A Baltimore Tradition

September 22, 2011

I live in Arizona now so each time I visit Baltimore , I am sure to get crabs.  (Insert joke here)

Before you can eat crabs, there are preparations to be made.  If you are wearing nice clothes, now is the time to put on a dark t-shirt. You must take off any watches or rings and put band-aids on all cuts.   Newspaper or brown paper is  spread out on a table and the beer should be cold.  Hammers and knives are accounted for and the crabs are dumped into a pile at the center of the table.


Now the fun begins!  There are many ways to pick a crab and each person sitting around the table will probably have a different method.  The first step is to turn the crab over and with a knife peel the apron off of the crab.  You then must grab the shell and pull the crab into 2 pieces.  At this point, I save the shell to be sure to lick off any Old Bay seasoning as needed throughout the meal.  An added benefit to this is to keep an accurate count of your total crabs eaten.  Next, its time to clean the crab.  The lungs and all things squiggly must be removed.  This is the time I also remove the claws.  When you see people using a hammer, they do so when eating claws.  I normally save the claws until the end if I eat them at all.  The real meat is in the crab!  I now break the good part of the crab in 2 and start digging for meat.  Occasionally you will eat a little piece of shell which can be spit into the pile of discarded squiggly stuff.  The crab is sweet and salty and there must be plenty of beer to wash it down.   Eating crabs is messy.  Your hands are filthy, your nose may run and that is all part of the fun!  Its a social event as much as a meal.


Once your bellies are full and you can’t stand how dirty your hands are, it is time to clean up.  This is so much easier than it sounds. Hammers and knives are accounted for and the newspaper is rolled and put neatly into a large garbage bag.  You wash your hands with simple soap and water and the meal is finished.  Many people crave something sweet after crabs.  I am usually craving more beer and a game of cards with my family.

So that’s how you get crabs in Baltimore. ( I am sure there are other ways…insert joke here)


One Response to “A Baltimore Tradition”

  1. Liz Remington Says:

    I think you should remove the claws first and then open the crab!

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