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Author Topic: Help preparing crab shells for Deviled Crabs.  (Read 149 times)
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8W8
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« on: June 10, 2019, 10:06:24 AM »

I am having a lot of trouble finding the best way to prepare blue crab shells for baking Steve's Best Deviled Crab recipe.  The NC Fisherman link is no longer valid and all I can really find by searching are brief references to clean really well and either boil or bake the shells and then freeze.

I tried boiling about 8 shells from the same CBC crabs I was going to pick and they looked about right but my wife thinks I might have to remove the eyes, antenna, etc. for our inland guest this weekend.  I'd like to clean and prep the shells and then freeze them for company coming in this weekend.  I followed Crabcruncher's instructions with 5 qts of water, add crabs and shells, returned to a boil followed with a 5 minute covered boil and then a 10 wait in the hot water off of the heat.
The crabs picked easily but do I need to bake the shells afterwards to dry them out before freezing?

I am also kind of surprised to see so many recipes that no longer use the cleaned shells but rather aluminum foil boats or ramekins.  Is there a safety risk in making Deviled Crab in their own shells or is this just because you need more shells than you have crab filling once you have added everything on Steve's ingredient list (breadcrumbs, bell pepers, etc.).

Thanks in advance.
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Wallco99
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 10:11:56 AM »

Can't you just steam them by themselves? I would think that would work.
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8W8
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2019, 10:38:38 AM »

Sure, I could steam them.  I just thought since I had 5 qts of boiling water on the stove from cooking the cleaned crabs that I might as well just toss in the shells too.  I saw a reference to baking the shells at 350 prior to stuffing them but it seemed to me that would just cause whatever I had missed in the cleaning to bake on if I started in the oven.  Can I can just freeze the boiled shells and use them a couple of weeks latter?  I also wondered if the baking process would allow you to store the shells which might be "heat dried" and at room temperature and not take up room in the freezer.
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Wallco99
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 10:48:39 AM »

Why the [Sam Hill] are you boiling the crabs anyway? They should be in a steam pot as well. Not at all a fan of boiled crabs.
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Wallco99
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 10:53:08 AM »

You're not eating the shell, you are just trying to create a cool looking "crab bowl". All you have to do is get them to turn red and stiffen up a little. Really can't be too complicated. My grandfather used to throw a handful of well cleaned back shells on top of his pre-cleaned crabs and steamed everything together. Then my grandmother had crab shell bowls for later when she made her crab imperial.
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8W8
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 11:19:25 AM »

Hi Wallco,  I boiled instead of steamed because I was following Crabcruncher's suggestion on this forum that if you want crab meat for picking for other recipes that boiling gave higher yields and easier picking.  Here is the link:  https://www.bluecrab.info/forum/index.php?topic=75901.msg676017#msg676017

I tried this with 8 average sized crabs yesterday and ended up with 14 oz of meat.  I guess I should have weighed the crabs I started out with first but that almost gave me the pound of meat.  The meat was very easy to pick as well.  When I am going to put crabs on the table and let everyone dig in with their own tools I do steam them.

I am probably over thinking the prep of the shells but I want to store them and got to thinking that I might be able to cook and dry them in the oven ahead of time and maybe save them at room temperature saving freezer space.
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BJ1fish
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2019, 07:37:28 AM »

I boil my crabs live not CBC. When I make stuffed crabs I pull all of the guts from the shell and also remove the eyes. Then I scrub the shell with a small brush.  A cheap tooth brush works fine. How did your Deviled crabs come out?
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