Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Nov 6, 2003 06:29 PM


  • m

Thanks to all who responded to my Key West query...sounds like we will dine quite well. Please tell me about Stone Crabs. I am unfamiliar with them. Have grown up on LA and MS blue crabs and love them. Are the Stone Crabs steamed or boiled? If boiled are they steeped in seasoned water or is the seasoning sprinkled on at the end a la Maryland?
Since it was mentioned several times that they are expensive, what does that translate into dollar wise?

Thanks for all of the info!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. With stone crabs, you will only get the claws. Law states that the fisherman can only take one claw off a stone crab with the crab being thrown back. If the claw is taken properly, the crab will regrow the claw. Plus the claw must be of a certain minimum size to be taken.

    If I remember correctly, there is a major fine and possible loss of your boat if they catch you with a whole stone crab.

    Stone crab claws are cooked, either boiled or steamed at the docks, if I remember correctly. Again this is required by law because the meat will degenerate if left fresh.

    When you order them in a restaurant, they will usually give you the option of having them hot or cold.

    The ad I saw in the paper yesterday here in St. Petersburg had a pound of medium for $11.99 per, large for $14.99 per and jumbo for $16.99 per pound. This was from a seafood store and not a restaurant. So you can get an idea that a pound of large in a dinner for probably around $25 to $30. Maybe more. I am waiting until the prices come down some. Unless you eat at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami where the prices would be higher.

    Hope this helps.


    1. Although this is somewhat tongue in cheek ( ?claw ), it is true. Forget stone crabs. I grew up in Baltimore and have lived in Miami for thirty years ( this to establish credibility ). Nothing beats blue crabs with Old Bay Seasoning, dry mustard and celery seeds. Down here they prepare an abomination with blue crabs...garlic crabs, ugh. Anyway, stone crabs are accurately described by the previous answer. But they are served cold and have a blandness of cold pasta or surimi. The only saving grace ( and taste) is the sauce they are served with...a mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and sometimes horseradish mixture. Seriously, you should try them, but if you are on a budget, get an appetizer just for the experience. My comments may get a virulent response ( or not) but you and I now know the awful truth.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Karl

        I find that the bland tasting claws have been frozen and then thawed and as a result they lose that nice fresh almost sweet flavor. I love them but I make sure I know who I am buying them from and I never buy them out of season as those have obviously been frozen.

        1. re: Joe

          Hmmmm...a little suspicious when someone named "Joe" defends stone crabs. Seriously, you are correct about fresh vs. frozen.

          1. re: Karl

            Karl, Karl, Karl....why is that Marylanders (or former Marylanders) feel the need to crush the love of any shellfish not their own? Why do they have to have Old Bay on EVERYTHING (do you put it on your cereal too?) to make it taste "right"?
            Stone crabs are fabulous - you must not have ever had a truly fresh claw. Sometimes I get to my third claw and realize I FORGOT to dip 'em in the mustard sauce - that's how sweet and rich they are - all on their own. And I might add, much less work than their puny blue cousins!!! :)

            Monica, don't listen to him! Order them and see for yourself! (Although I will agree with previous posters - either get them at an inexpensive "no frills" place or buy 'em at the fish market and bring them home - they're best eaten cold not hot.)

            1. re: joan

              Amen. Florida Stone Crab claws are not to be missed.

              1. re: Coyote

                Stone crabs, particularly at Joes in South Beach are a tastful, great experience. The place is always hopping. Just bring lots of money. It might be less expensive to just eat fifty dollar bills.

                1. re: Howard

                  Order them from Keys fisheries. They are located in Marathon. They have a small restaurant next to their seafood store operation on the gulf side. Make a right by the stuffed pig and you cant miss it. They supply Joes with their stonecrabs and are much more reasonable in price. I have ordered from them numerous times and never been disappointed.


                  1. re: MarathonMan

                    The prices for the crabs are reasonable at Keys Fisheries but the $45 shipping charge took me over the edge. I'll definitely check them out if I'm down that way.

                    1. re: am-pm

                      Thats the problem with ordering stone crabs, they need to be shipped fresh priority fedex overnight. So shipping is the real price problem, limits us to once or twice a season for splurging.

                  2. re: Howard

                    Twenty dollar bills are just as tasty as fifties, and much cheaper too!

                  3. re: Coyote
                    Tandoori Girl

                    I just ordered some this past Saturday night from Mid-Peninsular Sea Food in St. Petersburg. I ordered a lb. of large claws for $18.99 (that included fries, puppies, and slaw). This is the beginning of the season and as they are more expensive now than later into the season when they're more plentiful, my meager serving consisted of only five claws. They were quite good and measured about the size of my palm, with both the claw and the accompanying arm. I had them warm with butter. One appeared to be a "floater", what the stoned crab fishermen call a claw that has shrunk inside its shell, making it mostly a hollow shell with little claw meat -- thus it floats atop water. But the rest were succulent and juicy.

                    As for the suggestion that crab should only be served with Old Bay seasoning, we in Florida like the taste of pure fresh Florida crab. What could be better?

                  4. re: joan
                    Marylander in Chicago

                    OK, I've got to chime in here.

                    I've been fortunate enough to travel extensively and have been given the opportunity to sample foods from many places; including FL stone crab claws. Maryanders, like myself, are generally proud of their seafood fare; especially crabs. If that's all you've eaten then I'd be suspect to your naturally biased opinion, too. That goes for Floridians and their affinity for stone crab well as people from anywhere, and their favoritism for their native specialty. However, sampling food from houndreds of locales has provided me with a more discerning taste and, as a result, opinion.

                    The previous 'responder' insinuated that Old Bay gets sprinkled on everything (including cereal). Old Bay is a great seasoning but is used sparingly when adding flavor to MD seafood. So, if MD crabcakes have Old Bay added directly to the recipe it is used delicately, since it can easily drown out the inherent flavor of the main ingredient. Conversely, if it is applied to steamed blue crabs, with an emphasis on steamed, it is applied to the external skeleton (aka the blue/green shell). Thus, copious amounts are necessary to be added externally in order to add the complimentay taste of spicyness to the already sweet and delicous meat inside. IMO (call me bias), MD crabs are second to none. If you disagree, try them without any seasoning. Compare them claw for claw against all of the other favorites. We're not talking volume and convenience's taste; that's the motivation of most Chowhounder's.

                    Stone crab claws are great; but, to me, not as good. Living in the Midwest now, I'm shocked by the presentation of seafood in the 'cold' format...and this goes for most other regions of America. Yes, I realize that much of the South likes 'warm/hot' versions of seafood, but it's virtually mandatory that the product is fried (and usually deep fried).

                    Some would say it's the convenience of available fresh seafood that generates disparity, but in this day and age, with quick transport capabilities, I believe it boils down to customs. Bottom line is everything is relative. Just like many people want to disregard MD crab taste in favor of the regional favorite (eg FL stone crabs), there are those that think that salisbury steak is equally as tasty (if not better) than a filet mignon from Smith and Wollensky's...they're both beef!

            2. They are not steeped in seasoned water nor is any seasoning sprinkled on after cooking. You cook and eat them the same was you would a Dungeness crab (except all you have is claws). The previous poster is right about the mustard sauce, it is addictive (and also goes well with Dungeness). The recipe is in the Joes Stone Crab cookbook. I suggest that any further discussion of stone crabs generically be moved to the General Topics board, unless the discussion relates to stone crabs in Florida.