Fixin’ to go Crab Pickin’

Well, I apologize for the lack of new posts.  Wedding season is coming up and Ryanne and I’ve been very busy with bachelorette parties and bridal showers.  I will be posting some DIY ideas for gifts and hosting in the near future so check back soon!

A few weeks ago my family and future brother-in-law’s family gathered at my parents’ home in Wilmington, NC to tie up loose ends for Ryanne’s wedding in October.  It’s a family tradition of sorts to try to get together at my parents’ place at the beach in August and and of course a Crab Pickin’ is essential!  Some people might feel like crab pickin’ is a waste of time… why go through all that hard work when you can buy pre-picked crabmeat at the store and make crabcakes?  Well here are my main reasons for why I LOVE pickin’ crabs:

1) There are some things in life that are even better when you have to work hard for them… like crabs.

2) Crab pickin’ is more of a social gathering, a way to catch up with family and friends.

3) It brings back wonderful childhood memories of being at our old beach house in the Outer Banks and spending time with amazing people who aren’t all with us anymore.

4) Crabs and beer go well together and I love both.

5) After living in the hustle and bustle in the Washington D.C.  area, sometimes we just need to relax and take it slooooowww…

My parents have found a roadside seafood distributor between Wilmington and Carolina Beach called Seaview Crab Company.  They go there religiously for their seafood.  Not only are they supporting a local business (who has the freshest seafood around), they also like to go out of their way to support a Virginia Tech alumni-run business (yes, Hokies are everywhere!)

The Basics of Steaming Crabs:

First, get your crabs from a reliable seafood company.  They need to all be ALIVE!!!  If there is a dead one that’s not moving THROW IT OUT, your body will thank you in the morning. The male crabs are called “Jimmies”, which is what you want because they have more meat and we want the females to reproduce and make more crabs for us to eat!  My dad usually gets 1/2 bushel and that ‘s enough for about 6-7 people.  One of the most important tools you will need are tongs, the longer the better because those suckers will pinch the heck out of you! You will also need a big crab pot for steaming them.

These are the main ingredients for steaming crabs:

– Apple cider vinegar

– Water (or beer not pictured below because my husband was probably drinking it)

– Old Bay Seasoning (I love lots of this!!)

First, add equal parts of the vinegar and water (or beer) to the steaming pot until the liquids are about 2 inches high.  Bring to a boil on high heat.

Sprinkle Old Bay (according to your taste), then add the live crabs (yes I know, it’s mean) into the pot and put the top on.  You might need to hold down the lid, sometimes my dad uses the vice grips as a clamp because the crabs can get pretty feisty.  Let them steam for approximately 45 minutes and they will be a bright red (note: just because the crabs turn red at maybe 30 minutes doesn’t mean they are done!).

While they are cooking, put down a plastic table cloth or something to protect your “pickin’ table”.  We usually put a layer of plastic trash bags and then newspaper on top.  Then, select your dipping options: we use little dishes of melted butter or vinegar.

Once the crabs are done cooking, drain them and let them cool off so you don’t burn your hands while pickin’ them.  Don’t know how to pick a crab?  Well, stay tuned for the next post!

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8 responses

  1. Hi Megan, I think you should add a little fun story about the first time your dad and Bill attempted to steam crabs here at Emerald Isle, and Norman from Baltimore came to the rescue! It’s a fun story! See you all the 13th! (:

  2. I can smell the aroma of crabs and feel the trimmings on my hand. And the taste…out of this world! I’m from North Carolina and reside in Maryland so I definitely have an appreciation for this post. Love it!

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