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How to Eat Crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs (the shell turns red when cooked)

Summer is on its way! For those of you new to eating the not-so-delicacy that is Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs and those of you whose parents didn’t teach you properly, here are my tested instructions for how to eat crabs most efficiently.

I don’t care what anybody says (even my wife), the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab is the best crustacean that God created. You can keep your King Crabs and your Dungeness and don’t even talk to me about Lobsters. The sweet flavor of a Blue Crab mixed with the classic salty and savory seasonings beat lemon and butter any day. Unfortunately, crabs are out of season until June.

As a public service, here is my time-tested, efficient, and effective method for eating crabs.  At first glance, it looks like a lot of steps but the first five should take about five seconds once you’ve had some practice.

  1. Flip the crab on its back. Pry up and remove the “Apron”. For male crabs, it is a long, narrow, triangular section of shell. For the female, it is a wide triangular section. If you press firmly on the tip, it should pop up and you can pry it back and off.
  2. Pop off the back shell. When you pried off the apron, you exposed a gap at the rear of the crab. Slide your thumbs in that space and pull the back away from the body.
  3. Clean out the inside. Some people eat the gunk inside–especially the orange row (eggs) that you find in the female, but I am not a fan. So, you use a finger and clear out the insides.
  4. Gently crush the body to loosen the meat. I typically hold the crab with its exposed back up as if it were a video game controller and squeeze down to break up the sections of meat.
  5. Break the crab in half. It’s just easier to handle that way.
  6. Pull off the back leg and begin to enjoy. If you hold the back leg really close to the body and wrench it forward, you should get a huge chunk of delicious white crabmeat.
  7. Remove the other legs following the same method but realize that you won’t get as much meat because the body cavity and the muscles are smaller.
  8. Repeat on the other side.

Some people will tell you to pull the legs off first, but they’re just plain wrong. If you do that, there is very little chance of getting that succulent chunk of meat attached to each leg. It’s physically impossible to pull all the meat through the tiny leg hole. So, please ignore them or, better yet, educate them on my much more efficient way.

If you need help or a demonstration, call me and send a plane ticket.  I would be glad to come help you out.