I am often asked the questions “What makes Maryland crabs the best” and “When is the best time to get crabs?” The answers are simple but complex at the same time.
Maryland crabs are the best because of the “mustard” as we call it, that bright yellow liquid, that sweetens the meat of the crab. This is actually the hepatopancreas, a main component of the crab’s digestive system that looks like tubes acting as the crabs liver and pancreas. To most this is delicacy and is eaten and to rest it is weird and they won’t touch it. I personally suggest you taste it but the color plays a big factor.
Maryland crabs 8-9 times out of 10 will have a bright yellow mustard, Louisiana crabs are about 6-7 times out of 10, and Texas or North Carolina is about 4-5 out of 10. The rest will have a green color or will not have the great odor to them. For this reason, you never know when you crack open that crab what you will find!
To answer the question “When is the best time to get crabs”, the answer is simply anytime but holidays. Holidays are the worst because the demand skyrockets thus causing the crabbers to drop the grading of the crab. Small crabs and light crabs that should be going to picking houses are being sold for top dollar.
The best months for Maryland crabs, contrary to popular belief, is fall. The crab by then has enough time to grow from winter hibernation, and the crabbers are grading the crabs properly. Louisiana crabs are great all year round, and I am not a big fan of Carolina or Texas crabs.
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Chef | Co-Owner