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Anybody ever done a crab boil?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of doing one. Would one of those turkey fryers work?
post #2 of 21
Never done one, but I don't see why it wouldn't. But you'll need something to cover the pot, and weights to keep the cover on -- otherwise you'll have crabs jumping out and scuttling all around your driveway (like the lobsters in Annie Hall). Then you'll have to run them down and crack them with the car tires instead of mallets -- not very appetizing. :eek:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 21
Used a turkey fryer once before but most seem to be pretty small considering the crabs take up a lot of room along with the water and beer you need to add for the liquid. I'll have to see how large of a pot I use.
post #4 of 21
How many crabs are you talking about? If you put too many in the pot the water temperature will drop and not kill the crabs as you drop them in. The meat will end up over cooked and chewy if the water does not come back to a boil quickly. I wouldn't put more than 5 or 6 crabs in the pot (depending on the size of the crabs). After it comes back to a boil, cook for 15 min.
My family has crab and lobster boils/bakes almost every weekend in the summer! The first time I tried to boil lobster I made this mistake. Not fun!
post #5 of 21

How to Boil Crabs

This is how we do it down south. If you don't need the spice just leave it out or cut back.

NolaKingfish

......................

Boiled Crab Recipe

Preparation time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes

4 gallons water
1/2 cup salt
1 package seafood boil
1 tblsp creole seasoning
1 tblsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
6 - 8 Live Lake Crabs (depending on size)

Method:
In a large pot, place the water, salt, seafood boil, creole seasoning, cayenne, granulated garlic and white and black pepper. Stir and bring to a rolling boil. Put in live lake crabs. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow crabs to soak up spices for another 15 minutes. Strain out crabs. If you're cooking more of them, put them in an ice chest and sprinkle creole seasoning over each new batch. Change the water and seasonings after two boils.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
What were they crawling out of the pot?

Thanks nolakingfish, so it's 4 gallons of liquid for 6-8 crabs.

Does a normal gas stove work for this?

I only have a 5 gallon pot.
post #7 of 21
Hey oh

Ok, time for my HUH? question. The only live crab we get here is dungeness. Is this the size crab that we are talking about? I can't see more than 2 or 3 of these fitting into my largest stock pot :( (they are only 6 inches or so accross, but they are also surrounded by legs :D)

And my largest stock pot, full, takes about half an hour (or more) to come to a full boil!

:D
Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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post #8 of 21
Use about the same ingriedients, but also use a few beers to add in the bottom of the pot first. The "sauce" works great on pasta right after you are done eating the crabs.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hah! What's that commercial which goes something like "any recipe which starts with open three beers can't be all bad?" :)
post #10 of 21
yep, think thats for a Bratwurst commercial. and yes any recipie with beer is a very good thing. :D
post #11 of 21
Here on the US East Coast, it's usually Blue Crabs, which are much smaller than Dungeness, with lighter shells (but not when they're "soft shells" -- those we saute or deep fry or broil or grill or . . . :lips: )

I'm still surprised that people seem to have said NO to using a turkey fryer -- aren't those big volume pots -- up around 30 quarts? And if the burner can keep the temperature hot enough to fry a whole turkey, surely it can keep water at a boil? Kuan: how big is your pot, and how many BTUs?
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #12 of 21
Turkey Cooker should do it.....
Blue crabs are what I'm used to boiling....crawfish too!!
Zataran's Spice bags or liquid, I use both simultaniously
lemons halved
salt, lots of salt
cayene....to taste
whole heads of garlic....

corn and andouile as well as new/B red tatos....ummmmmmm
some throw in artichokes...messes up the water if you ask me.
I do not put beer in the boil, I do put beer in the cooks. :D
And it's a leisurely beer fueled venture!!!
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 21
Thanks. I had blue crabs once. I don't know that I will do them again untill I do them with someone that is already familiar with them. 2 dozzen crabs and no meat in a one :( (really, I figure I must have messed something up, or missed something somewhere... grrr, and they were not cheep either. After the shop lost nearly all of the remaining crabs I don't think they will carry them again. Same thing happened with the conch they carried, and the anemonies. Just not enough people here that know what they are doing with these critters.... ah, but I get live eel twice a year, dungeness and lobster year round, and I live near a fish farm and get live trout year round, and tilapia year round.)

Also, I live in South Ontario. Does anyone know of a seller of this sausage in this area? I know there isn't any companies exporting it from the US online.
Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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Space...the final frontier. These are the voyages of KeeperOfTheGood. His lifetime mission: to explore strange new worlds of flavour, to seek out new life and and ways of cooking it- to boldly grill where no man has grilled before.
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post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
The pot on the fryer looks like it's about the size of my biggest pot so I'd say about 5 gallons. Figure 2 quarts a crab+corn+stuff like shroom says, I should be able to get 12 crabs+stuff in it no? Enough to feed four people maybe.

Maybe it's time to call some old friends and borrow a bigger pot! ;)

Edit: No it's actually a bit bigger. I'd say maybe 6.5-7 gallons.
post #15 of 21
No need to get a bigger pot, especially if your pot has a strainer basket in it. Just make your first batch, with all the trimmings, and as your breaking into the first crabs, bring your water to a boil again and add more crabs. They will cook while your working on the first batch. I don't think 12 crabs will do it for 4 people. Not a whole lot of meat on those suckers sometimes. I usually plan on 6-10 crabs per person, but then again, when I do things like this it's not often so we tend to overindulge. I tend to agree about skipping the beer for crabs. When doing shrimp or even crawfish I find it adds to the flavor, but for crabs I find it doesn't add enough to make it worthwhile, so as shroom said, keep the beer for yourself.

Up here in Wisconsin, where fish boils rule (personally I think they are terrible) they have these boilers that are about the size of turkey fryers, or maybe a bit bigger, but they contain a large strainer basket, almost the size of the pot itself. Makes it real easy to pull everything out, and then doing crab, shrimp, or crawfish boils it's great because you can reuse the already hot water, and not have to wait for a new batch of water to come to a boil.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #16 of 21
I thought you guys realized that a crab boil is an event.....the longer the seasoned water boils the more flavor the spices impart.....In southern Louisiana we would plan on several hours.....drinking beer all the while of course. Shoot I figure that's why there are so many men boiling/cooking whole pigs....it's a beer bonding experience.
Let the crabs/shrimp/crawfish absorb alot of the seasonings.....ummm and make alot of B potatoes, the potato salad you'll make the next day with these spicy numbers is incredible!!!!!
J :)
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #17 of 21
Of course a turkey fryer - it's just a big pot - will boil the **** out of crabs. It's usually over a 70,000 btu burner. It's a lot safer filled with spiced water rather than with boiling oil for the turkeys. :rolleyes:

I've boiled crabs in Boston, in tidewater Virginia, in Houston, in California, and in Seattle. (The last three using Dungeness crab, which make the famed East Coast Blue Crab seem anorexic.) Go to Asian markets for reasonably-priced Dungeness. Since discovering the Dungeness, I've said you can sit down to a bushel of cooked Blue Crabs and starve to death while you're trying to get at the meat!

Actually the best crab "boil" was worked out in Houston by my son, using the Asian-market Dungeness: he euthanizes the crabs in the turkey fryer pot in water spiced to your taste, but does not cook them fully. He then lets them cool enough to clean, and takes them apart, thoroughly cracks the legs and body parts, and slathers these with a slurry of butter/olive oil and LOTS of fresh garlic all ground up in a food processor. Don't forget some Cayenne pepper.

Massage the slurry over the cracked crab parts so as much as possible gets through the broken shell into the meat. Finish for a few minutes on the BBQ grill. A little smoke is nice- we liked pecan wood.

Serve with the usual accompniaments- tossed green salad and crusty bread toasted with the same garlic slurry, and lots of paper towels.

Mike :bounce:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #18 of 21
I have a question about the shrimp boil. I'd like to do one for my family as it's something they have never nor will ever do. It's not something that happens in Colorado very often! Getting good quality ingredients will be difficult for me, but I'll see what I can do!

Anyway, to my question! I have never participated in such a fantastic sounding event, and would like to know if your non-seafood items end up tasting 'fishy' as they all cook together. There are a few members of my family that do not like seafood, but would scarf down the sausages, potatoes & corn as long as they didn't taste fishy! Can someone help me out?
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Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
post #19 of 21
JB,
The shrimp only takes minutes. Cook the other items first, pull some for the non shrimp guests, and cook the shrimp.
We have annual mudbug and shrimp boils. We have two large pots. I do the others items first, put into pans leaving a well in the center. Cover and then the shrimp, dump in the middle and add the last FIRE spice

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post #20 of 21
Jenni...

"There are a few members of my family that do not like seafood, but would scarf down the sausages, potatoes & corn as long as they didn't taste fishy! Can someone help me out?"

Crabs are not, after all, fish. They don't seem to impart much of their flavor to the accompniments (sp?) since the spices and flavorings are pretty strong. I think you could try this on your benighted relatives without much danger of offending them. You can eat the good stuff - the crabs - and they can have the trimmings.

Who knows? They could get used to one kind of sea-dweller and maybe move on to some others!

Mike :rolleyes:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #21 of 21
wow, it seems like a lot of people here are overcooking their crabs(IMO). An average pot of boiling water, filled with an average amount of blue crabs (not overcrowded) will be cooked in about 8 minutes after the crabs hit the water. Any longer is overcooked. In our 60q stock pots, three dozen cook in 8 minutes. usually the water does not return to a boil, our wolf black iron simply does not pump out enough BTUs to boil the water again. Dungeness are finished in 10 minutes. lobsters are finished in 10 minutes. Again, the water does not usually return to a boil.

as far as flavoring goes, nothign that you add to the water can effect the flavor of the lobster/crab/crayfish, since they are a closed system and flavor neither escapes or enters. HOWEVER, the spices etc added to the water DO effect the flavor of the corn or potatoes that are cooked in the same water.

my advice: get a turkey frier up to a boil and cook the crabs in reasonable batches for 8 minutes each. Be warned: with blue crabs you DO sit down hungry and get up tired.

good luck!!

Erik.
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