Recipe: Beer-Steamed Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs


A delightful messy, family, finger food

I remember going out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a child and eating steamed crabs, doused in piquant seasoning, and steamed in beer, they were truly delectable.  We were given a mallet, bib, and paper place mats with instructions on the method of dissecting crabs.

  • ½ cup hot pepper seasoning such as Old Bay, or a blend of cayenne and salt
  • ½ cup salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups beer
  • 3 dozen live Maryland Blue hard crabs 

Mix seasonings, vinegar and beer (or water) well. Place half of the crabs in a very large pot with a rack set high enough to keep them from touching the beer, and with a tight-fitting lid. Sprinkle half of the seasoning evenly over. Add the remaining crabs and liquid. Steam covered, until crabs turn bright red, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Serve hot or cold. Serves 9-12, depending on the size of the crabs.

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