Thursday, June 02, 2005

How To Eat Hard Shell Crabs, Maryland or Otherwise

The following post is not for the faint of heart, which is the same as those people who fail to understand and appreciate the delicacy of eating more than just the crab's meat.

There are two rules of thought on what you can/should and can't/shouldn't eat once you open a crab. I eat just about everything which many think is gross, but don't knock it until you try it. I am going to detail how to enjoy what some tasteless people call the "fat", "bowels", "intestines" and "organs" of the crab. To them, I simply call those parts the "mustard", "juices", "noodles", and "crab cuisine capers".

There are universally agreed upon steps for crab eating. After taking off the claws (which have meat) and legs, remove the tab on the bottom, which let's you know if it's a male (looks like the Washington Monument) or female (looks like the Capital). Simply lift the tip of the tab and pull it away from the crab. At the edge where the tab comes off, split open the shell along that edge with your hands.

Now you'll see lots of organs, lung gills (also called Devils Fingers), and a mustard yellow substance. My father says you may eat all of it "because you've got acid in your stomach that can digest anything." Of course, he also has no medical training, so think what you will. My mom, who has a few medical degrees, says you really shouldn't eat all those parts since they have no nutritional value and the fact that it's disgusting. This ends up dividing the family with my dad and I eating everything and my mom and sister only going for the meat and some mustard. In the picture below, the lungs are the yellow parts and the white circular objects are the organs, errrr....I mean, noodles and capers.

Nevertheless, I enjoy the mustard and all the innards of the crab. They don't have any real special taste, but if you're digging deep into a crab for some meat, why not eat what else is available to you? I'm sure there's some foreign country where crab insides are a delicacy, I just haven't found out where that is the case. Once the internal organs are removed, they shall subsequently be placed in your mouth :)

If you only eat the meat, you will surely be hungrier after the meal than when you first took your seat, so eat as much as you can from the crustacean. There is a lot of work involved when you go for crabs, so to ensure you get as much food from the experience as possible, don't be scared to at least try all of the delicacies that come with the meat, you might just be surprised or disgusted.


Uncle Jim said...

...never understood why they never bottled the mustard; It's not just great on a messy crab-eating finger, but would be great on rye. Really.

Anonymous said...

Just eating some crabs shortly to celebrate the new year here in England, don't know if I have the heart to try the delicasies, but thanks for the cracking and tab info anyway.

the bohunks ^-^

Anonymous said...

I find the mustard and innards to be the most flavorful part of the crab. The flavor is different but most flavorful. My philosophy is the individual's frustration with the texture element that hinders them from truly tasting the inside parts.

Anonymous said...

Don't remove legs as the meatiest part - the backfin - can be extracted by gripping the two hind legs and separating from front portion.
Not clearly pointed out, but NEVER eat the lungs.

Stephen said...

I also eat the whole entire crab. I take off the top shell and the legs and then eat the whole thing. I truly enjoy it and feel like I get a lot more meat than everyone else.

I haven't found any sites or links indicating that this is harmful in anyway.

If anyone knows a reason why I should please feel free to forward me your links.