbug’s on the Brandon Rez // Call ahead to confirm availability at 601.992.5225
Inconspicuously tucked behind Cockrell’s farmer’s market on Old Fannin Rd, Mudbug’s started as a take out only place but has grown neighborhood hangout for many locals. They have live music on most weekends (during crawfish season) with no cover charge in most cases.
T’Beaux’s Crawfish & Catering – Locations in Pocahontas (601.321.8334), Clinton (601.926.4793) and Byram (769.230.3855) // Call ahead to confirm availability.
T’Beaux’s started in a shack in Vicksburg and has taken the metro area by storm. It’s full service and fully delicious.
Gleason Seafood and Crawfish in Madison // Call ahead to confirm availability at 601.540.1379
This is pickup only, but you can stock up on some fresh Gulf seafood while you’re picking up Madison’s favorite crawfish.
Bentonia Bugs in Bentonia // Call ahead to confirm availability at 662.571.4342
It’s only open on the weekends right now, but locals rave about the steak and shrimp produced by this fan favorite. With live music on the weekends, it’s totally worth the drive.
The Crawfish Hut in Ridgeland // Call ahead to confirm availability at 601.956.3474
One of the longest running crawfish stands on the list. It’s pick up only, so bring your cooler!
The Crawfish King – locations in Flowood (601.326.2723) and Richland (769.251.0723) // Call ahead to confirm availability
The King has a small dine-in area and specializes in pick up. Get them while they’re hot!
Bill’s Creole and Steak Depot in Flora // Call ahead to confirm availability at 601.879.7296
Bill’s may have the best steak on this list, but don’t let it distract you from the crawfish!
>> Where is your favorite place to get crawfish in Jackson? Share the story and share your favorites online! Plus, watch our Facebook and Instagram accounts over the next few weeks for your chance to WIN crawfish from several of these locations!