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Recipe courtesy of Melba Wilson

Beer-Poached Blue Crabs with Sweet 'n' Savory Coleslaw

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 10 min
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings
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Six 12-ounce bottles pale lager beer

4 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning 

4 bay leaves 

10 whole black peppercorns 

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

2 tablespoons kosher salt 

12 blue crabs (preferably male) 

Sweet 'n' Savory Coleslaw, optional, for serving, recipe follows

Sweet 'n' Savory Coleslaw:

3/4 cup mayonnaise, or to taste

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 cup sugar 

3 cups peeled and shredded carrots 

One 3-pound head of green cabbage, shredded 

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, green part only 

1/4 teaspoon celery seed 


  1. In a large pot on high heat, combine all the ingredients, except the crabs, and bring to a boil. Add the crabs, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes or until the crabs turn red. Remove cooked crabs to a rimmed sheet pan to cool slightly.
  2. Crack the crabs with lobster crackers to get out all the good stuff. Serve with Sweet 'n' Savory Coleslaw if desired.

Sweet 'n' Savory Coleslaw:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, relish, salt, and sugar. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix to combine well.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and mix again just before serving.

Cook’s Note

Mayo-less Coleslaw--Some people prefer their coleslaw with little or even no mayo. Maybe that's how your mama made yours. It's more a German-style dish, almost like a pickled relish, and that's good, too. I just happen to like mine with lots of mayo, the way my own mother made it.

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