Oven Baked Packhorse Crayfish

Oven Baked Packhorse Crayfish

For this recipe I am using a large 4kg crayfish and ingredients/utensils to suit the size. The shell of large packhorse are fairly thick so a hacksaw makes a tidy job of splitting the crayfish. The trick with crayfish is to undercook it, as the meat will continue to cook as it rests and you don’t want overcooked, chewy crayfish! By placing the dish low in the oven, it heats the liquid in the bottom and creates a steaming effect. Alternatively you can use an electric frying pan for the same effect.


• Liquid layer – can use a mixture of cream and white wine or even just water. I prefer to use fish stock

• Garlic butter

• Fresh chopped chives and/or parsley

• Salt and pepper

• Bay leaves (optional)

You will need

• Large deep oven dish or alternatively an electric fry pan with lid

• Tin foil (if using oven dish)

• Hacksaw


Prepare crayfish

• Use a hacksaw to carefully split the crayfish lengthways, right through the middle of the carapace and tail

• Remove the “poo tube” and any unwanted innards. Rinse with water if needed

• Depending on the size of your dish, the crayfish may need to be separated further. If so – remove the legs and horns. These can be boiled separately while the body is cooking (which is what I did with this crayfish). The carapace (head/shell) can be removed from the tail and cooked separately or placed in the same dish for cooking.

• Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees

• Place the split crayfish shell-side down in the dish

• Add about a 2cm layer of stock or liquid to the dish (the shell needs to be sitting in it, you don’t want the liquid covering the meat.

• Add bay leaves to the liquid if desired

• Smear garlic butter to your liking over the crayfish flesh

• Sprinkle with chives and parsley and a little salt and pepper

• Cover the dish with tin foil and crimp the edges so that any steam and moisture cannot escape

• Place the dish in the lowest position in the oven and bake for 20-30mins (depending on the size of the crayfish)

• Check after 15mins and keep a close eye on the meat by parting the tail meat with a knife. The meat will turn opaque and the middle wants to still be a little transparent when you take it out of the oven

• Remove from the oven immediately and keep covered to trap the steam and continue cooking

• Serve hot and steaming!

   This article is reproduced with permission of   
New Zealand Fishing News

December 2019 - Jordy Bardin
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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