RiverHouse Recipes – Maryland Blue Crabs

There is no more quintessential summer food for the residents of the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia). A pile of steamed crabs and beers on a hot, humid day. Shells flying everywhere, the sound of claws cracking and the oh so exquisite sting of Old Bay as it gets into the tiny cuts you receive from the shell.

©2015 RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY
©2015 RiverHouse Photography of Caughdenoy, NY


Every crab place in Maryland will steam the crabs for you and they do a perfectly fine job. However, I like my crabs right out of the pot. Preferably, just barely cool enough to handle. So, I cook them myself in a 10 gallon Aluminum steamer pot. I put that on a propane jet burner. And turn it up.



If you wish, you can kill the crabs by turning them on their backs and stabbing them with a sharp knife right below the mouth. I don’t but it has no effect on the recipe, one way or the other.

I suggest that you follow this recipe exactly (or not). And here’s a pro tip: don’t use cheap/bad beer in this recipe. It makes a huge difference. You’ll thank me for the advice.

Shoot me a line with any questions or comments. ENJOY!



3 Dozen Jumbo Maryland Blue Crabs
4 cups White Vinegar
4 cups India Pale Ale
1/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
3 cups Old Bay seasoning


1. Add Vinegar, India Pale Ale, salt and peppercorns to pot and bring to boil.
2. Place 6 crabs in steamer basket and lower into pot making sure liquid does not touch crabs.
3. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Old Bay seasoning on crabs.
4. Add 6 more crabs to steamer basket. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of Old Bay. Cover tightly.
5. Steam for 30 minutes. (Exactly)
6. Remove and dump on table. Serve with more Old Bay, Butter, Hot Sauce, or whatever you choose. I like mine with nothing.
7. Repeat for the remaining 24.

Grilled corn on the cob, salt potatoes and oyster hush puppies are great accompaniments.

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