Thank you so much, Alex (OffBeat editor), for showing me the fastest one-step way yet to peel a crawfish, but I think I need a better ointment than yellow crawfish fat… Look at me! The little dot right next to my heart line is actually the remainder of a crawfish splinter. The rest are stab wounds.
Alex’s way: Straighten out the crawfish with the head/body in your right hand and tail in your left hand (with your left thumb about mid-tail). Push tail towards the body so the second or third shell segment on the tail disappears into the segment before it. Pull out, separating tail completely. You should now have a big enough piece of tail meat exposed (what was inside the body and the first tail shell segments) to be able to grab it with your teeth and pull the rest out, while squeezing the end of the tail shell. Let’s call this the pump gun method.
The husband’s way: Sever tail from head/body. Peel off first two tail shell segments, by tearing them up and over, sideways. You should now have a big enough piece of tail meat exposed (what was inside the body and the first couple of tail shell segments) to be able to grab it with your teeth and pull the rest of it out, while squeezing the end of the tail shell.
The Swedish way: Use a nutcracker to crack claws (Swedes only eat big crawfish, so they’re old and tough). Use a toothpick to get all the claw meat out. Tear off all the little legs and suck on those. Suck the underside of the body where the little legs were attached. Gently squeeze and lift body shell up and forward. Lick the fat from the inside of the body, then tear body from tail. Use a toothpick to get all the fat from inside the head. While looking at the underside of the tail, using fingers, break triangular tips of tail shell segments off, exposing entire tail. (Now that took a while, which is why we drink one glass of vodka and sing a song for every crawfish we eat.)