April 15, 2002 - Mudbugs

How fast can you peel a crawfish? Well, the world-class mudbug peelers can be found in the St. Martin Parish community of Grand Anse. It's a sight to make your mouth water -- four sacks of crawfish going into the pot. They do this all day long, six days a week, in Grand Anse.

At Bayou Land Seafood they boil up to 800 pounds of mudbugs every day, pretty much the same way you do it at home except they don't add any spices. After the boiling, they soak the crawfish in an ice bath. Here they peel them cold. And do they peel them -- all day long sack after sack of mudbugs!

But are the people who do all that peeling ever tempted to suck the heads? One of the peelers, Elaine Hardy, seemed to be speaking for them all when she said, "No, I don't suck the heads, not even at home. I'll eat the fat, scoop it out, but not suck the heads." And they pack that tasty fat in the bag right along with the rest of the crawfish tails.

Plant manager Adam Johnson says the spillway mudbugs are coming in with a vengeance this year. They process both Atchafalaya Basin and pond raised crawfish at Bayou Land -- but they say the spillway mudbugs are bigger and tastier than the farm raised variety.