The Crab Boil

The Crab Boil

A crab boil is actually the spice mixture used in the flavoring of the boiling water that is used to cook crabs or shellfish.

It is often times also the same termed used for the social event or gathering that tends to take place during a seafood boil. Crab boils are popular in many areas of the United States including Maryland. In Maryland, however the crabs are typically stemmed over the boiling water, and not in the water as is done in many other locations.

How To Prepare A Maryland Crab Boil?

Maryland Crab Boils use Atlantic Ocean Blue crabs most often. Crab boils are rather simple to do and are great for family or friends get together. You will need a large pot that will fit a steamer rack on the inside for steaming the crabs. You will only need a few ingredients to get the boil going which include:

·         Water

·         White Wine Vinegar

·         Light Beer

·         Old Bay Seasoning

·         Large Blue Crab

Once you have all your ingredients, you will want to place the water, vinegar and beer in the pot and bring to a boil. You only need about an inch or two of liquid in the pot. Fit your steamer into the pot and carefully place the Blue Crabs on the steamer rack with the belly ups. Sprinkle the crab with the Old Bay and cover the pot with a tightly fitted lid. The crabs should be steamed through after about ten minutes.

Additional food pairings:

There are a number of side dishes or food pairings you can serve up with your Crab boil but the most popular items are potatoes, steamed corn on the cob and kielbasa or smoked sausage. The food items you choose to serve with your crab boil should be simple and steamed additions that can be cooked with the crab.

Beverage pairings:

The most popular beverage to pair with your crab boil will be a nice cold beer. IPA's tend to be the best pairing since they offer a lot of hops and crisp flavors that complement the crab meat really well. Simple light beers are also recommended.

Spices to use:

In Maryland, the most common spices used in the Crab boil is the Chesapeake Bay crab seasoning, also referred to as Old Bay. The Old Bay seasoning is a combination of a number of spices, including:

·         Mustard

·         Paprika

·         Celery Salt

·         Black Pepper

·         Nutmeg

·         Cardamom

·         Ginger

·         And more.

Make It Fun!

Crab boils are all about the social atmosphere. Most often, traditional plates and silverware are left out at these gatherings. You will typically see tables cover in newspaper where the crab and other steamed foods are poured out. Make sure you have plenty of melted butter on hand for dipping! There is no other easier and more fun way to be able to serve up a satisfying meal to your friends and family than with a crab boil.

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