Spicy Crab Boil

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
10 min
55 min

3 to 4 servings

  • 18 live blue crabs
  • 2 tablespoons Crab-Boil Spices, recipe follows
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup table salt
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 onion ,halved
  • 3/4 pounds small potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter)
  • 1 head of garlic (not separated into cloves)
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon Crab-Boil Spices, or to taste, for sprinkling over
  • boiled seafood
  • Accompaniments: French bread
  • Crab-boil spices:
  • 1/4 cup pickling spices
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced dried chives
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • In a kettle bring 5 gallons water to a boil.

  • While water is coming to a boil, in a deep sink rinse crabs in 2 or 3 changes of water. (Do not fill sink too full or crabs may crawl out.) Add 2 tablespoons Crab-Boil Spices, cayenne, salt, lemons, and onions to boiling water and boil 5 minutes. Add potatoes and garlic and boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes and garlic with a large sieve to a large platter and keep warm, covered with foil. Add corn to boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer corn with tongs to platter and keep warm, covered with foil.

  • Return water to a boil. Transfer about 6 crabs carefully with long tongs to sieve, holding them down in sieve with tongs, and turn crabs out into boiling water. Add remaining crabs in same manner. Return water to a boil and cook crabs until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. (To determine doneness, remove a claw and crack it with the handle of a dinner knife. Use knife to extract meat from claw.) Transfer crabs with sieve to another large platter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Crab-Boil Spices.

  • Serve with French bread.

Crab-boil spices:
  • In a food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until mixture forms a coarse powder. Crab-boil spices keep in a well-sealed container for several months in a cool, dark place.

  • Yield: about 1 cup

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