Cracking into crabs: Tips from an expert (WTOP's Rachel Nania)
WASHINGTON — Throughout Maryland’s Chesapeake region, eating crabs is like a religion — an event reserved for slow summer afternoons with family and friends.
And each person at every paper-covered table has a different way to worship, be it with butter or vinegar, Old Bay or J.O. Spice, or corn-on-the-cob over coleslaw.
There isn’t a right or wrong way eat the hard-shell beauties, but some methods for cracking into them work better than others.
WTOP Program Director (and self-proclaimed crab-eating expert) Mike McMearty recently took a trip out to The Point Crab House & Grill, in Arnold, Maryland, to share some of his best tips for eating crabs — a skill he’s been perfecting for more than 30 years.
Watch the video for his step-by-step instructions:
At The Point, chef and owner Bobby Jones steams and serves about eight bushels of Maryland crabs a day during the height of the season. So it’s safe to say the Baltimore native does his share of crab cracking — both on the job and off the clock. And in his opinion, nothing beats a fresh Maryland crab.
“They might not be the biggest, but they’re by far the most delicious,” he said.
An opposing view to picking crabs: Just order the burger (WTOP's Chris Core, Commentary and Analysis )
Jones and his wife opened their waterfront dining spot five years ago with a few goals in mind. One was to recreate memories from Jones’ childhood of feasting on crabs with his cousins around an outdoor table at his grandparents’ bungalow on the Eastern Shore.
Another was to showcase the bounty of the bay.
“When we go travel, we want to eat the food from that region, so we really try to show off Maryland and what we have here,” said Jones, whose menu lists everything from soft shell clams to a local tomato salad.
From spring through early fall, the main attraction, and often the cause of a long wait, is Jones’ cooked-live-to-order Chesapeake Bay crabs, which he prepares with his own seasoning blend.
“We are strictly Maryland,” Jones said about his crabs.
“This has been our second full season where I haven’t had to get any from Virginia or any from Carolina. If you just break one in half, you can see … ours are yellow and fatty and delicious.”
Knowing how to properly pick a crab isn’t the only thing that will guarantee a smooth crab-eating experience. Along with the tutorial above, these expert tips from McMearty and Jones will ensure you make the most of your next meal.