Gut Rumbles

August 12, 2005

picking crab meat

I've been catching and eating Georgia (and South Carolina) blue crabs all of my adult life. (Taught my daughter and stacey how to do it, too.) There is a technique to getting the meat out of those critters, and I was taught to do it by an old black woman many years ago.

Take the crab (COOKED!), peel off the top shell and scoop out all of the "dead man's fingers" (gills) on the inside. Also get rid of that yellow shit in there (although some people like to eat that, too).

Break the crab in half, sideways. Crush the shell around the back leg and tug gently. You'll end up with a big chunk of beautifully white crab-meat that looks like a flower bouquet. Then, pull the other legs off one at a time and do the same thing.

After finishing that, break the half-crab in half AGAIN, and get the meat out of the middle by pulling gently where the legs once were attached. That's a little more work, but it's well worth the effort.

The claws are easy. Just break them off, grab them by the short part on the bottom of the claw, crack the shell, and drag the whole thing out in one piece. Get rid of that strip of cartiledge in the middle.

I've picked many a crab in my life. Hell, I thought I was GOOD at it until I watched a show on TV one night about the wimmen who work in crab factories around Baltimore. BEJUS! Those wimmen work with little knives and can pick POUNDS of crab meat in 15 minutes.

Watching THAT impressed the hell out of me.

I'll never be THAT fast, but I don't do it for a living, either. Still... I could teach YOU how.


Back in my runny-nose days, I can remember going crabbing with my grandmother in the Great South Bay, back on Long Island. Used to be able to catch some nice, big blue crabs there back in the mid-1950's.

As for that yellow stuff...well, maybe I'll just post about that.

Posted by: Elisson on August 12, 2005 02:42 PM

But how good are you at shuckin' oysters?

Posted by: GUYK on August 12, 2005 04:36 PM

I fucking hate blue crabs.

I grew up on the Maine coast catching crabs from traps and when you grab them from behind, they can't reach you.

Not so with your sea spiders. I grabbed hold of a Blue Crab just like I do a Maine Crab and got the shock of my life.

Fucker took one quick swipe backwards and cut through the webbing between my thumb and finger like butter.

Posted by: gordon the magnificent on August 12, 2005 04:39 PM

Gordon, there's a trick to grabbing a blue crab bare-handed. If you don't do it right, that angry sumbitch will show you how his claws operate.

Posted by: Acidman on August 12, 2005 05:50 PM

The yellow stuff is fat I think and it's nasty. I hate to admit that Rob is correct about the way to crack a crab.

Posted by: georgia on August 12, 2005 08:59 PM

PS Recondo says that you will make someone a fine wife someday.

Posted by: ga on August 12, 2005 09:00 PM

Gordon, there's a trick to grabbing a blue crab bare-handed. If you don't do it right, that angry sumbitch will show you how his claws operate.Damned straight! I was going to brag that knowing how to pick one up barehanded was tougher than picking one, but I've been beaten to the punch twice, dammit!My Granddaddy from Virginia taught me how to catch and pick blue crabs, and my Grandma from Long Island taught me how to dig and shuck hardshell clams. I owe a lot to both of them. Thanks for the reminder, Rob. :)

Posted by: Scott Crawford on August 12, 2005 10:40 PM

here in florida you can get them in lakes but most inportantly that grab them by the back legs ones i grabed one of there legs and the other one for the bottom cooz i couldnt reach it with my other hand and i almost got the leg but they can reach you down there so do not atemp because that way on you wont treat crabs the same way fron then on so watch out and hope this comment is on display

Posted by: marcelo on July 24, 2007 10:29 PM
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