Some of us here in Maryland have a secret...a secret we could never tell our friends or family members. Some of us here don't know how to pick a crab!
We know -- it seems amazing that there are folks who don't know the secrets of digging into crabby goodness that live right here in blue crab paradise. But if you're one of those folks who always has someone else do the work for you at the summer crab feast, we're here to tell you that you're not beyond hope. In fact, we're here to help, thanks to a few pointers.
Keep in mind that everyone has a technique that works best for them, and if your family's or your friend's method is a little different, that's fine! The most important thing is that you're getting all that succulent meat, and that everything is drowned in Old Bay.
Want to watch this? Phillips, the beloved seafood company, has a video that you can follow along with if you're more of a visual learner. Just click here.
1. Pull off the two big front claws. Save them -- you'll be digging in there later.
2. Use a knife or your fingers to pull away the plate on the front of the crab's body. Many Marylanders say that the male crabs have a plate that looks like the Washington Monument while females have a plate that looks like the Capitol building. Either way, it's blocking the good stuff, so get rid of it.
3. Pull off the top shell of the crab. You can use a knife or your fingers for this.
4. Pull or cut off the smaller legs. There's meat in there, but it's a matter of debate if you want to put in the work to get it. That's up to you (or whoever bought the crabs).
5. It's time to get rid of the gross stuff. The lungs look like soft, feathery fringes, and they need to go. They're not deadly (despite what you may have heard), but they're not tasty. Some also get rid of the yellowy 'mustard' goo, which is actually part of the crab's digestive system, but it is a delicacy for others.
6. Break what remains in half. You should be able to see nice big chunks of crab meat! Breaking the crab in half can make it easier for newbies to access the meat, but you don't need to do this.
7. You can pull the claw meat out from the bottom of the claw -- it shouldn't be hard to pull the cartilage that hangs out and get it that way. You can also use a hammer or a nutcracker to bust it open.
See? Not so hard! We wish you lots of luck at your next crab feast.