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Agri 04-13-2012 04:28 PM

When your returning to the dock at the end of the day, and find your pot full of these critters, how do you go about preparing them? Do you boil them alive or kill them, then cook, or kill, clean the prepare?

Personally I like to kill then clean before cooking seeing as a lot of the toxins are stored in the organs, or so I've been led to believe, but I've noticed that a lot of those around me toss them in the pot right out of the pot.

johnnyquest37 04-13-2012 04:34 PM

Re: Crabs
Boil them or steam them live.

RichH 04-13-2012 05:46 PM

Re: Crabs
Steam them live.
Use beer instead of water.
Heat the kettle, use a mesh bottom to keep the crabs from swimming in the beer, wait until there's a good 'head of steam', quickly dump the crabs, liberally sprinkle the crabs with OLD BAY seasoning, jam the lid down quickly to stop the escapees .... Yum.

If there are any toxins in the backfin or claw meat ... the manner/choice of 'execution' wont make any difference. The yellow 'liver' (hepatopancreas) or 'tomalley' ... thats where most of the toxins will be concentrated, few eat the tomalley any more for this reason.

captainfletcher 04-13-2012 07:27 PM

Re: Crabs
We've always cooked crawfish and lobster live. Tony Chachere's makes some really good seasonings for crab and crawfish! But, the Old Bay is also very good too!

T37Chef 04-13-2012 08:03 PM

Re: Crabs
Well I think it depends on the type of crab? ;) Most all crustaceans whole - in the shell, should be cooked live, exception being Shrimp.

Blue Crabs: hard to beat doing them Maryland Style...pretty much what RichH outlined but I would add rock salt to the seasoning blend and specify that you use Natty Boh :D
Dungeonous and most others: just steam. If serving Dungeonous its often served with sour dough bread, dipping it in the juice reatin in the shell after you open it up, yumm!

Always cook live, the only crab I can think of that you kill/clean before you cook would be soft shell blue crabs, because you eat the entire crab (best if simply pan fried IMO). Using a pair of scissors, first remove the face then lightly squeeze, Second lift each side of the top shell to remove the lungs/gills, then turn it over and remove the apron/flap with the intestine by pulling it out (most just cut the flap off, its better if you carefully pull the flap out and discard) :)

jrd22 04-13-2012 10:08 PM

Re: Crabs
We kill and clean our Dungies prior to steam/boil for 15 minutes. We get the water boiling, put the perforated bucket with the crab in it in the cook pot and start the timer when the water comes back to a boil. When the time is up, unless we are eating it hot we quickly chill them in cold water. A cold beer for the cook makes this tough job a lot easier:-))
Another way we cook them is to kill and clean then liberally coat them with olive oil, some garlic (more the better), crushed red peppers, and then put them on a roasting pan and add a lot of fresh rosemary on top. Bake at about 425, eat when it smells great (20 min ?). Ummm, can't wait for the season to open in July, sure glad spot prawn season opens in three weeks.

Capt Len 04-13-2012 10:31 PM

Re: Crabs
I cut the live crabs in half over the edge of the deck bucket ( back shell down)and clean lungs and guts and shell off the whole legs and body meat. Get more in the pot and less goop. Chopped ginger or rosemary is nice in the boil.Have a designated cooker on the aft rail beside the barbecue.Dungies and the occasional rock.Garlic butter dip on the aft deck.Or sometimes a major picking and canning event in half pint jars Cheers.

BostonSailor 04-13-2012 11:02 PM

I'm with RichH, but the flavors from Capt Len sound like they're worth trying!

talyn1 04-13-2012 11:54 PM

If you have time after you get back try soaking the crabs in freshwater for an hour or two to get some of the nastiness out of them.

tomperanteau 04-14-2012 11:26 AM

Re: Crabs

Originally Posted by Capt Len (Post 858470)
Have a designated cooker on the aft rail beside the barbecue.

What kind of cooker do you have?

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