When you think of cooking blue crabs you usually think of heaping them into a huge pot and steaming them alive. Even though I worked in a Crab House for years and that is the method we used to cook the crabs, I still come back to cooking them the way I learned growing up. We would clean them while they were alive and then cook them.

Now, to clean a blue crab while it is still alive you have to be very careful that they do not chomp down on your finger with their claws. To avoid this there are two methods that you can use to slow their reflexes.

Clean Home

1. You can place them in very hot water

2. You can ice them down real good

These two methods will allow you to pick up the crab and not have to worry about being bit.

Cleaning a live blue crab

Once you have them sedated you will need a knife, running water, a huge trash bag and a place to put the clean crabs. Follow these steps to clean the live crab.

1. Lay crab on its back and using the knife remove the apron/abdomen of the crab.

2. Take the knife and insert it through the opening where the apron once was and remove the shell of the crab disposing of it in the trash bag.

3. While rinsing under running water, remove the dead men gills and any guts that were left in the crab, being very careful not to remove any of the white flesh/meat.

4. Usually the face of the crab will come off with the shell but if not be sure to remove the crabs face as well.

5. Do one final rinse under the water and place clean crabs in a bowl and set aside.

With your crabs now clean it is time to cook them.

Cooking blue crabs

Since you know longer have the shell on the crab it takes a lot less time for you to cook the crabs then it normally would. Add water and seasoning (we use J.O. Spice #2 ) to the bottom of the pan and stir. Place lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, place about 10 crabs face down in the juices, cover and let cook for exactly 10 minutes. I like to move them around half way through cooking them to ensure that the juices soak into all the crab's meat.

There you have it! After all that hard work, melt you some butter, get you some vinegar and enjoy your blue crabs.

How to Clean and Cook Blue Crabs

Audrey grew up on the Chesapeake Bay where her love for Blue Crabs began. Her entire family spends summers together where they clean bushels of crabs and cook them for their annual family "Crab Feast." She has recently taken her love for blue crabs online and you can follow her post, videos, advice and recipes at http://blue-crabs.blogspot.com/