It’s almost summer and I’ve got the fever – jumbo, large, mediums – size doesn’t always matter. Believe me or not, there is an ART to eating Maryland Blue Crabs. Ask or watch any crab foodie and you’ll soon be a believer. Don’t be turned off, if at first you don’t succeed – try, try again and again! It’s ok to ask for help. May look like a lot of work but once you have the knack, you’ll be hooked. Like anything, practice makes perfect. Perfect your crab eating technique with a few tips from us, so you’ll net every succulent piece of lump crab meat. Even if you’ve been picking for years, there might be a techinique or tip here for you
Review, Relax, Crack, Relax & Enjoy – this is an experience not just a meal.
How to Eat Hot Fat Blue Crabs 101
1. Condiments & Utensils. Get your apparatus ready. For dipping assemble butter, Old Bay, garlic sauce, vinegar or whatever floats your boat. Next you’ll want a cracker, wooden mallot, and small knife for picking and cracking – not smashing – that’s crab abuse.
2. Pull off the Claws. One by one…if they are hot & heavy, you should get a good chunk of meat right away. Using a cracker or a wooden mallet, gently crack open the claws. Scrape the meat out of the claws with your fingers or use your mouth just remember there is cartlidge so don’t bite thru rather gently slide the meat off with your teeth and tongue. Some save the claws for last, but I get so excited I need a little teaser to keep me going for the work in steps 3,4,5,6. Your call.
3. Turn the crab over so that his belly faces up. Using your fingers, lift up his tail/apron and pull it back to snap it off of the body. Discard.
4. Use your hands or a table knife, remove the top shell from the bottom of the body, splitting it open like a sandwich. Discard.
5. Remove the gills, also known as “devil’s fingers” or lungs, which are attached to either side of the crab – left & right. The yellowish “mustard” is edible and a delicasy so they say but you couldn’t pay me to eat that! Place your hands – left hand on the left side of the crab, right hand on the right side of the crab – bend back and snap the two sides of the crab in half and separate them.
6. Press lightly on the body where the back legs, or “swimmers”, were attached and pop out the backfin meat in the rear of the crab. Extract the rest of the body meat with your fingers. Is your mouth watering yet? Dip & Enjoy!
Local Crab Houses
Since the demise of DeNardo’s on Lincoln Street in Wilmington, I have to admit the all you can eat(AYCE) blue crab experience just hasn’t been the same for me in North Delaware. There are so few local crab houses around. You know those with brown paper & rolls of paper towels on the tables, Phillies on the TV, ice cold pitchers of beer, mallots a crackin, shells a flying, fingers a licking, serving endless french fries, hush puppies, corn on the cob and slaw. And those that actually serve PLENTY of hot, fat crabs so many that you don’t have to worry what time you arrive(even if it is after a holiday weekend or sunday night). And those that have “CRAB” in their restaurant name that actually serve hot steamed CRABS (not crab cakes, imperial, appetizers or those other imitation crabs). So much so that we just have to give a shout out to those few LOCAL establishments serving the steamed fat daddies strong all year long! Thank YOU!!
Call ahead to ensure crabs are stocked and to make a reservation.
HillTop Crab House on Rt 41 – yes its over the PA line but only by about a mile just north of Hockessin and just 10 miles from Wilmington/Newark and well worth the drive. Serving AYCE specials Wed-Sun. Check out Hilltop Crab House
Lestardo’s Crab House on Rt 273 in New Castle. Find them on FB Lestardos Crab House
Mick’s Crab House Rte 40, next to Walmart, in Elkton. AYCE Crabs. Tues-Sun. Crabs In House
ALL YOU CAN EAT CRABS $25/person. Mix Small & Medium Crabs
Subject to 2 Hour Time limit. Must be seated by 8:00 Wednesday & Thursday, 8:30 Friday & Saturday & Sunday 7:00. Indoor & Outdoor Seating, plus Crab Cakes, Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Steaks, and more. Over 75 Bottled Beers in Stock. 443-485-6007. Find them on FB @MicksCrabHouse
SUMMER ONLY > AYCE Crab Cruises on the Wilmington’s Riverboat Queen – down on the Wilmington Riverfront. Crab Cruises set sail on Thursday & Friday nights only. Advance tickets required.
BLUE CRAB ALERT!!! If we missed an authetic Blue Crab House, or establishment with AYCE BLUE Crab specials, any where in North Delaware, PLEASE let us know right away! Comment below or Email us [email protected]. Thank you in advance!