Maryland Style Steamed Dungeness Crabs

By • September 18, 2012 • 0 Comments


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Author Notes: As the saying goes: You can take the girl out of Maryland....We just don't get decent sized blue crabs, certainly not worth the effort of picking them by hand for dinner. In order to adapt to my situation but not giving up the summer tradition of eating steamed crabs I steam Dungeness ones instead. They certainly are easier to pick. Budget 1 crab per person. If you want to be authentic about your meal serve it with white corn, specifically Silver Queen, a tomato or cucumber salad or if you’re at the family reunion - macaroni salad and deviled eggs. Beer is THE drink, an ale and again, if you’re going for authenticity, it should be a Natty Boh (PBR can substitute) or a Rolling Rock.Summer of Eggplant

Serves 2

  • 2 1 1/2 - 2 lb. live Dungeness crabs
  • 1 12 oz. beer, an ale
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup J.O. (or Old Bay, Penzey's or preferred Chesapeake Bay style seasoning - I prefer J.O.)
  1. Purchase the crabs as close to the time as you plan to cook them. Put them in the sink, they will be fine there for a little while. They want to go in the pot alive.
  2. Get a large pot and put in the water, beer and vinegar. If you have a steamer insert that fits above the liquid, put it in the pot, if not, I have in the past used inverted heat proof bowls, like a medium sized ramekin or a brick. The crabs want to steam not boil, they do not want to touch the liquid.
  3. Bring the liquids to a boil. Using a trusted set of tongs put the crabs in the pot one at a time and then sprinkle with 1/2 of the seasoning. After 10 minutes add more liquid if needed and rotate the crabs, adding in the remaining seasoning. Steam another 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and let them cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. How to pick a crab is as hotly disputed as how to cook them. I’ll refer you to YouTube, there are several videos there. Mentioned in the videos I watched, although not stressed, is do not eat the lungs. Yes ‘lungs’, not ‘gills’ if you want to sound like a native. The lungs are just beyond the outer shell and are feathery and triangular. Otherwise everything else in there is consumable. Even the ‘mustard’ as the guts are called. Some people consider it a delicacy some people think it’s gross. If you don’t like it just scoop it out.

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