Sure, summer is a great time to head outdoors, fire up the barbecue and get grilling. But burgers and dogs aren’t the only foods meant to be cooked under the open sky. Instead of roasting terrestrial beasts over a charcoal pit, how about boiling some freshwater crustaceans with that open flame—or, better yet, allow an expert to do it for you?

The traditional Southern crawfish boil is having a moment in Silicon Valley, as a bevy of Cajun-style restaurants have sprung up in recent years. While neatniks might want to stay away, those who don’t mind getting a little dirty and enjoy eating with their hands will rejoice at this messy communal dining experience. Remember to pinch the tail and suck the head—and pass a good time, y’all.

Multiple locations
This locally owned chain serves up some of the better seafood boils in town, but they are also a great spot to go grab some fried goodies. Their deep-fried oysters app is a “must-get,” and the off-the-menu crab fries are really turning heads; with its mound of real crab piled high over crispy fried potatoes and topped with a creamy and spicy remoulade sauce.

The Kickin’ Crab
Multiple locations
With their third San Jose location newly opened on Blossom Hill Road, the Kickin’ Crab is making a play for South Bay Cajun supremacy. Known for their garlic noodles, nautical décor and a spicy sauce that really brings the heat, their Kickin’ Combo Deals are the go-to item here. Pro-tip: they allow diners to mix-and-match their choice of seafood for one fixed price.

The Boiling Crab
Multiple locations
Hailing originally from southeastern Texas, The Boiling Crab is what many consider to be the king of Vietnamese-Cajun cuisine. They’ve got more crustaceans on the menu than you can shake a stick at—including king crab, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, snow crab, blue crab, Dungeness crab—and even oysters. While they are also known for their excruciating wait times (diners have been known to stick around for up to two hours for a chance to feast here), the real draw is their sauces. Try the whole shebang.

Poorboy’s Cajun Kitchen
2605 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
Poorboy’s is upping the ante by offering diners a bigger menu selection, which includes a lot of the usual suspects for seafood boils (e.g., crab, shrimp, crawfish). They also offer up a nice selection of po’ boy sandwiches, jambalaya, wings and craft beers on tap. For those looking to kickstart the party, you can order your brew in Vegas-style 88-ounce beer “bazookas.” Yeah, you read that right. … The soft-shell crab po’ boy with an order of bacon chowder fries is a strong combo that’s hard to pass up.

SJ Crawfish
393 N Capitol Ave
One of the newer entrants to the game, as they’ve been open less than two years, this locally owned spot relies on friendly service, fresh seafood, tasty sauces and almost zero wait time compared to the other locations. They feature seven unique sauces available in four heat levels: mild, medium, spicy—and someone call the fire department. Their popular SJ Style sauce features a combination of their Cajun, tamarind and pineapple sauces mixed into one spicy, tangy and sweet combination.