A Blue Crab Feast in California

You think I’m crazy now, don’t you? But yes, anyone can enjoy Maryland Blue Crabs throughout the year. Will it cost you? Oh yes, but boy is it worth it! My family and I had a blue crab feast in California just last weekend and it was AWESOME! My father was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland, so we know our blue crabs.

What’s the secret?  You can order steamed and seasoned blue crabs or live crabs from several websites.  The crabs are harvested in the waters of Maryland and shipped overnight for fresh delicious crabs almost anytime.  Crabs will be more expensive off season, but either way, you will find delicious crabs.

We ordered a bushel of jumbo (6 to 7 inches) blue crabs steamed with regular seasoning from Maryland Blue Crab Express and had them overnighted with Saturday delivery. It was about $350, but was worth every penny.  Other sites that we’ve ordered from are The Crab Place and Chesapeake Crab Connection.  All are reputable sites with good crabs. My father prefers the Crab Place, but my brother prefers Maryland Blue Crab Express. I did Chessapeake Crab Connection and was happy with their crabs. So, I think they are all good.

A quick review on the crabs we had from Maryland Blue Crab Express. I liked them but they were a little light. I also feel like they gave us a lot more of the crabs on the barely 6″ side compared to the 7″ crabs. Next time I may bust down and buy three dozen of the Colossal size crabs just so they are a little meatier.

The spice was delicious and was perfect for me, but next time I’ll probably see if they can give half with heavy seasoning for my dad and brothers. They did give a seasoning packet (their own version of Old Bay) for anyone who wanted more spice, but generally adding dry seasoning to already cooked crabs doesn’t work as well. But, we’ll save the extra seasoning for our next crab feast when we steam our own Dungeness crabs.

You may ask why not buy the crabs live?  We have done that, but we found that there is about 20-30% loss from the overnight shipping.  This is to be expected as crabs are not meant to live forever on ice.  So if you are willing to accept that percentage of loss and want the full experience, order the crabs live.

When it is dungeness crab season in California, we’ll show you how to steam crabs Maryland style.  And yes, I know blue crabs are the best, but you work with what you’ve got. And dungeness crabs may not be as sweet as blue crabs, but they are still delicious and they are plentiful in California where we live.

We will be posting the recipes we served at our crab feast over the next week. Look for:

Here is what you need to have a crab feast of your own:

  • Crabs, duh!
  • Long tables with chairs to seat everyone, or plan on everyone eating in shifts
  • Lots of newspaper to put on the tables to make it easier for cleanup
  • Lots of paper towels
  • Crab mallets, knives and crab crackers (same as a nut cracker)
  • A pasta dish, hotdogs, or something for the non-crab eaters (we chose pasta)
  • Side dishes that compliment the crab like coleslaw
  • BEER! Or iced tea if you prefer
  • Plenty of garbage space, there is a lot of mess to cleanup

Now, go plan a Maryland style crab feast for your family.  Seriously, start planning now.  Your friends and family will love you for it!

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