Monday, September 5, 2011
Unfrozen Caveman Food Critic - Chesapeake Crab Co.
Several months ago, I purchased a Groupon.com deal for "Live Blue Crabs" from the Chesapeake Crab Co. Experience has taught me that the "Groupon Effect" can often be a double edged sword as small businesses are often overrun and overwhelmed by enthusiastic new customers, so I held off on redeeming my deal until Labor Day weekend.
Prior to setting out, we called Chesapeake Crab to make sure that there were crabs available. Unfortunately, the holiday demand had exhausted the supply of live crabs, and we were informed that the only crabs left were those that had been steamed earlier in the day. We were also given some tips regarding how to find the business, which proved to be quite helpful.
With Groupon in hand, my wife and I set out to pick up our order of "Live Blue Crabs", and quickly realized that "go through the gate before the CVS" was sage advice. We would have likely never found the Chesapeake Crab Co. otherwise. Once through said gate, there were plenty of signs, adorned with arrows and crabs, that pointed us to our destination.
When we walked in, we realized that Chesapeake Crab is a true "family" operation. The proprietor greeted us and asked his son to fetch our bag. The Groupon price was for $25 worth of live crabs, so we had to pay the extra $5 charge for steaming, but figured the time, energy, and tragedy of steaming live crabs at home was worth it.
As our receipt was wrung up, the owner gave us some tips on eating the crabs ("Just use a nutcracker"), where the crabs came from ("brackish/fresh water"), and assured us that they were "pack full" of meat.
(Note: If you have access to live crabs, here are detailed instructions on how to cook them up.)
When we got home, I put a colander into a pot partially filled with water and picked out the eight crabs that would be our dinner.
While the crabs steamed, I took the time to infuse a little garlic into pastured ghee (clarified butter). The process was simple: peel garlic, put garlic and ghee into a Pyrex measuring cup, heat until ghee is melted, allow garlic to steep in melted ghee until ready to serve.
After about 15 minutes, the crabs were hot and the garlic ghee was ready. We put the crabs on a nice platter and gathered our supplies.
Since crabs are synonymous with flying bits of shell, meat, and molten butter, we decided that an outdoor setup would be wise.
While I was finishing up in the kitchen, my wife brought out a roll of paper towels, a bag for the shells, repurposed nut crackers, and all the other accoutrements.
Before long, we were covered head to toe in crab. Meat was plucked, tomalley was slurped, and satisfaction was complete.
The party didn't stop there, however, we had way more leftover crabs than we could eat in a single night, so I went on to create the following recipes to take advantage of our blue crab bounty...
Ribeye a la Oscar
Crabby Patties (and the Crabmageddon Salad)
So what do you think about crustaceans such as crabs, lobster, shrimp, etc.? Love the critters, can's stand the sight of them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Meatiness - 5 out of 5, These critters were "pack full" of meat
Value - 5 out of 5, $30 worth of crab kept me and my wife fed for days
Flavor - 3 out of 5, A sweet, but slightly fishier flavor than salt-water crabs.
Setting - 2 out of 5, The Crab Guy operates out of a wherehouse, so it's all about efficiency.
Service - 5 out of 5, You're business is appreciated and you're treated as such.
Overall Score - 4
If you want to have your own "Crabby Saturday", and if you live in the Central Florida area, then visit our local "Crab Guy" at the Chesapeake Crab Co.