Crawfish fest promises good eats, fundraising (video)

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

April 10, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.

A pile of spicy crawfish with corn and potatoes  from Texas Seafood in Victoria.

A pile of spicy crawfish with corn and potatoes from Texas Seafood in Victoria.

Leave your favorite shirt at home and your finest jewelry on the vanity; it's time to get messy with some crawfish.

Saturday, the Scott Taylor Band is bringing in about 4,000 pounds of crawfish for its second annual "Eat Tail Suck Head Crawfish Fest."

In its first year, the event was at Yoakum Gin and Feed. This year, it's moving to the Victoria Community Center for a larger show. This year's event is twice as big and includes two stages for nearly nonstop music from noon to midnight, Taylor said.

The 32-year-old musician had a dream of having a festival of his own after attending one of Willie Nelson's festivals a few years ago.

"I love crawfish and music so I decided to bring the two together," he said.

At the ripe age of 16, Taylor was introduced to his first crawfish. He remembered being at a backyard party surrounded by his friends getting ready for a jam session, and there was a mountain of hot, steaming crawfish in front of them. With a little instruction, he was ready to go: Pinch the head, twist the tail and pull.

"That was the first time, and I was hooked after that," he said. Taylor tried sucking the head of the crawfish but found that it wasn't his thing, he said.

To make sure there is enough crawfish for the festival, Taylor is partnering with Robert Smith of the the Krazy Kookers from Houston to cook up 4,000 pounds of mudbugs straight from Sulphur, La. Last year, Taylor said, the festival cooked up 1,500 pounds worth of the little critters in Yoakum.

"I wanted to make sure we had enough for everyone to get some," he said. "If we have some leftover, we'll be sitting up on that stage after everybody's gone peeling crawfish tails and bagging it up for some etouffee and some gumbo the next day."

Eating the tiny morsels that are crawfish tails might not be for everyone, Taylor said, so there will be hot dogs and hamburgers available, too.

The Krazy Kookers are not messing around either. They've got 4-foot-by-4-foot cooking boxes, which each sit on top of five jet burners.

"We can actually do 300 pounds every 15 minutes," Smith, 36, said.

The team got its start with competitive barbecue cooking under the name First Class BBQ, he said, and crawfish just fell onto the menu about six years ago.

For the crawfish fest, Smith said, there will be two batches to choose from: the kid batch and the adult batch.

"Our spicy is spicy enough for everybody to eat. If you want to try three or four of them to see if you like them, you can do that," he said. "They're not so hot that they just burn your mouth, and you can't eat them. They're a good spicy."

Smith compared sucking a crawfish head to shot-gunning a can of hoppy beverage.

"When you crack in and you suck as hard as you can, you're gonna have all that spice and all that seasoning right there," Smith said.

Taylor said 18 artists, ranging from an 11-piece band to a one-man band, will perform. Come for the crawfish and enjoy the music, he said.

"It's a good, beer-drinking, party-time kind of food."



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