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Soft-Shell Crab Question

I was thinking that I wanted to grill soft-shell crabs for the 4th of July. The thing is, I've always heard that you should cook soft-shells the same day you buy them, and I'm obviously not going to be able to find a fishmonger who's open on July 4th, so I'd have to buy them the day before.

But if I bought them on, say, the evening of July 3rd and then cooked them the following afternoon, the lag time would be less than 24 hours. Any thoughts on whether this would be OK?

And yes, I realize I could avoid the problem by buying them live and "cleaning" them myself (i.e., cutting off the faces and removing the lungs) just before cooking, but I'm not quite comfortable with that.

-- Paul

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  1. You might be SOL, then... I was reading your post and saying "why doesn't he just buy them live on the 3rd?" and then got to the last sentence. not sure what to tell you, bro. also, have you grilled softies before? they can be a bit of a pain to grill, and they're not *quite* as tasty that way... note i said quite.

    To answer your original question--I myself wouldn't be too keen on cooking dead softies the next day. Shellfish decompose faster than any other organism you're gonna find... and while it might not hurt anybody, they may taste pretty fishy.

    1. You might be able to find them frozen. I've never had them, but I've heard they aren't too bad.

      1. yeah I wouldn't grill them either. I would dip them in cornmeal or some flour and just pan fry them and perhaps just serve them in a sandwich. That sounds like it would be great 4th of july picnic food

        I'm thinking though, wouldn't it be okay to keep the crabs on ice in the fridge and cook them the day of?

        1 Reply
        1. re: bitsubeats

          Have you considered frying them on the third and then re-heating them on a sheet in the oven when you're ready to serve them? Not a perfect solution, but probably better than cooking and serving potentially toxic food.

          I wouldn't worry about cooking them the day after if they were properly stored and I knew the fishmonger was reliable.

        2. We did grilled soft shell this last weekend and they were great. We purchased them cleaned the night before and they were fine. We do get them from a very reliable fishmonger though.

          About 5 minutes before we tossed them on the grill we let them sit in a bath of butter, hot sauce and lemon. They came out crispy and very flavorful.

          1. I like grilled softies. Brush with garlic butter or olive oil and crisp up but don't over cook. I always either kill, clean and cook immediately or freeze; so i can't comment on having them sit dead and refrigerated for a day. My guess is that's okay if they are kept just above a freezing temperature.