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Circle M Crawfish - Rodney's -
The Crawfish Stand
Crawfish is an established wholesale supplier of
live crawfish, shrimp, oysters, frog legs and a
variety of other foods. The catering
side of the business offers the best crawfish &
shrimp boils in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and
Crawfish Restaurant, also known as Rodney's, is
located in Big Sandy, Texas. The menu includes
crawfish, shrimp, alligator, boudin, along with
choice steaks and other items. Live music is often
featured Thursday-Saturday evenings with a family
The Crawfish Stand sits in
front of the restaurant for fast and convenient
Find out more by checking out
the videos and news articles listed below:
Early E. Texas crawfish season
is big win for customers, restaurants
Posted: Feb 04, 2016 8:51 PM CST Updated: Feb
04, 2016 9:19 PM CST
By Paul River
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
TX (KLTV) - For seafood restaurants that
sell crawfish, Super Bowl weekend is
typically one of the busiest times of the
year, but one East Texas restaurant says
this whole year has been busy.
Crawfish season, which usually starts in
March, began in November this time around,
giving East Texans a very early start to
chow down on the mud bugs.
like Tony Herbert an employee at Circle M
Crawfish in Big Sandy, it's been an
extremely busy year.
"Everyone gets like crawfish fever, and it's
good to see there's a real high demand, and
it's got busier and busier with each year,"
In East Texas, crawfish fever came a lot
earlier, all the way back in November,
giving folks plenty of time to dig in.
love them, I have for years had crawfish
boils every year; come over here just for
the crawfish," says Keith Fowler, a customer
of the restaurant.
easy to understand Fowler’s enthusiasm since
during this time of year the crawfish are
"But this year, they didn't; they started
out nice, because they were able to
grow...they were able to grow in wet weather
and warmer days," says Joe Mitchell, another
employee of Circle M Crawfish.
Warmer days also led to a drop in prices.
"We started out
when we boiled them 6.99 a pound, this year 5.99 a
pound, and then it comes down to 5.79 a pound," says
It also led to a few firsts, according to Rodney
Murphy, the owner of Circle M Crawfish.
"The quality of the crawfish seem to have been
better for this early in the year than I think I can
ever remember," says Murphy.
The great taste, better quality, and lower prices,
are all going to keep those at the restaurant a lot
busier during the big Super Bowl weekend.
"It's exciting; we got the Super Bowl going on, we
got Mardi Gras going on, and we're all excited about
it. We're all gearing up for it, and the next
weekend’s Valentine's Day, so the sky's the limit
right now," says Herbert.
recent colder weather has raised prices a little
bit, but they expect prices to go back down once the
weather warms up. While Murphy says it's not the
earliest he's seen crawfish start, he says this year
they've been able to get more in February than they
All rights reserved.
Morning Telegraph, March 27, 2011 |
Longview News-Journal, March 22, 2012
Big Sandy Crawfish Joint A
Hot Spot For East Texans
Tyler Morning Telegraph
Sunday, March 27, 2011
BIG SANDY -- Rodney Murphy
claims there's no secret
recipe to boiling crawfish
So, what is his secret?
It's all about getting the
freshest crawfish available, cleaning them right and keeping them moving until
they hit the pot of boiling water and spices, he said.
Murphy, 56, has been running
Circle M Crawfish in Big Sandy for 16 years.
With warmer weather also comes
the peak of crawfish season. And with that comes crawfish boils in the sun, and
spending good times with friends and family. Born and raised in the New London
area, Murphy was an auctioneer, working at cattle auctions in Louisiana for 10
years when he took on a side job helping with crawfish boils on the weekends.
After he hung up his
auctioneering hat, he sold
crawfish and other seafood
all over Louisiana for six
years while he lived in
Cotton Port, near Monroe,
Murphy decided the East
Texas area needed a crawfish
stand, so he moved back to
Big Sandy and set up shop.
Photo courtesy of Tyler Morning Telegraph
Rodney's Big Sandy Crawfish
Joint A Hot Spot For East Texans
has owned and
M Crawfish in
Big Sandy for 16
which he has
evolve from a
one employee to
one with 10.
He started Circle M Crawfish,
also known as Rodney's, selling crawfish along with one employee out of a small
"For the first four years, I
had to give away about half (of what we made) because no one ate crawfish," he
said. "Now it seems like there's one (crawfish stand) on just about every
Murphy has been slowly
expanding his business over the last 12 years, first adding a tent to his simple
establishment that now consists of a metal building with sawdust on the floors,
picnic tables and Mardi Gras decor. He has 10 employees.
They purchase and pick up
crawfish from different locations in South Louisiana about six days per week to
ensure they sell freshest crawfish available.
He gets his shrimp from
Delcambre, La., his oysters from Houma, La., and his King Crab legs from "way up
north." His jalapeno boudin is made in Beaumont and his homemade tamales come
from Zwolle, La. -- a town with a Spanish/Indian culture which celebrates each
October with a Hot Tamale Festival. Murphy also sells fried catfish, shrimp and
Murphy and two other employees
do the cooking at Circle M Crawfish. "The main thing is we have a real good
system of watching our crawfish," he said.
The live mudbugs are washed and
sorted as they move over a conveyer belt, before being dumped into large
coolers. They are then thrown into huge bats of boiling water with plenty of
spicy seasoning and minutes later, the perfectly boiled critters are moved to
another ice chest, where more seasoning is added and they are stirred the old
fashioned way -- by hand -- and are ready for the customer to start peeling and
At the crawfish stand, the
smaller boiler can hold up to three 35-pound sacks of crawfish at a time, while
the bigger boiler can handle up to seven sacks at a time.
Sometimes it's hard to keep up
with the customers that line up outside. "It seems like everyone wants to come
at once," he said.
Murphy has always liked cooking
and really got into it in his 30s, cooking gumbo and other recipes for friends
at parties on the weekend. He loves cooking seafood and Cajun food, as well as
steak and hamburgers, and just about anything, he said.
For the last 10 years, he has
been catering backyard parties and other events in East Texas and Dallas and as
far away as Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Texas. He cooks seafood of all types,
as well as steaks, which he can grill 100 at a time.
About four years ago, Murphy
added wholesale to his business. He runs a wholesale route, delivering crawfish,
shrimp and other seafood to about 15 businesses and restaurants from Shreveport
Live crawfish is his big thing
-- people come in seven days a week during the crawfish season to pick up the
crawly critters to boil themselves for get-togethers.
"Think about us when you're
having a backyard party," he said.
His catering services and
people who buy live crawfish aside, Murphy is now boiling an average of about
6,000 pounds per week strictly for his customers at the stand in Big Sandy. And
that's not as many as usual for this time of year.
His business fell off a little
in the last nine months or so because there haven't been as many bricklayers,
concrete workers and roofers working in the area, he said, adding that the
majority of his clientele are laborers.
Crawfish season normally begins
after Thanksgiving and goes until about the middle of June. This year's season
began later because of the few extra weeks of colder weather. The last six
months have been difficult for Murphy because of the delay, but now that the
crawfish season is picking up, so will his business, he said.
By this time of year, the price
of crawfish is also usually lower, but since the extra cold nights and later
start, the crawfish have been smaller and the prices higher, he said.
When prices are lower, Murphy
buys and sells more crawfish. His prices fluctuate with what he pays, he said.
Because the crawfish have started coming in better -- which means bigger -- this
week, he's looking for prices to come down a bit, he added.
The seafood business also
suffered from the BP oil spill in the gulf last year, which gave seafood a bad
name. Even though Murphy was buying his shrimp during that time in Texas,
customers complained that their shrimp tasted oily, he said.
The seafood industry has
finally started to recover and he said he is now getting a lot of oysters and
shrimp from Louisiana. Shrimp keeps Murphy busy when the crawfish are out of
season, he said.
During crawfish season, the
stand is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9
p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is only open six days per week during the
Circle M Crawfish is located at
409 Texas Highway 155 South in Big Sandy and can be reached by calling
903-636-9199 or 903-360-8946.
photo courtesy of Les Hassell
Crawfish stand keeps ‘em coming back
Owner Rodney Murphy, left, and Jose Reyes prepare
a fresh batch of crawfish.
Crawfish stand keeps ‘em
Thursday, March 22, 2012
by Ryan C. Perry
BIG SANDY — What started 16
years ago as a takeout-only
crawfish stand has turned
into a somewhat-sprawling,
establishment and music
The Crawfish Stand in Big
Sandy, the restaurant side
of distributor Circle M
Crawfish, has progressively
expanded seating — the
capacity is around 190
It is doubtful people come
to the popular crawfish
stand for an elegant dining
experience. The floor is
covered with wood shavings,
the walls and ceilings are
covered with foam insulation
into which patrons have sunk
beer bottle caps, and people
have largely disregarded the
"Please do not write on the
walls” signs posted where
wooden walls have been
built. Picnic benches are
the only seating option.
Murphy, owner of the restaurant, says
people come for the unique taste of the
little crustaceans resembling lobsters.
“(Crawfish) isn’t like anything else —
it has its own taste,” Murphy said. “It
has a taste that people just say they
crave. We have some people who come by
at least three or four times a week. I
have one boy who drives from Van, and
he’ll be here four times a week. It’s
like a fix to him.”
With his efforts, Murphy has expanded a
southern Louisiana taste to East Texas
and says the Crawfish Stand has piqued
area residents’ interest in crawfish.
Louisiana supplies more than 90 percent
of the crawfish in the U.S.
“It’s seems more people are eating
crawfish than ever have before,” Murphy
says. “When we first started, it seemed
like not that many people ate crawfish.
It seems like every year, more people
end up liking them.”
Crawfish thrive in the conditions
present in rice fields, and the rice
farmers of Louisiana have used the
little crustacean to help boost profits.
Crawfish season is from early spring
through June, and that is when Murphy
said he sees an increase in customers at
“With them being seasonal, people try
eat them when they can get them, and
then they have a craving for them the
other seven or eight months,” Murphy
said. “It makes them want them while we
Although the taste is enough to bring
people to the stand, this past summer’s
record heat drove away business. In
preparation for the brutal East Texas
summer, the restaurant has added air
“We had water fans last year, but it got
so hot, the water came out of the hose
at about the temperature of bath water,”
Murphy said. “It didn’t pick back up
until crawfish season started back up.”
The Crawfish Stand has expanded their
menu to drive business when crawfish is
no longer in season. The menu for
includes shrimp, catfish, alligator
sausage, boudin, hot links, chicken and
“In the past, we cut back to five days a
week Wednesday through Sunday after
crawfish season,” Murphy said. “This
year, we’re going to try to stay open
seven days a week with the other items
that we sell.”
According to Murphy, his employees at
the stand know that to keep the stand
open, they have to keep putting out a
superior product. The kitchen of the
stand is considered one the hottest jobs
in the area, so it takes a passion for
cooking to keep business thriving.
“I always loved to go to crawfish boils,
and I always loved to help my friends
cook crawfish back when I sold seafood
in Louisiana.” Murphy said. “It was a
lot of fun, and I like cooking. It
doesn’t matter that it’s crawfish; I
just like to cook.”
One of the most popular appetizers on
the menu feature the crawfish’s cousin:
shrimp. Murphy said the shrimp stuffed
pepper accompanies just about everything
on the menu. Shrimp also is more readily
available than crawfish, so it is a
viable menu option year round.
you haven't eaten at Circle M
Crawfish, then you haven't eaten any
great crawfish. We love it! ...
Allaso Ranch Staff Weekly Tradition
at our favorite crawfish spot!! ...
It's always a good time eatin'
crawfish at the Crawfish Stand ...
Had a great day and night at Circle
M Crawfish..always good times, great
food and great people! Y'all Rock!
Best seafood around here! ...
Circle M Crawfish . 14449 State Hwy 155 S . Big Sandy, TX
75755 . 903-636-9199