Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MD: Crabshack Love

Hey everybody! Long time no post. Sorry 'bout that, and thanks to all of you who emailed to check up on me. Let's cut right to the chase and get to the food!

Mother's Day made for the perfect excuse to go to Harris Crab House near Annapolis, MD and chow down on some delicious crustaceans cooked in the way that only Chesapeake Bay Area residents know how to do: boiled up in spicy Old Bay seasoning and dumped on a brown paper-covered table for the enjoyment of all.

If you know what I'm talkin' about, then enjoy the show. If you think this sounds crazy, read on and immediately take a trip to that part of the country to partake!

Here's a little shot of a dock on the bay just to set the scene.

And now we go inside!

The pretty waitress has just come to the the table, and never has our hungry demonstrator been so happy to get crabs!

The crabs are encrusted with Harris' special salty crusty stuff. If you take anything away from this exposé, it should be that YOU CANNOT EAT CRABS WITHOUT COPIOUS BEVERAGES. They are salty and spicy and YOU WILL DIE if you don't hydrate constantly.

The number one best thing to have is a pitcher of beer all to yourself. But other drinks work well, too, such as pink lemonade mixed with water. (Water on it's own won't do it. You need something sweet to cut the heat. Carbonated sodas are ok but the carbonation can kinda hurt if you get a really spicy crab.)

Ok all set. Now, here's how you eat a crab. You can do the legs before or after, our demonstrator has chosen to go for the lump-meat innards first. Lift up the little tail flap...

Then insert your thumbs and pull the top apart from the bottom...

Mmm! Now see those feathery thigies on the top part of the photo? Those are the gills, and not edible so pull them off. Then crack that same part in half and you will get a delicious gift of lucious lumpmeat. It takes some pickin', but that's the whole point!

Now, for the legs and claws, you'll need some tools.

People use different techniques, but basically you want to hammer with a good, quick wrist-action (as opposed to lifting your arm up over your head to smash - this is how we spot n00bs). Give it a good snap to crack the shell.

Then you can eat the meat!

In the end, you're left with a massive pile of exoskeleton. The bigger the pile, the cooler you are. Your lips may be swolen up like Lisa Rinna on a bad day from all the salt, but you will be admired by all who witness the carnage.

Some sides that go along nicely with crab are slaw (cools the mouth)...

And fries...

These people had the right idea. If there's no springtime rain, eating crabs outside is very best!


At 6:57 AM, Anonymous amanda said...

all I can say is MMM MMM MMM! I spent nearly every summer of my life on Kent Island (as a positive by-product of divorce) and you are right... chesapeake bay people really are the one's who know how to do blue crab best....the only thing you're wrong about is how they are cooked! those crabs are steamed! not boil! and perhaps harris's uses something like J.O.'s seasoning but it's pretty much the same as Old Bay. Great post, it had me longing for the east coast.

At 7:14 AM, Blogger melissa said...

Your pictures are both appetizing and gruesome. I love the step by step dismantling instructions, but alas, if in your place, my allergies would forbid more than the tiniest taste of crab (or calamari or crayfish.) I stay away from lobster because although it doesn't begin with a "c" it probably would have the same effect on my stomach as the above mentioned trio. Can you believe I'm also allergic to beer? So sad. The fries and slaw look yummy.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger jenjen said...

wow now, that is a HEAP of crab shells!! What a whopper of a feast you had!! I need to find place like this where I live.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger polly + dieter said...

say- ep old friend, send us some free airline tickets and we will join you for your next crab fest. Polly is all about speed, I stop to drink beer, we love all things
crabby except a biker bar I frequented as a youth.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger da chemist said...

Believe it or not, I had crabs for the first time last year and now I can not get enough. I just posted about eating crabs on my blog. Maybe you or some of your people can give me some more advice on buying and cooking them. Thanks!



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