Bon Appetit! How to Eat Stone Crab in 7 Easy Steps
Our favorite food on the planet, stone crabs, are one of the most delicious delicacies available. With the season in full swing, you might be tempted to get your fix, especially after the pandemic cut the last season short and a shorter season ahead this year.
If you’re new to the delicacy, a hearty welcome! But you might be wondering exactly how to eat stone crab. They can be a bit fiddly to get the best meat out, but so worth the fuss!
Our guide will take you through the 7 easy steps on how to eat stone crab.
How to Eat Stone Crab
Some of how you eat stone crab will depend on how you prepare it. If you order with us, your stone crab will come perfectly cooked and ready to eat. But this isn’t always the case, so we’ll include brief cooking instructions too.
- Boil your crab claw. For the best stone crab claws, this should be done immediately after catching. Boil for about eight minutes depending on size, and then dip the claw into cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Let it cool — it’s best served cold!
- You need to crack into your stone crab claw shell. Hold your crab claw in one hand and use your other to strike the shell about three times. Ideally, you’ll want a wooden mallet, but you can use a spoon too.
- Flip your stone crab claw over and hit it a further three times.
- Remove the meat. Your shell should be cracked and loose enough now that the outer shell pulls off with ease. Use your fingers to peel the shell away from the meat inside.
- Hold your crab claw by the pincer and dip into a delicious sauce — we’d recommend homemade mustard sauce.
- Dig in!
Tips on Eating Stone Crab Claws
We know we breezed over this step, especially for people who haven’t prepared crab claws before.
As we mentioned above, our best tip is to use a wooden mallet. It means when you’re cracking your crab claws, you’re less likely to get small pieces of the shell holding onto the meat. But if you don’t have one, a large, heavy spoon will do the trick.
Don't use too much force when you’re hitting the claw. You’ll ruin the meat inside the shell and end up with small pieces of shell clinging on. Similarly, when you’re pulling the shell away from the meat, do it gently to get the cleanest chunk of crab meat.
One of our best tips is to use a paper towel when holding your crab claw. This will mean you’ll have a better grip when you’re cracking the shell, especially as the juice comes out. Remember you can get your fresh stone crabs from top quality brands such as George Stone Crab or Captain Stone Crab.
When Is the Best Time to Buy Stone Crab?
As we mentioned in our introduction, it’s stone crab season as we write this.
Stone crab season starts in October and runs until May. This year specifically, the season runs from October 15th until May 2nd.
This season is a little different than that past. This is because of the new Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) rules.
Crabs allowed to be caught and harvested this year have to have larger claws than last year. To be exact, they need to be an eighth of an inch bigger. It sounds like nothing in terms of eating them, but it’s all in an effort to trap more sustainably.
The change means many crabs that would have been harvested in previous years will no longer be allowed for harvesting. This means these crabs will be allowed to grow for an additional season, giving larger and better claws the following year.
In this vein, the FWC has also shortened the season. It ends two weeks earlier than in previous years, where it would usually have ended on May 15th. Similarly to the above, this is to try and promote a more viable reproduction time for stone crabs.
Much of this new interest in sustainability is because of the way stone crabs are harvested. Still a little known fact, stone crabs generally aren’t actually killed for their claws. Crabs have the ability to regenerate their claws and other tissue.
This means when stone crabs are harvested. Usually, it’s just the claws being taken. Fishermen are allowed to take both claws, but taking both stops crabs from being able to feed and protect themselves as successfully.
Due to the growing popularity of stone crab and the way they can sometimes be unsustainably harvested, the FWC has brought in these new regulations to ensure we can all keep enjoying great stone crab for years to come.
What to Serve With Stone Crab?
Though we’d eat an entree of nothing else but stone crab claws, we realize it’s not for everyone.
If you’re going to serve stone crab claws with any other food besides a delicious sauce, or beers, salad, and other kinds of seafood are a great choice. A traditional surf and turf salad, a shrimp cocktail ring, and a selection of great wines and beers are usually the perfect meal.
Additionally, make sure all your guests have the right equipment to get into their claws. This includes a bowl to discard the shells in after.
Where to Buy Stone Crab Claws?
We believe that the best stone crab claws are never frozen. That means we have a dedicated team of more than 80 fishermen bringing in the freshest stone crabs from the season. We pack and deliver all our claws in less than 36 hours of being caught and cooked and get them to you overnight within the US and Canada.
Now you know how to eat stone crab, you can order your stone crab claws with us while they’re still in season.