Where To Buy Crabs In Baltimore – Brian and I both grew up in Maryland, and when you’re from Maryland, you eat Maryland boiled crab. But ever since we moved to Denver 24 years ago, we were a little rusty on the best places to go. Over the past year, we’ve been back and forth quite a bit in Maryland for family stuff, which has allowed us to re-acquaint ourselves with crab houses all over the state. So, I thought I’d share a list of the best places in Maryland to get steamed blue crabs. Everyone has their favorites, especially neighborhood dives – so please add yours in the comments!
Summer is the best time for crabs because they migrate to the Chesapeake Bay during the warmer months. The truth of the matter is that some places in Maryland, especially in the winter, are shipping in crabs from Louisiana – which are fine – just wanted you to know. Of all the places below, you’ll find the best crabbing close to the water. It seems obvious, but sometimes you can’t move across state and need to fix it.
Where To Buy Crabs In Baltimore
Crabs – any time of year – are expensive. I heard gasps of shock when the server told them the prices the last time we were out. Obviously the cost varies depending on the season, but “all you can eat” will typically be $35-55 per person, all small crabs, with a time limit. We like to sit down and enjoy the act of eating crabs, so we usually choose this option – but if you know you’ll only be eating a certain number of crabs, go for a few large or extra large (upside down). May be less hassle and less cost to obtain. $100 per dozen) and go to town.
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Don’t know how to eat crab? Here’s a video from Visit Annapolis that covers the basics. If you just want the instructions, skip to minute 1:40. Believe me, everyone has their own opinion on this! For example, I don’t take out the claws first – not at all! Ask your server to guide you if you have any questions. The blue crab population of the Chesapeake Bay was recently estimated at 300 million. Some years, that figure is double. Meanwhile, the human population of the greater Baltimore area is a mere 2.7 million. With this imbalance, it’s little wonder that steamed blue crabs have been a Baltimore favorite for generations.
With its location on the banks of the Chesapeake, Baltimore became a major center of the crab industry. Restaurants and taverns appeared along the docks and wharves, specializing in boiled blue crabs and ice cold beer. In fact, the famous Baltimore-based crab condiment, known as Old Bay, was developed as a way to keep customers thirsty and ordering more beer.
Eating blue crabs the traditional Baltimore way is not for the faint of heart or those who prefer to eat off white linen tablecloths. Rather, steamed blue crabs are often piled in the middle of a table covered in paper. Diners use small hammers, knives, and even their bare hands to crack open the tough shells and scoop out the tender flesh inside. It’s a messy experience, but also a lot of fun, and quintessentially Maryland (crab cakes are also a regional specialty, but they can’t match the unique fresh-from-the-ocean flavor).
Captain James Crab House, Nick’s Fish House, and L.P. There are dozens of well-known and lesser-known places serving Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab around Baltimore, including Steamboat. Or head down the road to nearby Annapolis and enjoy an iconic Maryland meal of steamed blue crab at the lovely Jimmy Cantler Riverside Inn.
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Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab season runs roughly from May through October. Still, you’ll find steamed crab on the menu year-round in some establishments. That’s because crabs are sometimes flown in from Texas, Louisiana, and elsewhere—something Baltimore natives prefer to keep quiet.
One last tip before you break down: Feel free to wear a bib while digging into your steamy pile of blue crab. Just be aware that you’ll be marked as a tourist, as no self-respecting Baltimorean would ever be caught dead in a crab bib.
Are you a fan of Baltimore crabs? Vote for them as your favorite iconic American food in the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards contest here. We may be biased, but you can’t come without trying our state crustacean, the Maryland blue crab. Whether you choose to carve your own crab at a traditional crab feast, try a crab cake or add some crab meat to an otherwise simple dish, we’ve got plenty of options.
Few things are more important here than Maryland blue crabs. (The name comes from the color of their claws, but they turn reddish-orange once ripe.) And while they’re found throughout East Coast waters, Marylanders have mastered the art of eating them . In fact, about 50% of the country’s blue crab comes from the Chesapeake Bay.
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Maryland crabs are most plentiful in the summer and early fall, and a traditional steamed crab feast is best enjoyed outdoors, with all the garnishes like Old Bay seasoning, melted butter, corn on the cob, and ice cold beer Is. If you want to tuck in while you’re in town, here’s an insider’s guide to crabbing.
In Maryland, we steam our crabs. If someone suggests other remedies, like boiling, you are in the wrong place. Some longtime local favorites include Captain James Landing, Phillips Seafood, and L.P. Steamer included. You can feast there or take your crabs to-go with other add-ons like Maryland Crab Soup, Crab Cakes or Mussels.
Picking crabs is considered a community experience, best enjoyed with the breeze coming out of the water and an icy cold beer in front of you, but it can be done anywhere. Just lay down some newspaper or brown kraft paper on the table for easy cleanup and toss a few dozen crabs on top to get started. Of course you will need tools: a knife comes in handy for cracking the shell, and a wooden or metal mallet for crushing the legs. Be sure to take your time choosing the meat so you don’t miss out on any of the good stuff.
If you don’t want to go through all the work of picking your own crabs, your next best bet is a crab cake (jumbo lumps and no fillers whenever possible). Faidley’s Seafood has been serving softball-sized crab cakes since 1886. Oprah Winfrey (who started her career in 1996) is a big fan of Pappas Seafood Company crab cakes. Seasoned locals can also mention Costas Inn, Gertrude’s (which also offers a vegetarian option), Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, and Cocoa Pub.
Baltimore Crab Deck
No crab dish is complete without the beloved seasoning Old Bay. A blend of 18 spices, it was invented by a German immigrant named Gustav Braun and became popular in the 1940s. In 1990, McCormick & Company bought the recipe and it remains the same as it was nearly 100 years ago. The full recipe is top secret, and while you can find some very good imitations, nothing compares to the original. And love to put it on almost anything – seafood, chicken, fries, popcorn, pizza – the list goes on and we encourage you to experiment.
If crabs still aren’t your forte, we won’t kick you out, but we will direct you to some amazing seafood restaurants that serve up other Chesapeake Bay specialties like rockfish, oysters, and mussels.
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Maryland Steamed Crabs
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