With Labor Day weekend lurking, I’m thinking about one of my favorite summertime foods: steamed blue crabs. There’s nothing quite like enjoying fresh blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay when I’m back east, but you can have great success cooking them at home, too. I find that many large Asian supermarkets such as Ocean Mart carry live blue crabs in season.
12 ounces beer
1 cup apple-cider vinegar
1 dozen large blue crabs
½ cup Chesapeake-style crab seasoning, preferably Old Bay
Place a steamer pot or any large, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid on the stove. (In the latter case, improvise a rack on the bottom of the pot that will keep crabs a few inches from the bottom.) Add the beer, vinegar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Place a layer of crabs on the rack in the pot. Sprinkle with a generous amount of seasoning, then repeat with another layer, and another, until all 12 crabs are in pot (and well seasoned). Cover and steam over medium-high heat until the crabs are bright red, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the crabs with tongs. Serve over newspaper, with mallets and picks.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.