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How to Throw a Proper Maryland Crab Feast

What's Cooking on Fox 5

July 1, 2008

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Written by Greg Cain

Maryland hard crab season runs from April to Mid-November, but there is no better time to throw a backyard crab feast than the middle of summer.

You will need:

  • Live Hard shell Blue Crabs (2-3+ per person)
  • Cold Beer
  • Side items - suggested items can include fresh sliced tomato salad, corn-on-the-cob, cole slaw, crusty bread, basically whatever you want. The focus is really on the crabs.
  • Seasoning - Old Bay (or your favorite crab boil)
  • Crab mallets
  • Crab knives
  • Plastic beer cups
  • Paper towels
  • Vinegar and melted butter for dipping
  • Brown paper or newspaper

When your live blue crabs arrive, (by delivery or otherwise) it is important that you steam them as soon as possible.

The Maryland method of preparing live crabs calls for dumping them into a large pot with a tight fitting lid and about an inch of water in the bottom. (Don't worry about the pot drying out, since the crabs release a lot of moisture.)

Then layer in the crabs with Old Bay Seasoning or your favorite crab boil, a half cup of vinegar and a half cup beer.

Set upon the heat, cover and steam. Drink the remaining beer and then some. Ready to serve after about 30 minutes.

Cover your table with heavy brown paper or newspaper and set out crab mallets, crab knives, plastic beer cups, paper towels, vinegar and melted butter for dipping, side dishes, and extra seasoning. Dump the hot crabs in the middle. Be sure to grab one before they're gone!