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Ocean City Steamed CrabSteamed Crabs at the Beach

How to pick 'em & eat 'em

EATING STEAMED CRABS in Ocean City ...where adults are actually encouraged to wear a bib, eat with their hands, get food on the table, pound on the table, throw their leftovers in a pile, generally make a mess and... HAVE A GOOD TIME.

There are probably as many ways to pick and eat steamed crabs as there are "crab pickers" in Ocean City. The following photos and descriptions should help with just a few hints to get you started:

  • Don't bother about the mess.
  • Don't rub your eyes until you have thoroughly washed your hands.
  • Have fun. Share stories with your friends (and just maybe a cold beer - or two).
  • Enjoy!

1. Tools: All you need are a mallet, a dull knife, and plenty of kraft paper (or maybe newspaper) to cover your table.

2. Remove the front claws: Put them aside, you can come back to them later.

3. Pull off the rest of the legs: Sometimes, you get lucky and some crab meat pulls out with them. Just enjoy it.
Open the carapace, or the apron.
4. Open the apron: Pull up the apron on the bottom of the crab and break it off.

5. Open the crab: You can now easily pull the hard shell off of the top of the crab.
Clean out the devil fingers
6. Clean out: Scrape out and discard anything that does not look appealing to you - the yellow "mustard" and the lungs (sometimes called the devil's fingers).
Break the crab body in half
7. Break in half: You are now down to the main part of the crab. Simply grasp it in both hands and break it in half to expose the sweet crab meat.
Crab meat on display
8. The crab meat: can be found in all of the little nooks and crannies. This is some of the finest tasting seafood to be had anywhere.

Oh yes, what are the mallet and knife for? The knife (not sharp, please) helps to pull the crab meat out from all the little nooks and crannies. And the mallet - well, each large claw also contains some fine-eatin' meat - use the mallet to crack the claws. Actually, the only essential "tool" is the paper to cover the table. The mallet and knife only make things a "little" easier, but they definitely add to the fun.

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