What’s the Best Way to Eat Maryland Blue Crabs?

04/06/22 5:44PM

Some foods are intuitive to eat, such as popcorn or a slice of pizza. You simply grab them and go. Other dishes, however, take more effort and precision — including Maryland’s steamed blue crabs. The hard shell. The beady eyes. The claws, legs, and spikes protruding from nearly all sides. We understand that, at first glance, this delicacy can be intimidating! However, knowing how to indulge the right way is most definitely worth it. Sweet succulence awaits behind it all!

At Harbour House Crabs, crustaceans are our bread and butter — and we’re here to give a few pointers as to how you can make the most out of this seemingly impenetrable delight. We invite you to check out this video that shows you the best way to eat Maryland blue crabs:


Let’s take it step by step:

Pull Out the Apron, Take Off the Back

The first step in eating a Maryland blue crab is to take off the apron. Already lost? Let’s clear it up; the aptly-named “apron” is a small piece of shell that runs along the crab’s abdomen. On female Maryland blue crabs, this apron looks something like the U.S. Capitol Building. On males, the Washington Monument. Once you’ve found your capital’s particular attraction, rip it off and dig your thumb in to remove the back shell.

Remove the Gills (Dead Man’s Fingers) and Insides

Turn the crab over and remove its gills — lovingly referred to as “Dead Man’s Fingers” — and other innards. The gills have been filtering waste and other undesirable particles; they are not something you’ll want to eat. While optional, you can remove the eyes at this step, as well.

Break the Maryland Blue Crab in Half

It’s time to get into the meat! Break the crab in half, but make sure to leave the legs on. Each leg is attached to a cell where the meat is! To access the crabmeat more easily, squeeze down on one half’s membrane shell, crack it, and peel it back.

Pull the Legs, Extract Their Meat!

Now’s the time for the legs to come off! Before you start pulling the leg directly away from the shell, heed this tip; twist each leg to break off each cell of meat. Use a crab mallet or cracker to crack the claw and get the meat. You can also use a seafood tool or crab knife to break it open and pull the meat out.

While there’s a method to the madness, each Maryland blue crab will be slightly different; watch out for rogue shell bits. However, if you’ve followed these steps, your delicious crab meat awaits! The team at Harbour House Crabs knows that the best crab experience starts with the crabs themselves. For more information about live blue crab delivery or blue crab meat, contact us today!