Growing up in Maryland, the end of summer always meant stocking up on school supplies and buying new plaid skirts and polo shirts (thank you, private school uniforms!), but it also meant making sure we ate as many crabs as possible before the season was over. I’d be lying if I said a good crab feast isn’t one of the things that I miss the most about living in Maryland. We take them pretty seriously up there, and no summer is complete without spending at least one evening gathered around the table picking crabs with family and friends. Everyone gets messy. Everyone has fun. And everyone leaves with new memories that will last a lifetime. It doesn’t get much better. Thankfully, I got to spend some time back home last month and made sure that I had my fix for the summer!
When I moved to Florida I realized that the majority of the country doesn’t quite understand the whole crab feast thing. Not only do my Florida friends tend to compare them to Alaskan crab legs often (not the same thing at all), but I also get asked all the time about how to actually have a crab feast. So today, I thought I’d share my three best tips for throwing a real Maryland crab feast. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some blue crabs, you can have one no matter where you live. Just make sure you prepare them the right way (steamed, with lots of Old Bay!).
- Have it in your backyard. While I’m all about going out to a restaurant for crabs, when you have them at home the little ones (or in our family, the dogs) can play in the yard while the adults linger at the table ’til dusk. This makes the evening so much more relaxed, and the you don’t have to feel rushed. Picking crabs for hours outside is never a bad thing!
- Use lots of Old Bay. In MD you can find Old Bay on anything (even ice cream, although that’s not really my cup of tea). Having a lot of it on hand is one of the key components of an authentic crab feast, so make sure you stock up and put it on everything!
- Keep it simple. Plastic cups, paper towels, and some newspaper on the table for easy clean up. That’s just about all you need! You’re going to get messy, and so will just about everything else on the table, so don’t try and make it look nice! As far as the actual meal goes, you can’t go wrong pairing your crabs with steamed shrimp and corn on the cob. Sometimes I like to add another side as well, like these guacamole deviled eggs, just for fun. But don’t go overboard! The crabs themselves should be the main event.
And that’s it! Crab feasts are easy to throw and just so much fun for all ages. Any other Maryland friends out there?! I’d love to hear some of your tips + tricks for throwing the best crab feast around!