CrabFest – How to Make Awesome Steamed Crabs at Home

Steamed Maryland Blue Crab
We recently went to a Crab Fest at a local restaurant.

We didn’t plan it this way, but we developed a slow, sweet crustaceous-y, cocktail-y buzz on the restaurant’s patio — sometimes basking in the warmth of the full sun, sometimes in the refreshing shade of an umbrella, and finally in the combined glow of candles, neon, and Christmas lights overhead — over the course of ten hours.

It was, in a word, “epic.”

(You can peep the full gallery from the event on TheDeliciousLife.)
Steamed Crabs with Old Bay
We had so much fun that we want to do it again, but this East Coast-style CrabFest is a once-a-year event, something of a novelty because we are, well, we live in Los Angeles.

So we have to do it ourselves.

It was our first time, so we thought there was some magic recipe for the “seasoning” on the crabs. Then someone told us that it’s just “Old Bay.”

Good grief. That’s all?!
Old Bay Seasoning

The rest doesn’t take much — throw newspaper across a table, grab a few mallets and most importantly chill some beer. We’re guessing that the hardest part of the whole thing is sourcing the crabs, but we’re happy to do it with whatever type of crabs are available to us here on the West coast.

Actually, the hardest part (for us CrabFest n00bs, that is), is opening the crab and getting at the pockets of perfectly sweet crabmeat inside. We have a pictorial How-To below. It ends, of course, the way we did. Sit next to a native and let him “show you how it’s done.”

How to Open a Steamed Blue Crab

How to Open a Steamed Crab
In the pictures above, from left to right:
1. Say “hello” to your little friend.
2. Turn him over to get at the “apron” (the underbelly). This is a boy crab! (No really, it is.)
3. Slide a fork or knife under and pull down that little (I mean “huge,” honey, huge!) thing.
4. Lift up the body like you’re raising the hood of a tiny crustacean car.
5. Pull off the body (and toss the empty shell)
6. Split the body
7. Pull the halves apart
8. Scrape of the gills (the feather-looking things)
9. Pick out the meat from inside the halves of the body. (Or just pretend like you just don’t know how and have someone else do it and feed you :D)

Steamed Crab Backfin

Steamed Blue Crabs

from Old Bay

Steamed Blue Crabs Ingredients

1 dozen live blue crabs
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning

Steamed Blue Crabs Directions:

In a pot with a raised rack (minimum of 2 inches high), add equal quantities of water and vinegar to just below level of rack. Bring to a boil.

Carefully layer crabs on rack; sprinkle each layer with Old Bay. Cover and steam 20 to 30 minutes depending on size of crabs or until crabs turn red.

by Sarah J. Gim on July 6, 2010 · 17 comments

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