If you are lucky to catch your own, you want to keep them on ice. This will keep them from being so active and of course, fresher. By putting them on ice, it sort of puts them to sleep and if you have ever dropped a fully ‘live’ crab into boiling water, it’s not a pleasant sight, at least not to me anymore. This way is a little more humane.
A large outdoor steamer pot is what you need, like a shrimp boiling pot shown above with a heavy lid.
Fill the pot with about a quart of water
4 lemons cut in half
about 4 cans of beer (what ever you drink)
1/4 cup of red pepper flakes
and about a cup of the Bay Seasoning Blend or use the The Seafood Boil Bag recipe (see below).
The Boil Bag is different, choose which ever one you might prefer, I like them both … equally.
I also like to do something my nephew shared with me, something from my brother’s way of cooking, and that is to throw into the basket a grapefruit, couple of oranges, all quartered and maybe a lime or two. Bring this to a rolling boil. Let it boil with the spice for 10 or so minutes. You will also need to add some salt since the mix does not have it in it… not too much, little more than a half of cup should be fine for the above recipe. Some folks like to steam the crabs without submerging in water, if so, do not add nearly as much salt.
Lift up the basket, place about a dozen crabs in the basket and lower it into the boiling water. Place the lid on wait until it starts to boil again. Cook 10 to 15 minutes. The crabs should be a fiery red. Now if you want to place in some vegetables, now is the time. Corn on the cob, new potatoes, snap beans, mushrooms – whatever you like. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes or until done. If not adding vegetables, cook crabs another 5 or 10 minutes. Carefully remove strainer, drain and get to picking and eating.
Seafood Boil Bag
For every 5 pounds of shrimp or crab.
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes or to taste
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons whole allspice
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon crushed oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
6 medium bay leaves
Tie everything in a muslin cloth or spice bag. Add to boiling water and boil 15 minutes before adding seafood. Add salt to the water according to taste.
Note: You do not have to use this in a bag, some folks just prefer spices in a bag.