Blue crab meat is sometimes compared to lobster meat, the flavor best appreciated by cracking and eating steamed hard shells. Crabs may be prepared as steamed or sautéed. Prepare a large two-part steamer pot by placing the boiler pot on the stove or grill and adding to it enough water, vinegar, seasoning and beer in equal parts to cover the bottom by half an inch. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil and add live crabs. Layer the crabs in the steamer pot and add seasoning to taste.
Cover the steamer and place it on the boiler pot, allowing the crabs to steam until they’re bright orange in color, approximately 25 minutes. Do not overcook as this will cause the meat to dry out. Cover your table with heavy brown paper or newspaper and set out crab mallets, crab knives, scrap bowl, paper towels, melted butter for dipping, and extra seasoning. Dump the hot crabs in the middle.
HOW TO PICK BLUE CRABS:
1… Remove the claws. Dislocate the large front claws from the main body by moving them back towards the top shell of the crab, away from the belly. They will pop out without much resistance. Save those for later; they are the bacon of the seafood world.
2… Peel back the apron. Flip the crab over and pull the triangular part in the center called the apron back with your fingers or a butter knifec. Pop that off and toss it into what will soon be a pile of shells to clean up later.
3… Pry the top of the shell off with your fingers exposing the insides. Start gently poking fun at anyone who is new to this and has just become freaked out, or wait a moment and tell them to scrape out the lungs and mustard before the jesting begins. But, yes, now scrape out the gills and the thick yellow substance called mustard.
4… Once cleaned, gently hold the crab with both hands and crack in half, bending the crab in towards itself gently. You will feel it snap. Now you can get to picking. I like to pull the remaining legs gently out to see if I can get any large chunks of meat to slide out before just going into the main body with my fingers.
5… For the large claws you left aside earlier – these are the best part. I, personally, snap the flexible claw back to see if I can get lucky with any meat sliding out, then snap the leg at the joint before cracking the large claw open if all else fails. With a blunt object, gently break the shell of the claw (a hard whack and you will just get tiny shards of shell everywhere). Peel off the shell, exposing the large chunk of claw meat. Enjoy.
Steamed Blue Crabs
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
- 2 dozen live blue crabs
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves halved
- 2 small yellow onions sliced
- 2 tbsp Louisiana concentrated crab boil
- 4 lemon wedges quartered
- 1 cup old bay
- 2 tbsps Louisiana crab boil
- 3 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 24 oz light beer
- Combine 2 cups of water, all seasoning, including onion, garlic, beer, cayenne pepper, and white vinegar in a large dutch oven and bring seasoned water to a rolling boil.
- Add crabs and return to a rapid boil for approximately 20 minutes, until crabs are bright orange in color and crab meat is flakes easily.
- Remove from heat and let soak for 10 minutes.
- Serve with corn and potatoes if desired.
***For extra spicy flavor, add more crab boil or sprinkle finished product with old bay***