Maryland Steamed Crabs are truly the Last Best Seafood! When living in Montana, the thing I missed most about Maryland was Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs. Oh sure Montana has Rocky Mountain Oysters, but they come from under a bull and not under the sea. Any fresh seafood or produce is rare, seasonal, and questionable in Big Sky Country.
Recently, my daughter and her high plains wheat farmer husband visited us “east coasters”. The first requests were steamed crabs, fresh white corn, and fresh tomatoes. For dessert, Berger cookies and fresh melons. Needless to say, we did our best to meet their needs.
Fish, game, and crabs that you catch and cook are always the best. Elk or deer loins on the fire, fish fry along a river or lake, or produce from the garden, are always the most special.
We went crabbing to have fun and fill a bushel for dinner. Our crab outfitter took us to his secret spot and we laid out our trot line. A dozen or so collapsible traps baited with chicken necks added to the fun. At daylight, we had a high tide and low light. The crabs began to fill our basket.
Each crabber had their special name. My daughter was “Captain Chicken Neck”, her wheat farmer husband was “Captain Crunch” and our guide was “Captain Chesapeake”. I, of course, was “Captain Montana!”
Heavy male crabs called “Jimmies” were 6-9 inches from point to point. They were strong, fat, and frisky. The snapping and sharp shelled critters were totally different than Montana critter’s claws and teeth. After a morning of fishing, we were ready to return home for a crab feast.
Steamed crabs are simply wonderful. They are stacked into a huge pot with beer and vinegar in the bottom. A generous dose of Old Bay seasoning and crab spice adds to the flavor. 20 minutes later the crabs come off hot and spicy.
Picking these critters can be intimidating. There is meat in the legs, claws, and body. A lesson in Crab Picking 101 is always a good idea. The meat is simply sweet and wonderful. Washed down with a cold beer or drink makes the meal extra special. Adding unshucked corn to the steaming pot adds to the meal.
My Montana farmer dug right in. It did not take long to have him hooked on this seafood treat. Montanans appreciate good food and are adventurous eaters. “Pass me a cob of corn and some tomato slices please! oh and some more cold Natty Bo beer would be nice.”
“Big Bay Country” shared its bounty with my Montana family as we all share the wheat and bounty of Montana around the world.
We ended our day with a crab feast that included friends and neighbors. The HUGE crabs were enjoyed by all, along with the other special trays of watermelon, tomatoes, corn, salads and snacks. When fresh crabs are on the menu, folks come over with a smile and appetite.
There are certainly differences between Maryland and Montana. You see more ospreys than eagles, water is abundant and everything is greener in the east. The beauty and bounty are abundant in both places.
I am sure that my family was thinking about the bay and crabs as they flew back to Montana. The smell of Old Bay was probably still on their hands and their bellies full of Maryland’s best.
Heaven can be found in Big Sky Country and Big Bay Country! Cheers!
For more Montana Grant you can visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com