How to crack a crab

KENT ISLAND, Md. – The arrival of summer means many things, but most importantly it means fresh Maryland crabs — lots of it.

If you are not use to eating crabs (that aren’t already peeled for you) then you might be lost if a whole one is placed in front of you. Don’t worry – we are here to help you.

There are many different ways to free the crab meat, but we think Jody Schulz, owner of Fisherman’s Inn in Kent Island, Maryland has a great method. He broke it down for you (and us) in the most beautiful demonstration!

This is how it’s done:

1. First, place the crab in your hands.

2. Pull the top shell right off of the crab.

3. Then if you want, lay the crab down on the table.

4. Take a knife and scrap off the lungs (you don’t want to eat those).

5. Yank off the claws (sometimes you’ll get a little meat out of there).

6. After the claws are off you want to take a knife and cut the legs off the knuckles.

7. Clean all the inside out (that all the intestines).

8. Remove where the intestines were . yes, it is a lot of work but it’s worth it!

9. Then you separate the top from the bottom (that opens it up to ALL the delicious crab meat).

10. You take your knife and work it around the back fin to scrap out the meat

11. Take the claws and crack those open to search for any more delicious meat you can find!

Don’t forget your warm melted butter to dip the mouth watery crab meat in!

We think crab meat is delicious no matter how you eat it: in small pieces, in large pieces, in a crab cake, in a soup, in a dip — you name it, we’re here for it.

However, we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t something extremely satisfying about cracking open a crab leg and slowly removing the meat all in one large, juicy piece. It’s the cream of the crop. The ultimate bite. The height of decadence.

Of course, achieving this perfect bite is easier said than done. Removing the meat from your crab leg in one whole piece requires some finesse. If you go at it with a claw cracker and don’t have a strategy, you aren’t likely to achieve this expert technique. That’s why today, we’re sharing the step-by-step process to crack open your crab legs like an expert.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

While you’ll primarily need just a claw cracker, a tiny lobster fork might also come in handy.

Step 2: Separate the Legs

If not separated already, pull your legs apart from the cluster and set aside the claw. Don’t worry — we’ll get to it later.

Step 3: Separate the Joints

Choose your first leg and pull it apart at the joints or “knuckles” of the leg. The larger section that was closest to the body of the crab is called the merus, and that’s where the bulk of the meat is in each crab leg. When you separate the merus from the tips of the leg, expect to also have some cartilage come out.

Step 4: Crack the Merus

Take both thumbs and push down on the middle of the merus, but don’t crack it through all the way. You want to just lightly crack each side so you can then gently peel back the shell. If you push your thumbs in too hard, you’ll puncture the meat.

Step 5: Remove the Shell

Carefully, remove each side of the shell until you can pull out the center meat. Dip in butter and enjoy!

Step 6: Don’t Forget the Other Pieces

While the merus is the prize meat of each leg, don’t forget to crack open the tips — there’s a little meat in there too! Use the lobster fork to really dig in there if you can’t quite get it all out. And remember that claw that you set aside earlier? Now’s the time to use the claw cracker. Again, gently crack the surface of the shell, but don’t puncture all the way through the meat. Then, pull one side of the claw out in order to separate the cartilage. Now you’ll be able to peel back the cracked shell to reveal the meaty inside.

As with any skill, cracking your crab legs like an expert takes practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get the perfect intact piece of meat every time. The good news? We can promise it’ll still taste delicious.

How to crack a crab

I have been eating blue crabs for as long as I can remember. In the Tilley family, it is a HUGE summertime treat to get a bushel of jimmys (another name for a male crab) and sit around a newspaper covered table! No plates needed here!

There is nothing quite like the deliciously rich meat that comes from these bad boys. My mouth waters just thinking about it!

But this tasty reward does require a good deal of effort. Do you know how to crack a blue crab? If not, check out my video and step by step guide below!

How to Crack a Blue Crab:

Step 1: Pull off the legs. If you get meat while your pullin’ thats a bonus! Crack open the ligaments on the legs too, that meat is very flavorful!

…and I know in the video I am piling up my meat but in reality, I dip it in butter and eat it immediately!

Step 2: Use a butter knife to pull open the “tab” on his abdomen. Cut off said tab and scrape off the lungs and push them into your trash pile.

Step 3: Crack the body down the natural middle. Then take one of the side and hold the opening towards you like a hamburger that your going to take a bite of. Squeeze this part together. The cracks from squeezing it should then allow you to open it to reveal the tunnels/cavities of meat. Pull meat out and repeat on other side.

Step 4: I save the claws for last but you could do them sooner. Take your butter knife and hit the shell close to the clap of the claw until you can gently break it open to reveal the meat. Dip it in butter and eat it! But don’t bite all the way through…there is a tricky shell in between the meat!

Now you are probably wondering where to get some jimmy’s of your own! To tell you the truth, we never give up the name of our crab dealer…I MEAN, crab guy 😉 . Why? Because then there might not be enough for us! But call your local seafood stands, I bet they can tell you!