There are many different opinions on the proper way to open and eat a blue crab.  No matter how you do it, it takes experience to become great at it.  Not only is the blue crab sweet and great tasting it is also the effort that is put into cleaning the crabs that adds to the whole experience.   To start you must first understand how the blue crab is built.  The crabs are lined with cartilage that create cavities in which the meat is contained.   The secret is to expose these cavities without destroying the integrity of the cavities allowing for easy extraction of the meat.


First remove the legs and claws.  The legs can be snapped in half and the meat squeezed out of the shell.  Use a crab mallet to crack open the claws.  Do not smash the claw with the mallet because this will just smash the meat.  Just hit the claw hard enough to crack the shell.  Use your fingers to peel back the cracked shell and expose the claw meat.  Once the meat is exposed on all sides, slide the meat off the inner cartilage.

Next, lift the bottom apron of the crab and pull off the top shell.  Remove the gills (dead mans fingers) and discard.  There is a myth that if you eat the gills you will die.  This is not true.  Although I am not sure why anyone would want to eat the gills, because they taste horrible, they will not harm you.  The yellowish substance that is located in the middle of the crab is the crab fat, better know as the crab mustard.  Many people eat the mustard and some discard it.  It is very similar to steak in the fact that the fat can be the most flavorful part of the crab.

Next, with one side of the crab in one hand and the other side in the other hand, snap the body of the crab into two pieces, the left and right side.  With a small sharp knife, cut the side of the crab horizontally.  This will expose the chambers of meat allowing for easy removal.  Do this to same process to the other side of the crab.

Next, pat your self on your back, because you just successfully cleaned a Blue Crab.  (you might want to wash your hands first, because by now you are probably covered in crab seasoning)

Crab Seasoning

The Maryland style crab seasoning is made from different spices, paprika and rock salt.  Many use Old Bay as their crabCrab Seasoning seasoning, however, Old Bay lacks rock salt which is one of the main ingredients in steaming crabs Maryland Style.  JO spice #2 seasoning is also a very common choice.  The JO Spice includes the rock salt.