WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT
MARYLAND BLUE CRABS?
To survive winter, Chesapeake Bay crabs have to build up extra fat stores which gives them that sweet, buttery flavor you won’t find in other types of crabs or in blue crabs from other waters.
The #1 male crab, also known as a “Jimmy”, are typically the most sought after crabs. They typically range from 5 ½ – 6 ½ inches. They are easily identified by their blue claws and inverted t-shaped apron which resembles the Washington Monument. #1 Males tend to have flakier meat.
Jumbo crabs are simply very large Jimmys. They typically range from 6 ½ inches and up.
The #2 male crab, are smaller Jimmys. They are typically caught right after shedding their old shell and have not quite filled out their new bigger shell. They range from 5 – 5 ½ inches.
The females, also known as “Sook” can be identified by the orange color on the tips of the claws or their dome shaped apron. The Sooks are typically sought after for the sweet taste and the egg roe that sometimes is present inside the crab. Sooks tend to contain less meat than their male counterpart and the meat is denser. No size limits are set for mature females.
HOW DO I KNOW I’M GETTING THE REAL DEAL?
HOW TO EAT MARYLAND CRABS
LIKE A PRO
- Twist off the legs and claws off the body. Discard the legs and put the claws aside for now.
- Pull off the apron (the flap located on the abdomen).
- Turn the crab over and pull upward on the shell from the back of the crab peeling it forward.
- Grab each side firmly and bend in the middle, breaking in half. Take each half and break those in half too.
- Pick the meat from each half. (Pro tip: slide the extracted meat across the top shell to pick up some delicious seasoning)
- Crack the claws with a mallet and extract the meat.