FROM THE GALLEY: CLEANING BLUE CLAWS - The Fisherman

FROM THE GALLEY: CLEANING BLUE CLAWS

A quick and easy way to clean a tasty pile of blue crabs.

With blue crab season coming up in the near future depending upon which part of the coast you reside, now would be a good time to freshen up on your crab cleaning technique. Be advised that while I do not claim to be a blue claw cleaning expert, I’ve done plenty of research and tested plenty of tips and tricks, and the following works best for me. Give it a shot for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s quick, easy, and produces very little if any waste.

Begin with crabs that are almost in a dormant state. I find this really helps as no one in their right mind digs elbow-deep into a bucket of ornery blue crabs! While out scooping crabs I put them directly into a 5-gallon bucket fitted with a shoulder strap to make walking the shallow coves and docks easier. Once back at my truck, I transfer the crabs into a large cooler with the drain plug open. In the bottom of the cooler, I place a board topped with seaweed to keep the crabs out of any ice melt. At the end of the night, I pour a few bags of ice over the crabs, and by morning they’re more than workable.

Begin by grasping a crab in one hand, pinching the claws with your fingertips while the crab’s back is up against the palm of your hand. (Step 1) With a butter knife in the other hand, pinch the apron (flap of shell on the abdomen) and peel it off the crab.

 

With the apron removed, flip the crab over, grab one of its spines with your other hand and peel the shell off the body. (Step 2) By removing the apron in the previous step, the shell should peel right off.

With the crab still on one hand, grab its “mouth” and peel it from the body, taking time to remove any pieces that stay stuck. (Step 3)

With the large inedible parts removed, take a garden hose set to a high setting, blast the guts and any remaining undesirables off the crab. (Step 4)

What you’re left with is a cleaned crab including claws, legs and abdominal meat, ready for use in your favorite recipe. (Step 5) I like to steam them with an ample shaking of crab boil seasoning of choice and pick as much meat as I can eat while dipping in some butter and washed down with a cold one. Leftover crabs are cleaned and made into cakes.

Enjoy!

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