An open fire is a fantastic way to cook crayfish. All they really need is a little oil or butter. Here, because we had them, I used the sensational fragrance of makrut lime leaves to add a little extra zing to our feast.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

I’d recommend eating them like this in Port Davey, the majestic waterway off Tassie’s west coast, but you may need to line up a sailing boat to get you there.


  • makrut lime leaves, centre ribs removed
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fresh green chilli, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100 g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 whole uncooked crayfish, at least 1.2 kg each


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place the makrut leaves, ginger, chilli and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound until a relatively smooth paste forms. Add the butter and combine well.

Using a large sharp knife or a cleaver, cut the crayfish in half lengthways, and if desired remove the mustard from the head but it does contain a lot of flavour so I usually leave it as is.

Preheat a barbecue chargrill plate over high, or light a fire and allow it to die down until the coals are white, then place a hot plate on top and allow it to get very hot.  Cook the crayfish, cut-side down for just long enough to start to colour the flesh. Turn over and smear the butter all over the flesh, then cook, cut-side up for about 4-5 minutes or until the meat has turned white. If you’re unsure, you can take a sneak peak inside by just inserting a knife and have a look underneath. Serve immediately. 


This recipe is from Gourmet Farmer Afloat.