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Crabs in Baltimore - now?

Hi All,
Out of town guests wanting to go for crabs this weekend but I'm not sure if this is necessarily the best time. We were thinking of Bills Terrace Inn, but really, venue isn't so important more like quality of the crabs at this time of the year. Thoughts? Should we just hold out until May???

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  1. Bills gets their crabs from Texas year round, they have a consistent supplier so you know they will be decent. I would totally go there!
    Mmmm, crabs...

    11 Replies
    1. re: hon

      That's what I figured. I guess we missed the MD Crab season for the year. I know, having a hankering for crabs n beer. Heck, if we've got to be inside in this weather...it's hard for me to sit inside during the warmer months so perhaps it fits :)

      1. re: hon

        Incidentally, I'm a recent import and still trying to educate myself on this subject. Bill's has become our go-to place, but how do you feel the Texas crabs compare to the locals when they're in season?

        I understand they're the same species, and all of Bill's are live when they go in the pot, so I don't imagine freshness is a problem, but I realize there may be other factors in play (their diet, perhaps?). Is there an appreciable difference?

        1. re: Dmnkly

          I personally think the Gulf crabs (Texas and Louisiana) are perfectly fine, they just cook them funny down south. :-) This is a controversial point of view, though.

          The crabs from the Gulf are more expensive, though, and certainly don't meet the "locavore" test if you're into that. On the other hand, one could make the case that, with the difficulties the Chesapeake Bay crab population is having, that it's more environmentally correct to get your crabs from the south until the Bay recovers some. (only half-kidding)

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            DMnkly, I feel you. Everyone is balking at my suggestion of crabs this weekend bc they're out of season, but i figured Bill's wouldn't be selling them if they were bad? - i get that they're not local and concur w/ Hal, that in some ways, keeping the hand out of the bay cookie jar is the best way to help sustain future feeds :)

            But seriously, is there a noticeable difference with the crabs this time of year?

            1. re: aussiewonder

              I have had winters crabs at Bills and they were fine.
              As for local vs. Texas, I think local crabs are alot sweeter tasting!

              1. re: aussiewonder

                For the record, and IIRC, Bill's doesn't serve MD crabs, even when they are in season. In fact, I don't think that most/many crab houses in the Baltimore area do. (I'm pretty sure that many crab places like the consistency in the availability and pricing of Gulf crabs versus Bay ones.) I agree with Hal and aw that it's sort of nice to give the Bay crabs a little breather from overfishing/crabbing? even when they are in season.

                Personally, I can taste the difference between MD crabs and Gulf ones, and, definitely think ours are far superior (of course!). But, if the Gulf crabs are good, it can be a nuanced difference.

                oops & edited: I see that I'm just sort of seconding what hon said at the top of the thread re: Bill's.

                If you want crabs now, Gulf crabs are a perfectly acceptable option!

                1. re: baltoellen

                  "For the record, and IIRC, Bill's doesn't serve MD crabs, even when they are in season."

                  I asked him about it, and that's definitely the impression I got. If he serves MD crabs, I think it's a rare exception. I'm paraphrasing, but he felt that the MD crabs aren't what they once were, and he's actually come to prefer the ones he gets from Texas.

                  1. re: Dmnkly

                    I once asked a crabber based in Eastern Balto Co where I could get MD crabs. He was hard pressed to think of places. (BTW, he sold crabs in conjunction with a little bar/restaurant that shall remain nameless.) Trying to get the real low down, I also asked where HE went to eat crabs. Of course, he laughed, since he never goes out to eat them since he can steam his catch at home!

                2. re: aussiewonder

                  > is there a noticeable difference with the crabs this time of year?

                  There's a very noticeable difference in price. :-)

                  1. re: Hal Laurent

                    Guess I'll call later today and that will no doubt be the deciding factor.

                    1. re: aussiewonder

                      Heading for Bills Thursday with a couple of old friends..how was your experience?

          2. I've heard great things about Bill's Terrace Inn and they do get there crabs from Texas year round, so the taste isn't different, it's just the price, like you said. If you're stuck on going out I'd go there, but if you are up for carry-out and eating them at home, I'd go to Conrad's Crabs in Towson. The quality of a crab has a lot to do with the preparation rather than where they are from. I know at Conrad's they sort out light crabs and they steam to order. Many places pre-steam and it loses some of the quality. Plus they have a fantastic seasoning. I had some about two weeks ago and they were really great. Other than it being cold outside, you'd think you were eating summertime crabs. I do know when they are in season, they have local Maryland crabs through November. Anyway, just a thought on another option for you. Hope it works out!

            1 Reply
            1. re: amarie30

              I do love Conrads Crabs although I will say I had a very light batch from them one time, I guess every crab can't be fat and heavy but still!