Father’s Day weekend is usually a big weekend around here. My dad’s birthday usually falls on, or on the day before. And, of course, since the baby has come along we’ve been celebrating Father’s Day. It also kind of signals the beginning of summer. And, for me, nothing says “summer” more than blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.

I’ve been eating these for every summer as far back as I remember. My dad, mom, and I would go “trotlining” early in the morning. By 10 o’clock we’d have a bushel of crabs. Now-adays, we live 20 minutes from “The Crab Capital Of The World”. Also known as Crisfield, Maryland. We buy the crabs by the bushel, live, right off the boat.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a pre-steamed crab, and I don’t know that I’d care to. You just need to make sure you have a large enough steaming vessel to cook them…a 7 gallon turkey fryer is ideal.


Steamed Blue Crabs

1/2 bushel live blue crabs (4 dozen)

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups beer (any kind will do)

8 cups water

1/2 cup Old Bay (seafood seasoning)

1/4 cup kosher salt

Combine the Old Bay and kosher salt. Combine the water, vinegar and beer in the bottom of a large steamer pot . Add the crabs in, a few at a time, seasoning with a tablespoon of seasoning here and there as you go. Bring the vinegar/water to a boil, then add the steamer basket full of crabs.  Cover. Cook on medium-high heat for 40 minutes. Remove lid, and continue to steam for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off before removing.

Serve on layers of newspaper, with vinegar and melted butter for dipping.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there!


  1. Posted June 22, 2009 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    Hey Laura,

    I just wanted to welcome you to BlogLand, and wish you well with Tide and Thyme! All of the best to you!

  2. Posted June 22, 2009 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted to know how to steam whole crab!

    Thank you so much for sharing, my boyfriend will love it!

  3. Posted June 24, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    I am so insanely jealous. We do steamed Texas blue crabs a few times a year, but they are no where near as good as the ones from Maryland.

  4. Posted June 25, 2009 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    yum. too bad we live in texas… not exactly the land of crab!

  5. Posted July 6, 2009 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    I’m drooling over your pics – especially the Yuengling. I hate that we can’t get it here in CT.

  6. Diane
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Interesting. We steam them too (we live near Lewes) but I have never added apple cider vinegar to the pot and instead just beer and water. I’m going to try your recipe over Labor Day weekend. Thanks for the tip.

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