How to Cook Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs

Maryland Blue CrabPhoto: D.W. MacKenzie
Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs are a delicacy that Marylanders look forward to every summer. Talk about a feast for the gods!

First let me tell you how my mother cooked 3 dozen blue crabs:
• She put all 36 of them in a big pot with a couple inches of water on the bottom.
• She set the lid on top.
• She turned on the flame – just high enough to steam them.
• The pot heated up.
• The crabs came spilling out, pushing the lid off as they came.

Now Mom had 36 very upset blue crabs skittering across the countertop, the floor, hiding in all sorts of unimaginable nooks and crannies.

Every single one of them greeted her with two waving, open claws – daring her to put fingers within their grasp!

Moral of Mom’s story: always put a brick on top of your crab steamer!

Chesapeake Bay Blue CrabPhoto: Chesapeake Bay Program

** Now here’s the right way to steam a batch of crabs **

Take a big pot – biggest you have. Put it on the stove. Put a brick (yes, an ordinary house-type brick) in the bottom. Now add about 1 or 2 inches of water.

On top of that brick, put a big colander – the biggest one you have that fits inside your gigantic pot.

Add the live (sorry, that is really the best way) crabs, a dozen at a time. Put a lid on the colander then a lid on the pot – weigh it down with another brick. Hint: if it works better, then just put the lid on the pot – be very sure to put a brick on top, too!

Wait 20 minutes while the crabs cook.

Dump the dozen out and add a liberal dusting of Old Bay Seasoning.

Crab FeastPhoto: The World’s Best Ever

Serve immediately with liberal helpings of beer. Be sure to provide paring knives, wooden mallets for claw-cracking, vinegar and melted butter.

Did I mention beer? Okay, iced tea if you don’t want to do beer.