Steamed Crabs


Spending many fun-filled days boating on the Potomac river and eating steamed crabs at all the local crab houses, I set out, with the help of my best friend Greg, to duplicate the cooking technique and spice mixtures used at these restaurants. Captain John's Crab House uses mostly salt in their recipe, where Parker's Crab Shore uses mostly spice. This recipe fits in somewhere between the two.


Crab Seasoning


Crab Seasoning Mix

Note: If J.O. brand seafood seasoning is not available in your area, simply substitute Old Bay (available nationwide) instead.

Click here for recipes to make your own Chesapeake Bay style seafood seasoning mix.


Cooking Technique


Crabs in Steamer2.GIF (27808 bytes)

Steaming Crabs

Fill a crab steamer with 1 part water and 1 part apple cider vinegar. Heat on high until the liquid comes to a full rolling boil. Add live hard shell crabs to the steamer sprinkling each layer generously with the dry seasoning mix.

Note that you can easily make your own steamer. Just use any large pot with a makeshift floor to keep the crabs out of the steaming liquids.

Cover and wait for wisps of steam to escape from under lid, about 10 minutes. Continue cooking over high heat for an additional 20-30 minutes until crabs turn bright orange. If shells are dark red or have reddish-green patches, then the crabs are not yet fully cooked.

Remove crabs from steamer and place on a large platter and sprinkle lightly with the dry seasoning mix. It is best to eat the crabs on a newspaper-covered table which makes cleanup a snap--simply roll up your "table cloth", scraps and all, and toss in the trash. Serve with saltine crackers, small containers of apple cider vinegar (some people like to dip the crab meat into it) and plenty of cold beverages!


Important Safety Tip


Important Note

It is extremely important to cook only living (live) crabs. Like all fresh seafood, crabs are extremely perishable and spoil rapidly. Since it is impossible to know how long a dead crab has been dead (or if it has spoiled), you should never attempt to cook a dead crab. Also, never use the same utensils for handling live (uncooked) crabs and cooked crabs since bacterial cross-contamination may occur.



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