Picking crab with melted butter.

Learn the basics of how to pick a crab and you’ll taste the rewards faster than any rookie crab picker.

Tasting fresh picked crab is the definition of sumptuousness. Picking through the crab shells to get at this tasty meat is a sloppy job that tests many people’s patience. It’s a labour of love and isn’t for everyone.

Luckily, having the right tools and using a tried and true method helps bring this labour of love into fruition with less hassle and frustration.


A few tools you will need:

  • Kitchen shears
  • A mallet or a hammer
  • Seafood crackers
  • Newspaper
  • Seafood picks or wooden skewers
  • One large bowl and one smaller bowl
  • A sink


Get Pickin’

First step: Line your work area with newspaper. Hold the crab’s body and break off his claws and legs. Set the body down and lightly crack the claws with your seafood crackers or you can use your mallet (or hammer).  Remove the meat with your fingers, either put the crab meat in the smaller bowl for later or dip it in melted butter. Put the discarded shells into the large bowl.

Step two: (If you are picking a Blue crab move on to step three): Pick up one leg at a time and try to break open the shell with your fingers. If you can’t break the shell then use scissors to cut them lengthwise. If the shells are too tough for scissors (Red Rock crab) then lightly crack the shells with the mallet. Use the seafood picks to remove the meat from the tough to reach areas. Continue this step until all the legs have been picked clean.

Step three: Bring the body of the crab to your sink and flip it over so the underside is facing you. Find the apron (the triangular tab) and pull it off. Pry the top of the shell off of the bottom part of the body.

Step four: Under running water, wash away all the crab innards. The gills on both sides of the crab will need to be pulled off; the rest will wash away easily.  Continue to rinse until you are left with white meat inside.

Step five: Break the body in half. You can use kitchen shears if your hands aren’t strong enough. Pick through each chamber until the body is picked clean. This is the easiest part of the crab to pick through and where the sweetest meat comes from.


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