Cleaning a Hard-Shell Crab to Get at the Meat

Ever feel tempted to order a crab dinner in a restaurant, or perhaps purchase a full crab to be enjoyed at home, but didn’t because you were unsure of how to open the crab up to get at that tasty meat? Sure, we all have experience with crab lags. Simply snap them in half and use a nut-cracker to crack the harder parts. But what about the remainder of the crab? It is not as difficult as it may seem. Here is a step-by-step process:

After the crab has been cooked, it should be placed belly-side up on your plate. You will see a triangular shaped flap, called the “apron”. This can be pulled off with a minimum of effort.

Then turn the crab over. You will now remove the upper portion of the shell by inserting your thumb underneath the rear portion and simply pulling up. It should come off easily.

Do not be alarmed at what you find beneath the shell; it may not always look appetizing. Not to worry, most of the meat is actually toward the underside of the crab. Removing the shell facilitates the process of getting at the good stuff.

Proceed to twist off all the legs. You can enjoy the meat in the legs first if you wish or wait until the rest of the meat has been pulled from the crab so that you may discard the shell parts. A nutcracker is most suited for cracking the legs but a small hammer will do if no nutcracker is available. Some of the meat can easily be pulled out of the larger legs. Use a small lobster fork to get at the rest.

Now, for the rest of the crab, simply scoop out the roe and discard, or eat it if you desire. Some find it delicious.

Pull off the gills at the front portion of the crabs body and discard. Use or knife or your hands, and crack the remainder of the body in half. The rest of the meat is revealed.

You can eat the meat plain or serve with drawn butter. Add a little minced garlic to the butter for a more intense flavor. Enjoy!

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