Rachel's Table

How to Throw a Maryland-Style Crab Feast: A Photo Guide

1. Text friends the following message: “crab feast on Sunday?”

2. Gather friends.
IMG_02313. Line your table with a double layer of the Sunday paper.

4. Buy Old Bay seasoned, steamed crabs and beer (preferably Maryland brewed Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale). Side dishes are incidental.

IMG_02285. Use a mallet and your hands to get at the meaty goodness.

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6. Get the kids involved.

IMG_0256 IMG_0248 IMG_02577. Don’t eat the lungs, but do eat the “mustard” (aka, the yellow-colored deliciousness found inside, made up of stuff we don’t want to talk about but don’t mind eating)


8. Take time out to check the score on the World Cup game.


9. Laugh a lot.

IMG_023210. See who can make the biggest shell pile.

IMG_0259 IMG_0262

11. Relax.

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 Thanks to BnB Seafood in Elkton, MD (but mostly to Kevin, Tiffany, Adam and Lindsey) for the crab feast!

Have you ever enjoyed a Maryland-style crab feast? What’s your summer tradition? 





  1. It simply isn’t summer without a crab feast! I started a similar how-to post a couple of years ago after a farewell party for my son who wasn’t going to have a crab feast for a while, but I got to the part about the steps to eating a crab and realized that, at least in my world, everyone has a “right” way. You handled that well, especially the part about having fun.

    Even if the thought of eating a crab isn’t for you, at least half the fun is the social interaction, and most hosts/hostesses have something else on hand so you’ll feel welcome.

    It’s not even 8 am and I want steamed crabs now. 🙂

    • This was my first crab feast ever, and I plan to have a few more this summer. It’s such a fun way to spend an afternoon. And yes, you’re right, there’s definitely tried and true steps everyone can use to get at the meat, but I found myself just doing what worked. And the whole point is to have fun, right? Do you eat the “mustard”?

  2. I knew I shouldn’t have ignored your text… I’ve had crab/crawfish/shrimp fests like this before, but not necessarily in Maryland. Luv the mess. I’d always try to sit next to kids because they’d always miss a ton of the meat and I’d swoop in.

    • You, Sir, are an opportunist (and smart to sit next to the kids). The mess, the newspaper, flying shells, and the beer–I love all of it.

      I expect a text next time you go to the Slurping Turtle (and a plane ticket).

  3. I went to school in Maine, so like you, seafood means lobster (much easier to get at the meat, as you know). I lived in Baltimore for a while and did the crab thing often–as much a social event as a meal!

  4. I need this to be my new tradition! And Mr. Rache is wearing his Allagash tee! I wear mine constantly – it is SO. Soft. Maybe it’s made of that crab stuff we can’t talk about.

    • It’s so much fun, Jules! Maybe we should do this in Maine but substitute lobster for crabs. Just throw a heap of them on a table covered in newspaper and go to town. I’m swooning at the thought.

      PS – it’s his favorite tee!

  5. Love crab! Grew up on Gulf Coast blue crab…caught our own with butcher scraps (chicken guts) as a kid. They are super delicious, if not a bit more work to get from sea to mouth,but sustainable catch is always best. Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

      • Though these guys are more akin to insects than animals, they remain off my menu for other reasons. Sustainable crabbing (removing crab without sufficiently altering undersea ecosystems) in our area has not been well-established, and the locavore in me won’t have them shipped from thousands of miles away. So it’s a hearty “no thank you” for this vegan girl! Perhaps when I visit the northeast…

    • Email me your digits and I’ll make sure you receive a text next time. What fun that would be! And I have a have a feeling any side dish you bring would be way more than incidental.

  6. Yep, sounds about right. We’ve been trying to plan our first crab feast of the year with the fam, but everyone is so busy and we can’t seem to get it together. Hence, NO crabs yet this season for moi. The sadness is almost overwhelming. And then you have to post this tease of a post! For shame, Rach. And nary an invite, either. Jules and I could have made it there within just a couple of hours of an invite!

    Although, I will add that the sides aren’t incidental. The thing about crabs is that you can sit and pick for hours, and still only get a few ounces of meat, so you need something hearty to fill you up after/during/before you eat them. The beer is non-negotiable, of course. Crabs + beer = mandatory. Not sure how I’ll handle that THIS summer. 😉

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