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Dec 28, 2001 02:01 PM

Stone Crab claws

  • b

If there is anyone out there who is an expert on stone crab claw preparation, please help me.

I have, unfortunately, purchased frozen, cooked stone crab claws. The shells have been pre-cut for easy serving, but not cracked. What will be the best way to prepare them? Should I thaw them in the 'fridge before serving? If so, should I also run cold water over them to prevent meat sticking to shells? After thawing, are they basically ready to eat?

I will be grateful for any helpful response. You can use my email if you prefer -

B. Scott Duke
Memphis, TN

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  1. Hi there!

    Stone crabs must be sold pre-cooked, by law. Here's what to do: Thaw them by putting them in a bowl in the sink, and run cold water over them til they bend easily (meat sticking to the shells is from overcooking). Should take about 20 minutes max. Stone crabs are best eaten cold, IMHO. So, while they're thawing, make a dip out of two parts mayonaise, one part mustard. If you prefer to heat them, then after thawing drop them into boiling water for a minute or two. Remember, you're not cooking them, just warming them! Serve hot claws with melted butter.

    Stone crabs are so sweet and delicious, I've eaten my fill and then realized I never dipped them once - that's how rich they are on their own!

    Don't know what you mean by "pre-cut but not cracked".
    To crack them, hold them in the palm of your hand and smack all over with the back of a butter knife, kinda like you'd do with a hardboiled egg, only harder. Then, for the "knuckles" a pair of plyers or nutcrackers work best. Lotsa meat there, so don't forget 'em!

    Happy New Year!

    1 Reply
    1. re: joan

      joan sounds like a pro--totally agree with her in terms of prep, although i like to thaw them under water and throw them back in the fridge for a couple of hours so they're good and cold (it also gives them a little more time to separate from the shell).

      also, some stone crab novices seem to prefer the drawn butter even when the claws are cold. something to consider.

      and get a dijon mustard with seeds, or add mustard seed. somehow it makes the crabs better.

      enjoy them--you won't be disappointed.

    2. I just have to jump in here as I just enjoyed a New Year's Day stone crab fiesta and could do it all over again. The best "sauce" is from Joe's Stone Crab and is mayo, dry mustard, worchestershire sauce, and pepper. There are recipes floating around and I like it best for the little bite is a good contrast to the sweet flesh. Do not understand the hot butter, cold crab combo, but my husband and dad both eat them that way.

      We also had Caesar salad, good bread and the best corn on the cob since last August in upstate NY (from Norman's).