Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry coastal marsh areas are blessed with an abundance of seafood including Blue Crabs. These are caught commercially and privately in large crab pots. These pots can typically be seen marked with floats in the salt marshes and waterways throughout the Lowcountry. Locals also "crab" by hand with dip nets and baited lines in many of the creeks. Live Blue Crabs are available in most of the roadside seafood retailers that dot the area. The Blue Crab can be found in coastal areas from Texas to New Jersey.
When steaming blue crab, only those that are alive should be used. Typically live fresh crabs are put into a suspended state by chilling in ice after they are caught or prior to cooking.
Steamed Blue Crabs
1 dozen large Blue Crabs, Live, washed
12 oz Beer
2 Tablespoons Lowcountry or Old Bay seasoning
3 Quarts Water
In a covered stockpot, combine water, beer, seasoning and bring to boil. Add crabs and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes and remove. Crabs can be “picked” for meat to use in other dishes or served as part of a meal for 2-4 people.
*Note: Soft Shell Crabs are a lowcountry delicacy available only when the Blue Crab molts its old shell. When this occurs, the shell is soft and the crab is cleaned and eaten. This will be covered in another recipe.