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Apr 7, 2011 12:39 PM

lookin' for fried crab claws in DC/VA/MD

I'm an Alabama native looking for fried crab claws in the DC/NoVA/MD area. Anyone see any on a menu lately? It's just the claw itself...not the whole crab. Thanks!!

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  1. What type of crab are your looking for?

    1. I have never seen fried blue crab claws anywhere in the Baltimore area, maybe Maryland's eastern shore?

      5 Replies
      1. re: hon

        I have never heard of it either.

        1. re: agarnett100

          That would be great if any one find them. They the fried blue crab claws were common in the Gulf region of texas also.

          1. re: majmaj4

            How are they done? Is there crabmeat or dough outside the claw? We have crab fluffs and deep fried hard crab, the whole thing, some just dough added, some with a bit of crabmeat in that coating.

            1. re: chowsearch

              The ones I am familiar with are sometimes called crab fingers. the crab claw is cracked - leaving the meat attached to the crab pincher. The part near the end shows the cracking of the claws.


              Although I don't know how to make the breading. It is usually a crunchy cormeal based.

              1. re: chowsearch

                In Cajun land the crab body (blue crab) is passed through corn meal and deep fried. Not the claws, however. I never see this in restaurants, not even down there. There used to be a place in Kaplan that did it this way and you had to call them in advance to heat up the oil. I had them mostly at beach camps, but Hurricane Rita pretty much put an end to that.

                Had fried hard shell crabs in Ellicot City. They were run through a batter instead of corn meal.

        2. Thanks all! Yes...they're made with a lump of crab meat attached to the pincer end of the claw. That's dipped in batter and deep fried. Here's what they look like.

          12 Replies
          1. re: lookin4crabclaws

            I recall having a marinated but not fried version of this years ago in Annapolis, but I've never seen fried crab claws anywhere in MD, DC, or VA, which is a shame because these look awesome.

            They do something similar to this in Louisiana, where they take fish tails with about an inch of meat left on them, dip them in batter, and fry them. Sort of a cocktail party hors d'oeuvre.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Thinking I might have missed some regional delicacy after living here almost three decades, I checked Annapolis Seafood Market, and the menus for Cantler's and The Crab Claw. Nada. The only kind of stuffed crab claws I've ever tried are in Chinese restaurants.

              The Crab Claw Restaurant
              PO Box 156, Saint Michaels, MD 21663

              1. re: crackers

                I am guess since the original poster is from Alabama I am guessing you have not missed a MD delicacy.

                1. re: agarnett100

                  And the regional delicacy that is here, the fried hard shell crab, I never quite understood.

                  1. re: Jason1

                    I saw that at one of the seafood places in Lexington Market next week. Didn't try it though. Whenever I go to Lexington it's Faidley's for me.

                    Lexington Market
                    400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                    1. re: 4X4

                      you SAW it NEXT week? how very Don Delillo in your pacing of the narrative. (and that's meant as a sincere compliment - really - but I am just being sorta silly) I never have understood deep frying crustaceans still in the shell. steaming, sauteing sure, but breading?

                      1. re: hill food

                        I didn't see it next week. I'm seeing it last week. :)

                        1. re: 4X4

                          I'm STILL seeing it next week but it's in a weird timeloop and I'm an 80 year-old fetus and the Lex market looks like Versailles' hall of mirrors.Faidley's is going strong and Cookie Muller is pushing my chair/crib as I point at stuff.

                    2. re: Jason1

                      I come from a family of Chesapeake Bay watermen that goes back many generations. My mother used to make fried hard crabs as a specialty. Basically they consisted of a big Jimmy crab, while alive take the top shell off and clean out the gills and guts and pack in some more, well spiced crab meat (kinda like a crab cake mix). Then you dip the whole thing in a cornmeal batter (white flour yellow corn meal, baking powder and soda water) -- then deep fry. Think of it as a corn dog (or Corn crab) -- as a kid i thought they were fun to eat and pick out all the meat. My mom's were very spicy with lots of cayenne and I loved it ! The "Come here's" (that's city folk) probably will never understand. Come to think of it I have't had a fried hard crab in decades. It will be on my list to make this summer.

                      1. re: JRCann

                        Wow, what a great family recipe!!!! Another salute to Regionalism in Food!!!!!!!

                        1. re: JRCann

                          I've had it at Tall Oaks near Pasadena. A kind of do-it-once experience. Will not replace steamed crabs in my heart.

                          Tall Oak's Restaurant
                          1541 Colony Rd, Pasadena, MD 21122

                          1. re: Steve

                            Tall Oaks goes in and out of business as a restaurant periodically, often just catering and hosting special events, anyone been recently?

              2. fried crab claws are not served in Maryland. First off, the claw is the least premium part of the crab. The backfin lump meat is much better. What we do in Maryland is eat steamed hardshell crabs (crabfeast), make crab cakes which are fried or broiled, crab imperial, sauted or fried soft shell crabs, both white and red based crab soups but we do not waste our time on fried crab claws.

                23 Replies
                  1. re: dining with doc

                    I love the claws and the claw meat, if I get a crab missing a claw it pisses me off.

                    1. re: hon

                      I discovered "Fried Crab Claws", years ago, after moving to the Panhandle of Florida, Seaside. This delectable little regional secret was a unexpected treat. Almost always served as an appetizer, lightly seasoned with a Cajun seasoning mix they are excellent!! Just as the Eastern Shore of Md. has its Crab Cakes, the Gulf Coast has its Crab Claws. Once, I asked a respected home cook about Crab Cakes, this was in a really small town, and she gave me a look of disbelief, saying "Why would anyone want to do that to good Jumbo Lump Blue Crab, that belongs in Blue Crab Cardinale!!" Long live

                      The Crab Claw Restaurant
                      PO Box 156, Saint Michaels, MD 21663

                    2. re: dining with doc

                      diningw/docs Actually most of the "Hardshell Blue Crabs" that are sold in the D.C. area are shipped now from the Gulf States. This is the result of the Chesapeake Bay pollution disaster declaration in the end 2008 by the governors of Md. and Va. This effort to save the fishery that has seen a decline of almost 50% since the early 1990s. The dead zones, caused by nitrogen and phosorous runnoff, are growing, thus killing grasses that protect the breeding female crabs and their spawn. This coupled with overfishing has the commercial crabbing industry in collapse.
                      I am an active member of, The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and urge all to become aware of the plight of the Bay and get involved in saving the Bay!!!!

                      1. re: ospreycove

                        But I was hearing this as far back as 1999, when I moved here. My angle is actually worse, and I support you in your efforts, but I thought we were sunk a decade ago.

                        1. re: Dennis S

                          Last year the bay had a great year for crabs and they are predicting that again for this year. I have a crabber I buy crabs from and he said it was crazy how much they were all catching.

                        2. re: ospreycove

                          i am very aware that most crabs sold here are not from the chesapeake. never the less when in Rome do as the Romans. No fried crab claw here! and to ospreycove: great md crabcake is basically lump backfin crab meat, very little saltine to bind, mayo, a dash of worchester sauce and that is it so that the crab meat speaks for itself! tough to top a properly prepared MD crabcake made with premium fresh crab meat but a bad crabcake made with too much filler and god forbid onion, pepper or other things, or with bad crab meat, is a bad thing.

                          1. re: dining with doc

                            dining......Yes, there are mostly, I'd say 99% of commercial crabcakes are not worth eating. The best I have had were in a little shack of a place in Crisfield on the Eastern Shore; but get out of the Balt/d.c. Eastern Shore region, and they are downright scary!!!!!

                            1. re: dining with doc

                              you also need a bit of mustard and egg to actually hold it together.

                              1. re: dining with doc

                                And eaten on white bread or toast with a big slice of in season tomato and a little mayo - maybe tarter . . . .maybe tarter

                              2. re: ospreycove

                                That is obviously true when crabs are out of season or when you are eating someplace that doesn't give a crap about proper eating crabs, but in the summer with a little effort to find a joint that gets their crabs from a waterman . . . . It not that hard to find bay crabs. If it isn't in season you should be eating crabs anyway.

                                Frankly if the restaurant is the kind of place with mallets and crab knives you shouldn't even bother with the crab cakes, crab imperial, crab dip, soup or anything else that probably came out of a can. It is most likely pasteurized Asian crab.

                              3. re: dining with doc

                                I have to ask, How is the crabclaw the least premium part of the crab ? I've heard this before and dont understand. The claw meat is the sweetest meat on a crab. and many of us include this meat when we pick it ourselves into crabcakes. Just asking.

                                1. re: Scott0

                                  You must not be eating Chesapeake Bay Blues - backfin for the adults - claw meat for the kids and out of towners too afraid to do a little dirty work.

                                  1. re: drewpbalzac

                                    The claw is probably my favorite part of the crab, the meat is the sweetest and has the more crabby flavor of the rest of the crab. People poo poo it because it's not "snowy white lumps", hey, I'll take all of your claws!

                                    1. re: drewpbalzac

                                      I am most definately eating ONLY chesapeake blue's, I live on Kent Island, just off Crab Alley Creek. Yeah I know The big pieces of backfin lump look prettier and also are a bit more tender. But the best and strongest flavor of "pure" crab is in the claws. I've got a feeling that science could back this up but why spend money on a study of this when the whole crab, each part has it's own resonant qualities? But I am tired of people saying that the claw meat is substandard. Let me draw you a parallel. I've gone to G&M to with groups of people that raved about thier crabcakes. I ate the same crabcakes that they did. They had NO flavor but because of the visual "they" received opening a crabcake and only seeing large lumps of crab. "they" still raved about it. I've learned a few things from this. For the average person , If it looks great?, they will love it. If it isnt, they THEN will actually taste it. And if it looks like garbage.........even if the flavor is perfect, They will NOT like it. Hmm.....I could very freely expound on this subject but I'm noy trying to preach or bore anyone. But I will say there is way more to this subject than most people think. Like the timing of the caught crab because of the moon, tides and of course rainfall.

                                      1. re: Scott0

                                        Most of the crab cakes that are so highly touted by "foodies" and Chowhounds actually bear only a slight resemblance to the authentic Maryland crab cakes of my youth. I was raised in a Chesapeake Bay waterman's family so my tastes goes way back.

                                        First, those "jumbo lumps" of crab usually raved about on here, come from imported portunus pelagicus crab, or from imported Venezuelan crab -- not our local callinectes sapidus or blue crab. For the most part I find that those big Asian lumps are rather tasteless, but eye-catching in presentation, nevertheless. And of course much more affordable compared to Maryland processed crab meat.

                                        A proper Maryland crab cake is historically made with mixed Blue Crab meat -- ie, "regular" or body meat, "claw" meat, and if its upscale, a little backfin mixed in. The regular and claw meat add a distinctive sweet crab flavor. In fact that somewhat brown, stringy claw meat can be the star of the show!

                                        Secondly, "filler" should always be included and only crushed Saltine crackers! Yes, there should be some filler in there! Also Maryland requires that crab meat to be sold commercially must be steamed only with water, no spices. In my childhood all of our crab meat for our cakes was handpicked from left over steamed crabs from a crab feast -- lots of spice and, invariably, some of the "mustard" and guts that becomes part of the mixture and inhancing it 's intense flavors! So, a bit of spice needs to be added to kick up any store bought crab meat. But nothing beats crab cooked in the steaming pot with spice.

                                        Thirdly, broiling a crab cake is a bit of a mistake. I know, there is that "fear" of all that fat is the motivator. Believe me, try them fried The flavor of the crab comes out best when lightly pan fried (in butta) or even deep fried. Those monster "jumbo lump" cakes tend to fall apart in the deep fryer too. So restaurants tend to avoid that and prefer to offer broiled.

                                        Fourthly, those great big "no filler - soft ball sized" cakes with all jumbo lumps are difficult to cook. The mixture needs to be rather "wet "for it all to stick together and often because of their size, the interior is left gooey and mushy while the exterior is well done. I have had a couple where it seemed like they had a cream of crab soup center! I'd much prefer two smaller crab cakes to one huge one!. When I make my own -- 4-5 oz is the max! Just right to serve on saltine crackers. BTW, no "tarter sauce or cocktail sauce" -- naked -- is just right if its a good proper crabcake.

                                        1. re: JRCann

                                          ok I'm stalking you and inviting myself over someday this summer. stand warned. (you're right some filler is needed and yep too big is too much - I'd say "just have 2+ rather than one big one")

                                          1. re: JRCann

                                            Number 3 and 4 are my primary complaints about restaurant crab cakes. It will be interesting to see if a restaurateur manages to address these problems. Meanwhile many people are perfectly happy to have any type of crabcake as long as it is big with big lumps of crab.

                                          2. re: Scott0

                                            JRCann has it exactly right.

                                            Jumbo lump crab meat is not supposed to go into crab cakes.

                                            Maryland style crab cakes are really supposed to be leftovers, waterman/working people food.

                                            Filler helps stretch out the meat (like a meatloaf) and make it affordable for everyday folk.

                                            And they definitely need to be fried, preferably in "deep fat". Sereve on white toast or a soft white roll with a slice of Summer Tomato

                                        2. re: Scott0

                                          the texture is not as good as the backfin and the taste also is not as good. doesnt make as tender of a crabcake as the backfin meat. more chewy and tough

                                          1. re: dining with doc

                                            it's not chewy and tough if the crabs have been steamed properly.

                                      2. I've seen similar things at some local Chinese buffets, but they have all had a sort of "fake" aspect to them that makes me think they're a ball of surimi molded at the end of a claw and breaded/fried.