How to Eat a Crab

By Beth P. Storie | Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Blue Crabs

Be prepared. Eating crabs is messy but the mess is worth it! Steamed Blue crabs are deep red and are usually covered with special seasoning to enhance their flavor.

Pull off all the legs and claws with a twisting motion. You can use a dull knife in the joint to make removal easier. Sometimes some meat will come out with the leg. Eat it.

Toss the legs (fins) and save the claws. (We will get to them in a minute)

Turn the crab over on its back and open the apron. (The apron looks like a tab.)

Take the top half and the bottom half in each hand, like you're opening a PB&J sandwich, and pull off the top shell. Take care and do this somewhat slowly. Toss the top shell.

You will find a lot of "junk" inside, clean it out. You should toss the gills, and guts. Some people eat the "mustard" but it is an acquired taste. Scoop it out if you're unsure.

Now you should have the bottom half of the crab with the middle of it cleaned out and the gills removed to show shell.

Take this bottom half and break it in half.

Now take one of the halves and with a knife (or your hands) cut it in half. If you are using your hands, press down to break the chambers and then pull apart.

Now you should have the meat exposed. Use your fingers to pull the meat out and enjoy! Use your knife to get the meat out of the smaller chambers.

Pick away all the chunk meat in the body, and start in on the claws.

Crack the claws by using the hinged cracker, hitting them with the crab mallet, or using your knife. Lay your knife, sharp side down, on the middle of the red side of the claw. Then use your crab mallet to gently hit the knife, until the knife is halfway through the claw. Lastly, pivot the knife to the side. That will open the claw and make it easier to eat. Then snap the shell open and eat the meat, avoiding the cartilage.

About the Author Beth P. Storie
Beth Storie first came to the Outer Banks for the summer of 1976. She fell in love with the area and returned for good three years later. She and her husband published the national guidebook series, The Insiders' Guides, for more than 20 years and now are building OneBoat guides into another national brand. After spending time in many dozens of cities around the country, she absolutely believes that her hometown of Manteo is the best place on earth, especially when her two children, six cats and one dog are there too.