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Crab Cake Help

I have been on a crab cake kick. I decided to try them at home after seeing Chuck (from Chucks Day Off on the Cooking Channel) make them. I sent DH to the grocery store with an ingredient list. He assured me he had called and talked to the guy at the seafood counter at our local market. He was going to get exactly what the store uses for their crab cakes. I was pretty disappointed when I saw a can of Heron Point Seafood. Boo...canned crab. It's the claw meat. Has anyone used it? Should I just save it for something else (I don't know what?) and insist DH gets fresh crab meat??

Help save my Friday night dinner please. Thanks!

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  1. For the cakes, yes; you certainly want fresh crabmeat. Use the canned for a fast crab salad to stuff into tomatoes or cucumber boats, or make crab melts on sourdough.

    1. If this is the crab meat that is chilled and comes in a large can, go for it. That's what I use for my crab cakes and lots of people seem to like them. There is another canned crab, in small cans next to the canned tuna that I wouldn't use for crab cakes. But the stuff I buy at Trader Joes in the can is sweet and tasty--and it sure beats pulling the meat out of crabs.

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        The canned meat in Trader Joes comes from Indonesia. The Asian swimming crab is very similar to our blue crabs. The cheaper stuff in the larger can is claw meat. I find it very high quality, great for crab cakes. Their lump crab is more expensive, in a smaller can, and the one time I tried it it was not very good. Texture was OK, but really fishy taste. I'm looking forward to the crabs coming in at my LI summer place. Lots of crabs now, but still small...no more than 2 keepers every time I crab. Not enough for crab cakes. During the winter I like to get Dungeness crabs- steam them, eat the legs and use the rest for crab cakes.

        1. re: EricMM

          Just an fyi regarding the Indonesiaj jumbo lump crab meat... there's a good chance those jumbo lumps were created from a paste of raw and cooked crab, compressed in a mold and cooked. As there are no fillers, the formed pieces are technically "lump" crab meat. Here is the link to Phillips' Seafood patent application for just such a process. As stated in the application, it seems it's too expensive to hire experienced crabpickers and there's a greater profit to be made from jumbo lumps. So, instead of two jumbo lumps from each crab, the entire crab can, now, be turned into jumbo lumps. And, as an aside, it seems that the large crabs in Indonesia are becoming scarce.


      2. Don't do it! The canned crab can some times be so watery and mushy, your cakes won't get a good crisp. I also find it to be more 'fishy' than sweet. Save the can for something else. I use it for a hot crab/artichoke dip.

        I heart crab cakes :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: TSAW

          The canned crab I mentioned is neither watery nor mushy, it is fresh, sweet crab meat that I am happy to eat right out of the can--totally different from the canned stuff next to the tuna.

        2. Your fresh crabmeat will be in a can---that's how they sell it. However, be prepared for anything. I lived in Maryland for 25 years so when (in Chicago) I saw that the brand name on the can was Tilghman's Island, I figured this for Maryland crabmeat because Tilghman's Island is in Chesapeake Bay right in the heart of crab country. Surprise: the can was marked Product of Indonesia.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            Well, after everyone's thoughtful input (and the fact that the product is from Asia) I am sending DH to Wholefoods to get the good stuff!!! The can will be used for some kind of dip. This will be my first attempt at Crab Cakes so wish me luck. :)

            1. re: tdmort

              Wanted to report back that we went with the fresh crab from Whole Foods. It was my first attempt. I used a recipe found on the cooking channel's web page. I wasn't crazy about the spicy mayo...and I would have preferred a little more flavor in the crab cakes, but all in all it was pretty decent!


              1. re: tdmort

                IMO what that recipe lacks is Old Bay- the definitive seafood seasoning, for good reason.

                With crabcakes I like a homemade (stick blender) mayo with just a little wasabi, not spicy 'cause the crab is mild.

                If I want a little more flavor I'll make a simple dill remoulade: equal parts commercial mayo and sour cream, a spoonful of prepared horseradish, onion powder for that great toasted-onion taste, and the dill. Sometimes some celery seed, a dash of hot sauce for spicy or a little ketchup for sweet, but most often just the basic version. It's super easy & fast (2 minutes), also great with smoked salmon or most cooked fish.

                But there's a lot to be said for bomemade tartar sauce with capers and lemon juice (no relish, please).

          2. OK long time Marylander here that hates crab cakes and crab meat in general, I think the governor actually tried to get me banned from the state, by my lovely bride adores the crab cakes I make. It has to be the chesapeake blue crab. Sorry no substitutes but we have very little to brag about here. If you start with that you will end up with a great end product. Do not put remulaud, or spicy wasabi mayo or any of that, home made tarter sauce or cocktail sauce. I know, a lot of advice from a guy that doesn't eat crab. I have fished the bay for years, and I know what they eat. 'Nuff said.

            1. During Dungeness Crab season I use a fresh crab. And then Paula Deen's recipe. I have never used canned crab for the reasons that have already been mentioned. If I cannot get fresh crab then I don't make crab cakes.

              1. For those of us who can't afford, or can't get hold of fresh crab meat, I consider some of the refrigerated crab in a can to be decent. Like they said, I'm not going to let perfect be the enemy of good.

                1. We use jumbo lump crab meat in a bag, but certainly isn't made with whole crab.

                  BTW, Emeril has an incredible recipe in his Delmonico's cookbook.

                  1. I would disagree that blue swimming crab and bay crabs taset very similar. To me, the bay crab is way sweeter and tastier. I made crab cakes tonight using jumbo lump Maryland crab meat(my grocer will special order it for me). My recipe, although approximate as I don't really measure: 1lb. lump crab, 2 eggs, couple dashes worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, 1tbsp brown mustard, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2tsp melted butter, couple shakes dry mustard, 1/4-1/2 cup panko crumbs and 1tsp Old Bay seasoning. Mix everything but the crab together. Fold in crab gently so you don't break up the lumps. Form into cakes and put on a wax paper lines plate. cover w/ plastic wrap and place in freezer to firm up for at least one hour. This is essential to prevent the cakes from coming apart while cooking. I broil mine in a large pan w/ sides as they sometimes splatter. When they are golden brown, turn them carefully and brown the other side. This should take about 15min total. I also like to make the on the small side, again, to prevent falling apart. I made 8, ate 2 and hubby ate 6 and declared them to be the some of the best he has ever eaten.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sherriberry

                      Not sure i understand you. The main American crab on the east coast is the blue crab, (aka blue-claw crab, Callinectes sapidus) a swimming crab, that lives in bays. It is the Chesapeake bay crab...although my crabs are caught out of Peconic Bay. The only other east coast crab that is commonly used is the rock/Jonah crabs (indistinguishable for culinary purposes) sold as "peekytoe". Nice claws, but otherwise not so great, and they don't come near the blue crab in flavor.

                      1. re: EricMM

                        I was referring to the asian swimming crab vs. US Chesapeake bay crabs. To me, the US version. freshly picked and with no preservatives added just tastes better. Worth paying 2x the price of canned asian stuff.

                        1. re: sherriberry

                          You'll get no argument from me on that point!

                          1. re: EricMM

                            Making crab cakes tomorrow! Just got back from Long Island, where I caught 13 blue claws. I already steamed them in beer, coriander, black pepper, mustard seed, cardamom, bay, parsley, and a home grown Trinidad Scorpion pepper...lots of shucking tomorrow though.