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Classic Maryland Crab Feast

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INGREDIENTS

  • All should be deselecte
  • 4 dozen blue crabs (live)
  • 2 lbs. of ice
  • bay leaves, 1/2 ounce (about 48 leaves)
  • 1 paprika cup
  • 1 cup salt (celery)
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • Two 12-ounce lager beer bottles
  • apple cider vinegar, 3 cup

DIRECTIONS

Transfer the crabs to a big refrigerator after rinsing them with cool water. Cover with ice and let aside for 1 hour, or until the crabs are completely still.

In the meantime, finely grind the bay leaves in a spice grinder to make the seafood seasoning. Add the paprika, celery salt, and cayenne to a mixing bowl.

Pour the beer, vinegar, 2 teaspoons of seafood seasoning, and 6 cups water into a 36-quart stockpot with a basket insert. To blend, stir everything together. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat with the steamer basket (the liquid should be below the basket).

Place 12 crabs, shell-side up, on the steamer rack in a single layer. 1/4 cup seafood seasoning, liberally strewn on top. With the remaining crabs and spice, repeat the layering and sprinkling process. Cover and steam for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crabs are bright orange all over (no remnants of blue or green).

Serve the crabs with crab mallets for cracking the shells on a wide platter or rimmed baking sheet–or spread them out immediately on a table covered with butcher paper.

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