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Archive for September, 2013

So this past Labor Day weekend was a special treat for my family and me.  We celebrated the holiday weekend with a good ol’ Crab Boil at our river place!  One Bushel of Live Blue Crab, 10 lbs of live Pacific Red Crawdads, 6 lobsters and 2 lbs of Shrimp.  Throw in the corn and potatoes and you’ve got a good time!  Fedex delivered the live critters on time and directly to our site. We all couldn’t wait to start cooking! 

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When you order live blue crab they tell you to expect a 15% death rate.  But lucky for us only one crab was dead out of the entire bushel!  Thanks Chesapeake Bay Crab Connection!  My brother bought a HUGE pot to boil all the crabs at once.  We filled the bottom of the pot with vinegar and beer then sprinkled in the seasoning.  Each layer of beautiful blue crab meant another layer of seasoning.  After all the crabs were layered with seasoning we cooked them for 20 minutes.  Oh my god the wonderful smell of cooking blue crab! AMAZING!

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If you haven’t eaten whole blue crab it is truly a treat.  However that special treat doesn’t come easily and it is quite a lot of work to get at the crab meat.  And did I say messy?  Holy cow!  There were several times that when we attempted to split the shells that crab “mustard” when flying.  We had crab mustard in our hair, on our clothes, everywhere!  Crab “mustard” (or the “green gland” or “tomalley”) is not fat, it’s actually the crab’s hepatopancreas, a main component of the crab’s digestive system. The “mustard” has a strong taste and is eaten by many people who consider it a delicacy.  I personally am not a big fan of crab “mustard” and tried to wipe most of it away.

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Prepping the Crawdads was a little more work.  They arrived with a layer of newspaper, which the crawdads had torn to very very small pieces.  It took multiple washings before we got all the newpaper off the live little critters.  Unlike the death rate with the blue crabs which was very small, the crawdads were much more aggressive and they cannibalized some of their brethren during the shipping process.  We probably had a true 15% death rate.  Not too bad when you have 10 lbs of crawdads.  While we were eating the blue crab we started cooking the lobster, potatoes, corn, shrimp and crawdads. Once everything was cooked we piled all the food on a large platter.  Truly a beautiful sight!  Thankfully “mudbugs” or crawdads are much easier to eat than blue crab.  Twist, suck, peal, eat, and repeat! 

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Everything was fantastic.  However the mudbugs were a little “earthy” for my mom to truly enjoy.  She has a very picky pallet and while she smiled and said it was delicious, we could tell crawdads weren’t her cup of tea. 

 

Overall it was a fantastic evening with the family.  There were many people who walked past our crab boil pot with envious eye.  We’ll definitely have to make the crab boil an annual event.  Even though it’s an expensive meal, the conversation, the company and the endless smiles from my family make it worth every penny.

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