Should You Boil or Steam Blue Crabs?
by Nathan Glass on Jun 15, 2022
Should You Boil or Steam Blue Crabs?
The age old question. Everyone has their own opinion on whether boiling or steaming your blue crabs produce the best results. Much like lots of other food recipes and ingredients, individuals from varying regions of the country pick a side and do anything to defend their stance. Today, we’ll dive deep into both sides of the argument to hopefully inspire you to make a decision.
Majority of blue crab eaters on the eastern coastline tend to stick to one method of cooking crabs: boiling. Most of the time, its straight into boiling water, no seasoning added. Other times, it will be doused in buckets of Cajun seasoning for those that can get with the heat.
For those who that let the blue crabs take the plunge, they argue that boiling water results in more flavor due to the crab soaking in the liquid, thus absorbing it all and making it much tastier to eat. When steaming, the flavors get lost and remain only on the surface of the crab’s shell.
Seasoning becomes much easier when boiling crabs. By pouring your go-to seafood salt, you create a delicious bath concoction, evenly distributed throughout, for your blue crabs to remain moist. On the other hand, when steaming crabs, they are unable to soak up the mix.
Not only does boiling crabs create a great texture to the sweet meat, but once the feast has finished, you are left with an incredible seafood broth that can be used as repurposed stock in soups, dipping sauces, etc. 2-for-1 action!
Marylanders, like myself, have decided that there is only one way to cook a crab and that is by steaming. Blue crab-enthusiasts swear by this method and if asked whether they’ve ever thought of boiling, be prepared for some strong words.
Crab steamers can agree that steaming blue crabs using a good light beer and some Old Bay seasoning, cooks the crabs faster and more efficiently without the concern of water logging. When boiling your crabs, the sweet meat becomes overwhelmingly seasoned. By steaming, you protect the natural taste of the cooked blue crab meat, while adding a touch of salt.
Steaming is not as risky as boiling. Sometimes, boiling crabs can result in overcooked wet crab, making it increasingly more difficult to clean and eat. By removing the direct contact of liquid, you maximize the sweetness and texture of the delicate meat. Oftentimes prepared to an oven, steaming allows the crab meat to cook in its natural juices for the ultimate crab taste.
Which method do you prefer and why? Leave a response in the comments below!
To Pat OConnor: Breaux Bridge crawfish are good, stone crabs in south Florida are great, and Maryland crab cakes are good as well. Just as a heads up, Maryland buys most of “their” blue crabs from Louisiana.
Steaming MD Blue Crabs is the only way to go. The Gulf Coast calls their crabs Blue Crab – but they are a far cry from our MD Blues. Breaux Bridge crawfish are fantastic – in Breaux Bridge. Stone crabs are excellent in Miami. Dungeness crabs are terrific on the Pacific Coast. But steamed MD Blue Crabs and MD Crab cakes are the most sought-after throughout the country. We have traveled thru 49 states and 10 provinces. Each has a local favorite and outstanding delicacy. MD Blue Crab is also acknowledged to be the top of the chain!!
Steamed is the way to go the crab isn’t waterlogged and the spice, lick it off your fingers, isn’t overwhelming, and serve it with your favorite beer.
I much prefer boiled over steamed. I don’t like the grittiness of shaking Old Bay all over them. We use liquid boil in Louisiana and it is much cleaner. Where most people go wrong with boiling is that they overcook them. I always tell people that seafood should be just cooked through. Think like cooking a steak medium.
Boiled is my favorite. I have had steamed, but I prefer spicy food.