Host or Plan a Maryland Style Crab Feast
Hard Shell Crabs – The hard shell crab has been enjoyed by many people at summer time feasts and everyday meals. With newspaper covered picnic tables and wooden mallets to help break the shell, people love to sit down and crack open the shells to extract what can be described as the candy of the sea. The succulent meat inside the crab is very tender and is what is cherished by many.
Host Your Own Crab Party-
Items you may need:
- Seasoning (see J.O. Spice)
- Crab Pot
- Newspaper/Crab Paper
- Mallets/Crab Knife
- Cooler of ice water
To start you want to get a large cooler and put a mixture of ice and water into it, to create an ice bath. Place the live crabs into the bath for several minutes, this makes the crabs dormant and easier to handle with your bare hands.
To steam your crabs, take a very large pot of water, place approximately 2” of water in the bottom and bring to a boil. You want to use a rack or steaming basket to keep the crabs out of the water, sprinkle generously with your favorite seafood seasoning, place in pot and cover. After about 10 minutes steam should push out from under the lid, continue to steam for 20-30 minutes. If the shell has reddish-green patches, then the crabs are not yet fully cooked, return to the pot for an additional 10 minutes and check again. When cooked remove crabs and place on a platter, or cover your table with newspaper and spread out across the table, sprinkle again with seasoning, and let the crab feast begin!
To eat a hard shell, you want to turn the crab over on it back and begin by pulling up on the apron. Pull it back away from the body and break off. Turn the crab over and place your finger in the space created by breaking off the apron and lift the top shell off. Next remove and discard the gills (dead man) 6 on each side. Break the body in half, the yellowish material found just behind the mouth area is known as the fat. Some people consider this a delicacy, and some choose to rinse it away. Take one side of the body and hold the swimming paddle just beyond the joint, break free from the body. This will expose the lump meat. Do this for all remaining legs and claws. The rest of the white meat in the body is located in chambers separated by thin walls of cartilage. You can remove this meat by using your fingers or by sliding a knife under and lifting it out. Last but certainly not least the claws. Place the claw on the table pincher facing up. Take a sharp knife and your trusty crab mallet, place the blade of the knife just below the pincher and lightly tap with the mallet, just enough to score the shell. Use both hands, and snap the claw in half, removing the large piece of claw meat. Repeat this process for the upper arm of the claw.
Now you know how to throw your own Maryland Crab Feast. Your family and friends will love it.