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If you're anywhere near the Chesapeak Bay nothing says summer like steamed crabs. These little treats were once thought of as "trash food" and were eaten mostly by poor people. Some time in the 1960's this changed and it became more trendy. This lead to over fishing. Pollution in the bay also contributed to the decline so these are no longer as plentiful as they once were. One other problem has added to the decline of the blue crab and no one wants to talk about it. There was a decline in the Rockfish population so for several years the was a moritorium on rockfish fishing. Naturally the Rockfish florished. What do you suppose young Rockfish eat? Crab larva! Duh! No wonder the crab population is declining. That means a bushel of crabs in no longer 30 bucks.

  • Crabs
  • Beer
  • Vinegar
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Vinegar for dipping - either cider or malt

Crabs should be cooked live. If you get any that are dead throw them out - do not eat them. Male crabs are meatier and more expensive. Cook them if you can afford them. Females are just as tasty so cook them if you want. Depending on your crowd and any side dishes figure 3 to 12 crabs per person.

In a large steamer pour 3 parts beer and 1 part cider vinegar. Place on a burner over high heat. I like to wait for it to boil before dumping the crabs in. Put in the steamer basket and add the crabs. As you add the crabs pour in some Old Bay. I do it in layers. Add a few crabs then Old Bay the more crabs and Old Bay. You get the idea.

Cover and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Crabs are done when all the blue has turned red. The last place to change is the claw near the body. Check them here.

To serve dump them in the center of the table, grab a beer and let them cool a bit before digging in.

Click here for crab feast etiquette and crap picking instuctions.

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