I never understood the hype surrounding blue crabs until I visited Maryland one summer with my husband, who is a native of the Free State and a staunch blue crab supporter. We went over to his high school buddy’s house and spent hours drinking cheap beer and picking steamed crabs on the porch—it was a timeless, fun, and memorable summer afternoon. Putting together your own crab feed at home is easy: Boil a mix of water and vinegar or beer, season the crabs with plenty of Old Bay, and steam them until bright red. Throw down some newspaper and serve with melted butter, corn on the cob, and plenty of cold brews. Then, get picking with our step-by-step photo instructions. Lynyrd Skynyrd in the background is optional.
Special equipment: You will need a seafood mallet to crack the claws and extract the meat.
What to buy: We like jumbo male crabs for this recipe because they yield more meat (to justify the tedium of picking them), and choosing males over females limits the environmental impact on both the species and their habitat.
Game plan: Fresh live crab should be purchased and cooked the same day—the crabs can only be stored in the refrigerator for a few hours once taken out of their holding tanks. Do not cook dead crabs.