How to Cook Crabs

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Steamed crabs are so delicious and very easy to cook
Steamed crabs are so delicious and very easy to cook (Image: my own photo)

Cooking crabs correctly can lead to a very pleasurable dining experience but, cooking them incorrectly? Oh, ugh. You'll end up with very mushy crabs. A pot full of steaming crabs is an amazing sight. Here's a recipe to guarantee success as you prepare crabs for your next crab feast.

Things You'll Need

  • Large crab cooking pot (these pots have an insert in the bottom so the crabs aren't in water)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Beer
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Prepare your crab steamer pot by putting the insert in the bottom. If you don't have a dedicated crab steamer pot, use any large pot and place a brick or two on the bottom of your newly fashioned crab pot to keep the crabs out of the boiling liquid. If possible, you do not want crabs directly in the water. You'll be steaming crabs for this recipe, not boiling them.

Add at least 2 inches of water to the bottom of the pot. Add in one full beer and a cup of white vinegar - doesn't matter what type of vinegar so don't go using the good stuff. As for the beer, for some reason, the cheaper, the better so keep the good stuff for the chef. Allow this mixture to come to a full boil before adding the live crabs.

When the steamer pot is boiling, start adding in the crabs, one at a time. Now, this is tricky as these crabs can do some serious damage if they pinch you with their crab claws. When you have a full layer of crabs, toss old bay seasoning over the whole layer and add another layer on top. Continue layering and sprinkling with seasoning until the pot is 3/4 full - do not go to the very top of the pot as the top layer of crabs can escape.

Once the last crab is in the steamer pot, put the top on the pot and put a timer on exactly 25 minutes - not a minute more, not a minute less. When the timer goes off, your steamed crabs are done - don't be alarmed if they turn red - they're supposed to! Grab the corn, the shrimp, cold beer or summer punch (recipe in resources below) and go get your crab feast ready!

Your blue crabs that went into the pot should turn red
Your blue crabs that went into the pot should turn red

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a problem putting a live crab in the pot, you can kill it quickly by putting a skewer through the underside. In my opinion, that's not much better than steaming crabs to death.
  • Make sure each crab is live when you put it in the pot - as a precaution, never cook a dead crab.

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