The first step to any crab feast may sound like common sense, but is far from it. Before you can eat a crab, you have to cook it. One of the things that makes crabs unique from any other animal that you eat is that a crab must be alive in order to be cooked. Cooking dead crabs is a bad idea because you never know what killed that crab, and the chances of getting sick increase exponentially. Crabs can live for about eight hours out of water, so you have time after catching them to get them cooked up safely.
The proper way to cook a crab is to steam it, end of story. Everyone has their own tried and true method for steaming crabs, but I am going to focus on what I found to be the most popular way. The base of any good crab steam, when using an average size steam pot of roughly 12-20 ounces, is water, beer, apple cider vinegar, and seasoning. The steaming pot should sit 2-3 inches from the bottom of the pot. Next you’ll bring about 2 cups of water, one 12-ounce Natty Boh (or lager style beer of your choice), a cup of cider, and a cup of seasoning to a boil. The seasoning is a topic that people continue to argue over. There are your Old Bay enthusiasts and the J.O. crowd. They both have their own top-secret blend of spices, but the biggest known difference is the salt element in the J.O. Seasoning. If you choose to use Old Bay you will have to add salt to the boil. This is not necessary with J.O., and I find that the J.O. tends to have a stronger flavor.
Once you have brought this to a boil it is time to add the crabs. A 20-ounce pot can hold 25-30 crabs at a time. For extra flavor, you can stick a knife through the shell of the crab from back to front, which will allow the seasoning to get into the meat. You will then cover the crabs with a healthy portion of seasoning, cover and cook for about 30 minutes. When the crabs are done, they will be a bright orange or red color with no traces of blue or green.
At this point, your crabs are ready to enjoy. The experts at The Crab House in Crofton and Edgewater have been perfecting their seasoning and steaming process for over 30 years. So, if you want to save yourself the hassle of cooking the crabs, or just do not have the confidence to do it correctly, let The Crab House in Crofton or Edgewater steam them up for you, and get ready for a great time!