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Kim WB

Traditional Steamed Crabs in Baltimore & Maryland

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would the pickings be better if i stay in annapolis?  also, how are the crabs currently?  Thanks

IMHO, it's been the best MD crab season in memory

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I got wonderful medium crabs, already cooked, at the Dupont Farmer's Market today for $1 each! The vendor is also selling them by the dozen for $10. A delicious deal.

They still had them this week. I can't remember if they are $1 or $3 per crab.

They also had soft shells for $3 a piece.


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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My standard response to this question is: Oceanaire Seafood Room. Downtown, not Dupont or Adams Morgan, but worth the cab ride. Hard to get a res this early though. But, they will serve you at the bar. Good oysters too.

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Zora,

I think that the issue is that you have not had decent crab, or shrimp. I do not like G&M for the reason that you mentioned, it is filled with flavorless crab. When fresh blue crab meat is used and not overpowered with filler, binder, or seasoning it can be sublime. Lump crab meat has a more delicate flavor than lobster, and when fresh can be very sweet.

As for shrimp, if you have ever had day boat shrimp right off the boat, and prepared very simply you will understand why people fell inlove with this food. Most restaurants serve farm raised blandness.

I agree with you about picking crabs, but that is simply because I do not like to work that hard for my food.

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Steamed crabs are a huge investment of time and unfortunately these days, money. But, I certainly don't think a big chunk of lump blue crab with a little "mustard" and Old Bay is tasteless. And, as for the minimal return on a huge investment of time, I'm a fourth generation Baltimorean, so for me, that's sort of like saying why don't we skip Thanksgiving because it takes too long. It is time spent with friends and family, usually in someone's yard, eating something out of a brown bag on a picnic table covered with newspapers. It is a tradition that people in this region have enjoyed for countless generations. And, actually, the time element is one of the things I love about it. You can't rush through it - it forces you to sit the hell down for a long time and get your fingers very dirty. You might as well relax, make sure you have lots of beer on hand, turn the baseball game on the radio and enjoy yourself. I'm ready for summer.

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Steamed crabs are a huge investment of time and unfortunately these days, money.  But, I certainly don't think a big chunk of lump blue crab with a little "mustard" and Old Bay is tasteless.  And, as for the minimal return on a huge investment of time, I'm a fourth generation Baltimorean, so for me, that's sort of like saying why don't we skip Thanksgiving because it takes too long.  It is time spent with friends and family, usually in someone's yard, eating something out of a brown bag on a picnic table covered with newspapers.  It is a tradition that people in this region have enjoyed for countless generations. And, actually, the time element is one of the things I love about it.  You can't rush through it - it forces you to sit the hell down for a long time and get your fingers very dirty.  You might as well relax, make sure you have lots of beer on hand, turn the baseball game on the radio and enjoy yourself.  I'm ready for summer.

Zora, I think Cindy's description is absolutely perfect; it really is an enduring Maryland tradition. I also strongly agree with Steve when he notes that you may not have had really good hard shell crabs. Fresh picked lump crab meat still warm, even hot from the pot is an absolute delicacy. Many crab houses have outdoor decks where crab eating, beer drinking and sunshine are synonomous with the summer. I second Steve's comments about shrimp; fresh and properly cooked they can be delicious.

I would add that fifteen or so years ago two teenage girls from Wichita had their first encounter with hardshell crabs at Cantler's. Sitting across the picnic bench from them they both reacted in absolute horror when a large tray of them were placed on the table. I actually thought one of them was going to pass out. They'd never had a Maryland crab before-they had only eaten King Crab legs-never thought about the body! (I have my own story about Alaskan crab!)

My guess is that to this day neither has yet to try another bite of crabmeat because of the horror of that day. Maryland crabs are a tradition that for some, you almost have to grow up with them.

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Joe, I had the same reaction the first time I had whole lobster at a friends house! Prior to that, it was broiled tail with drawn butter.

When everyone started ripping the body apart, and I saw the green tomale, I was horrified.

Shortly after, I went on a trip to Maine decided I was going to just get over it! I wasn't going to give up this delicassy just because I wigged initially. By the end ofthe week, I had lobster breath. Yum.

Maryland crabs are great. I can't wait until warmer weather, then I'm headed east to have a whack at 'em.

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I agree with misscindy -eating steamed crabs is not just about eating and getting filled up - it's about sitting, being with friends and enjoying life.  There is a difference, tho, between crabs steamed at crab house and those steamed outside with a wood fire (done by those who catch them themselves via a trotline - my ex used to catch/sell crabs to supplement a teacher's salary).  You'll never know how much better woodfired-steamed crabs are until you've tried them.  My deceased uncle (who remembered Balto bars that offered free crabs just to get people to buy the beer) said that our wood-steamed ones were SO much better. 

As for crabcakes, less is more.  My mom was from KY but made the best-ever crabcakes - just some Old Bay, Worcestershire, mayo to bind and grated toast, then sauteed.  I've eaten those at G&M (at Mom's insistance), but thought they were a bit bland.  To a Marylander, crabs and crabcakes are a very personal issue.

Wow - woodfired-steamed crabs, huh? Never had it but wish I had. As for free crabs with beer, that's funny, I have heard about that. My father (who is 64) still cannot adjust to the fact that crabs are expensive. He always talks about how crabs were "poor people food" when he was a kid.

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The best price on Carolina or Maryland lump crab meat is about $21. a pound at Maine Avenue. Costco carries Phillips for $18 or 19 but this is Indonesian and, for me, nowhere near as good. Black Salt has authentic Crisfield, MD lump crab meat but I'm not sure of the price. Interestingly when we were in Crisfield last summer every store that I stopped in was selling Carolina!

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The best price on Carolina or Maryland lump crab meat is about $21. a pound at Maine Avenue.  Costco carries Phillips for $18 or 19 but this is Indonesian and, for me, nowhere near as good.  Black Salt has authentic Crisfield, MD lump crab meat but I'm not sure of the price.  Interestingly when we were in Crisfield last summer every store that I stopped in was selling Carolina!

The Maryland crabmeat is $34 at BlackSalt. It is pasteurized in a can, from last summer's harvest. I haven't tasted it, but I have been told that it is more flavorful than the fresh stuff from Alabama that we also sell.

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The best price on Carolina or Maryland lump crab meat is about $21. a pound at Maine Avenue.  Costco carries Phillips for $18 or 19 but this is Indonesian and, for me, nowhere near as good.  Black Salt has authentic Crisfield, MD lump crab meat but I'm not sure of the price.  Interestingly when we were in Crisfield last summer every store that I stopped in was selling Carolina!

The Maryland crabmeat is $34 at BlackSalt. It is pasteurized in a can, from last summer's harvest. I haven't tasted it, but I have been told that it is more flavorful than the fresh stuff from Alabama that we also sell.

That's lower than both Balducci's and Whole Foods which are around $37-38.

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