Steamed crabs - MD style - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 08-16-2011, 11:40 PM   #1
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Default Steamed crabs - MD style

So I'm from MD, and the only other state where I will even eat crabs is FL. Maybe they know how to do it in AL and LA, but it's still never the same. I've been eating them my whole life, and I will also say that different crabs from different areas do taste different, even opposite sides of the chesapeake bay taste different.

That being said, I feel it is my duty to pass on some good MD stuff to you. Steaming great crabs takes practice, mainly with steam times for different amounts of crabs. Here's what I have learned over the years:

The best thing to use is a large steam pot over a propane burner, especially if you have 1/2 bushel or more. Stove top will work for about a dozen at a time or whatever you can fit. You want a grate in the bottom to keep the crabs above the fluids. (Btw if anyone knows where I can get a burner and steam pot cheap around here or is selling one, please let me know, I didn't bring any with me. I'll take a smaller 1/2 to 3/4 bushel pot too)

Needed: Apple Cider Vinegar
A beer or 2
Water if you want
J.O. Spice!!!! - this is a must, unless you have your own seasoning you'd rather have, this is the stuff that makes them good.
Corn

Fill your pot with one of those smaller/medium bottles of apple cider vinegar. Might want to save some for dipping the meat later. Add a 16oz budweiser or 2 12oz cans. The total fluid shouldn't come above the lever of the grate, which should be about 1 1/2 inches off the bottom. You can add water if you'd like as well, I often do 12 oz of water (just fill the beer bottle and dump it in).

Turn the burner on and put the pot on top. Start putting your crabs in. When you have one layer, LOAD them up with the seasoning. Hit them in the eyes to calm them down. Keep loading and have your partner add seasoning as they go in, or just do it in layers and add yourself. When you've finished, close it up and wait for the pot to start steaming. For a full bushel, steam the crabs for 20 minutes AFTER you start to see the steam. This should be a total of 30-45 min. depending on how many you have. I also like to add a dozen corn or so for the last 10-15 min. Half shuck them and put seasoning on them as well.

Taste test to make sure they're done. Turn off the burner and take out some corn. When you load a tray of crabs up, add more seasoning on top of them. You want the seasoning to get all over your hands when eating them because it mixes in with the meat a little and adds taste. Pick and enjoy for the next 6 hours!!!!

I'm sure most people have the same or similar methods? hope y'all enjoy!

If I've forgotten anything then I'll put more in replies.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:25 AM   #2
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thanks for the tips,I had no idea!, I plan on getting some crab pots soon and giving it a try.
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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Fun fact: did you know 90% of Maryland's crab comes from Florida? I will try your recipe and report back! I'm still a huge fan of a pot of water and oldbay.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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I prefer to clean mine first, then follow the same procedure
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:01 PM   #5
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I never steam dead crabs, they come out mushy, so haven't tried cleaning them first. Not sure where the 90% number came from, the only out of state crabs I have ever had in a shack up there were from Louisiana. I usually eat my own catch anyway haha
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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btw where are all the commercial men around here? And does anyone use a trotline? There are no specifications on them in the FL crabbing regulations....
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullshark View Post
Fun fact: did you know 90% of Maryland's crab comes from Florida? I will try your recipe and report back! I'm still a huge fan of a pot of water and oldbay.
I may have told this story on here before but I will again. I used to go up to Ocean City MD every August for the big White Marlin Tournament there and ate many crabs at many restaurants. These are the things I find strange.

1. Why are there "Blue Crab" restaurants everywhere up there and almost ZERO here? They all serve frozen snow or king crab but have signs with Blue Crabs on them.

2. The last time I went up was for a funeral in the city( Baltimore) and I ate at a place close to the church. I ordered a dozen for my group of #1's and boy were they ever! The biggest Blue Crabs I had ever seen. I asked the waiter if they got them from the bay and he said he would ask the owner. Come to find out the owner knew my Father in Law from way back and tells us " We get these beauties from Louisiana, best you can get" You can imagine how strange I thought that was. So out of curiosity,, next time I was in NO I ate at Commanders Palace and they had Crabs on the special, so I ask the same question I did the guy in MD and he says " We import all our crabs from the Chesapeake bay area" WTH????

I can say after the first time I steamed my crabs they way I was told they did it up there, I have not boiled them since. I have tweaked my ingredients a bit but I find it strange that they have more liquid/flavor steamed then when you let them sit in water after boiling. I also like the fact that you get that old bay on your fingers that transfers to the meat as you eat em, yum!!
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:48 PM   #8
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Haha I'm right there with you on that perplexing thing with the crabs. Where was the place you ate? Best I know is in Essex Baltimore, called "Bill's Terrace Inn," and they have the biggest crabs around from Louisiana, although I will say that the homemade ones we get on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake are by far the best I ever eat. Also, if you just use more liquid the steamed crabs become less watery as well. My mom likes them when you crack a claw and fluid pours out. I like them when its the perfect tender meat and the juice is all contained within. With the right mixtures of fluids, you can get the top ones how I like them and the bottom ones in my mom's style haha.
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