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Live Hard Crabs

Buyer's Guide - Live Hard Crabs

Handling and Preparation Instructions

When your live blue crabs arrive, it is important that you steam them as soon as possible. Some of the crabs may be stunned. If you are unsure, turn the crab over and lift its apron. If it is alive, it will move. Do not cook dead crabs.

The Maryland method of preparing live crabs calls for dumping them into a large two-part steamer pot with a tight fitting lid. Put an inch of water in the bottom pot. A traditional Maryland crab boil calls for one half cup vinegar and one half cup beer plus enough water to reach one inch up the side of the pot. The pot will not dry out for the crabs put out a lot of moisture. Layer the crabs in the steamer and sprinkle the layers with Old Bay Seasoning. Cover and steam on medium high heat for about 20 minutes, or until bright red. Cooking times will vary depending on the volume of crabs and the heat source.

Hard Crab Shelf Life:
  • Cook live hard crabs as soon as possible!
  • Steamed: will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator

Cover your table with heavy brown paper or newspaper and set out crab mallets, crab knives, plastic beer cups, rolls of paper towels, and small containers of vinegar, melted butter, and extra seasoning for dipping. Dump the hot crabs in the middle of the table and grab one before they're gone! For more recipes, please refer to Crab Place recipes section.