Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to cook stone crab claws

We love just about every type of seafood, and stone crab claws are near the top of our list of favorites. What’s not to love? The crabmeat from stone crab claws is almost lobster-like in flavor, but the flesh isn’t as tough as lobster meat usually is. I think catching stone crabs is almost as enjoyable as eating the claws! When we visit the Gulf of Mexico, we always set out a trap or two, and the grandkids absolutely love crabbing for stone crabs and blue crabs. Oftentimes, our crab traps will produce a “mixed bag” of stone crabs and blue crabs, resulting in a crab feast for the family. If you’re interested in learning how to catch stone crabs or how to catch blue crabs, I have posts on this site that address those topics.

Okay, so after you’ve caught some stone crabs and removed the largest claw from each crab, what do you do with the stone crab claws? How to cook stone crab claws? Cooking stone crab claws isn’t difficult, but you want to do it as quickly as you can. This will help keep the crabmeat from adhering to the inside of the hard shell.

For three pounds of stone crab claws, bring about a gallon of water to a boil. Add about 2/3 cup sea salt. You might also want to add a mesh bag of crab or shrimp boil, or you can add your own herbs and spices, instead. For example, you might want to include cayenne, lemon pepper, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard seed, and/or coriander. Actually, many cooks prefer their stone crab claws to be cooked in plain saltwater. The choice is up to you.

Once the water comes to a full boil, add the stone crab claws. Once the pot returns to the boiling pot, place the lid on and reduce the stove burner to medium. The stone crab claws will need to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the claws. You might want to test the largest claw to make sure the crabmeat is white, flaky, and opaque – signifying that the crabs are done.

Once the crabs are done, remove them from the pot immediately and place them in a colander in your sink. Rinse the stone crab claws with cold water. Actually, I sometimes cover mine in crushed ice, too. This makes the crabmeat somewhat easier to remove from the shell because the cold temperature makes the meat contract some.

If you buy stone crab claws from the market, they’ve already been cooked, so they can be eaten as-is, unless you prefer warm or hot stone crab claws, or unless the claws are frozen. In that case, the claws should be heated in very hot – but not boiling – water, until they reach the desired temperature. Be careful, however, not to overcook your stone crab claws!

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