How-To: Crack a Crab

The Blue Crab can be a bit of a challenge, but if you’ve got plenty of time and you’re good with your hands, a crab feast can be both a fun and delicious experience.

What You’ll Need

A mallet for easy cracking and several pages of newspaper for easy clean up.

Step One

Once you’ve steamed plenty of crabs (one or two is never enough), make sure you cover your spot at the table with newspaper, because it’s about to get messy. Use an outdoor picnic table if you have access to one.

Step Two

Start by pulling off the legs and claws. You can find some meat in the legs if you crack them in half, but generally there’s not much to be found in there.

Step Three

The claws, however, contain some of the most prized meat. Just grab both sides of the claw, pull them apart like a wishbone and dig in. Remember to explore both sides of the claw for some yet undiscovered meat.

Step Four

Now begins the hard part of undressing the crab. Some folks use a wooden mallet for this part of the process, but it’s really up to you. Start by removing the “apron” along the center of the belly and keep working your way around to the shell on top. Then flip the crab over so it’s belly side down and remove the grey, spongy gills.

Step Five

Now that your crab body is ready, simply break it in two and take out the meat. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can eat that yellow stuff, too—something that crab lovers simply call “mustard.” Once you’ve cleaned out the shell, brush your scraps aside with your seasoning-coated, crabby hands and find your next victim.

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