🦀 Steam Crabs Like A Marylander🦀

Updated: Mar 31

Alright, I know not everyone out there can get great seafood, but when you can you have to know what to do with it and how to eat it, right? Ok, well this post is here to help explain how to steam, pick, and eat crabs like you are from Maryland. My husband's family were all born and raised in the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so they do know a thing or two about seafood. And as for me, being a country girl from the backwoods of Pennsylvania, had no idea the difference between good and bad crabs, until I became part of this family. Everyone has now moved away from Maryland but still lives close to the ocean just in South Carolina. Even if you aren’t by the ocean you can still get decent crabs!


Family Fun

This activity is one of those activities that build memories. My husband remembers times when he was a kid steaming crabs with his family. It was a staple on Saturday night in the summer for him. My kids had a blast with their grandparents doing the same. It’ll be a great memory for them and hopefully, they will keep the tradition going. The kids loved watching their dad chase the runaway crabs and how the crabs pinched anything that got close to them.

Poston’s Seafood

If you are close to Myrtle Beach and want to do this, we recommend Poston’s Seafood. This place has crabs right off the boat. The boat literally can be seen pulling up to the store with baskets of crabs! This place is first-come-first-serve, so get there early! They opened at 3 pm but my husband and dad got there around 2 pm and were first in line, but said the line got long by 2:15. The times and days they are open vary, so call ahead. Once the boat got there, they ordered a bushel, which fed six adults and one child. They have options to have the crabs steamed there, but we got ours live. Prices vary so you might want to call ahead about this too.

The Steaming Process

Once home we started the task of steaming these delicious creatures. The biggest task was getting the live crabs into the steamer pot. There are feisty and do try to get out. We used tongs to grab them and transfer them. They like to grab the tongs and hang on for dear life.. literally. One did grab my husband's finger and another got out and ran down the driveway. My daughter laughed hysterically. Finally, some crabs were in the pot, and to calm them down and make them tastier, we used J.O. #2 seasoning. Make sure to cover them up between transfers, and fill the pot up to the top and add lots of seasoning. Add water and a couple of splashes of apple cider vinegar in the bottom pot of the boiler. Turn the propane to 3/4 until it starts to steam constantly then add the crab pot on top. Also, “make sure your crabs are not upside down, they won’t taste right” are words of wisdom from my husband. Once the crabs are on, they take 30 minutes to steam. They should come out a beautiful red!! We had a bushel and had to do this process 3 times.

The Science of Picking Crabs

My husband and his family grew up picking crabs. They can do it so fast and well. Me, well I’m a lot slower at it. But I do know the process and I’ll walk you through it. I’ve uploaded a video, as well. First, take the claws off at the joint closest to the body. Sometimes you’ll get meat from the body when doing this, make sure to eat that too. On the claw there is a bump at the joint of the claw, put your knives right below it and hit it lightly with the palm of your hand. Make sure not to cut all the way through. Once you have cracked it break it in half and you get all the meat at once from the claw. Which is the best part. After doing both claws, you flip the crab over, place your knife under the apron, which is very easily noticeable at the bottom of the crab when flipped over and pull it away from the crab. Stick the knife into the crab close to the red shell and pull the crab open. Once open you’ll see the lungs on the sides, scrap these off. Then break the shell down the middle so you have 2 pieces. Pinch the pieces to loosen the meat. There are chambers in these pieces. pick the meat between those chambers. Do this for both pieces and you're done. It is a process but once you get it you’ll be able to eat all of the meat that crabs have.

What to do with Leftovers

We only had 6 crabs left over, so not too many to use but enough for a lot of different recipes. We decided to make crab dip. We used the recipe From Valerie’s Kitchen. Very simple, easy, and very delicious. Crab cakes are always a good way to use the leftovers too, but you have to do them right! Not a lot of filler and fry them. Other ideas could be crab pizza, crab soup, or crab chili.

Have Fun!

I really hope this post encourages you to try this with your family. It was a great time for us and we enjoyed being together, doing something that is not in our normal routine. It’s such a great way to spend a night at the beach especially with Covid on the rise. We didn't have to take the whole family out to a big place for seafood. Please leave us comments if you try or have tried to steam crabs. We would love to hear about your experiences. Have fun and make great memories!

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