Short video showing how to dispatch a large live crab instantly. This method prevents crabs from shedding claws, which spoils both the flavour and texture of the crab meat.
My Grandfather taught the family how to do this along with skinning and preparing rabbits, dressing ducks and chickens he worked in Birmingham Wholesale Market in fish, game and poultry and we had a varied and exciting diet.
Spud, our bull terrier is keeping an eye on the crab :)
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Obtain Your Crab by Either Capturing It or Purchasing It From Our Amazing Fishermen.
The edible crabs we buy or capture around our UK / European coast are a lovely deep red / brown in colour and are generally clean when found in rock pools or captured in crab baskets by fishermen. If you live near the coast you might want to make yourself a crab pot and bait with fish.
However, like myself you will probably be comfortable with purchasing one.
Remember Cock / male crabs have huge claws and contain mostly white meat. Hen / female crabs will have smaller claws and therefore contain more dark meat and possibly roe / eggs.
Step 2: Tape Up Main Claws With Cellotape, Insulation Tape or Cable Ties As Shown
A large crab has immense crushing strength between it's claws, so it is wise to render these claws safe by binding their pincers together using tape or cable ties. They really can cause you considerable pain and injury so please take care.
Step 3: Turn Your Crab Upside Down Once Pincers Are Secured
Once your crab is upside down, you will notice a tapered flap at the back end. Raise this flap to reveal a tiny hole / vent.
Place a thin screw driver on the hole and drive it into the vent / hole with the hand or use something heavy to hit the screw drive if your hands are not strong enough. Wiggle the screw driver around
This will immobilize the rear / main nervous system and effectively kill the crab.
Now move to the front of the crab, and between it's eyes, again place screw driver and drive into the soft part under the main shell. Again wiggle screw driver around.
Now both parts of the nervous system are effectively dead and so is your crab.
Step 4: Place Dead Crab Into Large Pot / Pan of Boiling Water and Replace Lid
Heat a large pot / pan of water to boiling, leaving enough room so as not to overflow when placing your crab into it.
Submerge your crab in the boiling water and allow to come back to the boil before allowing a further 20 minutes for a large crab such as the one shown.
Killing the crab prior to cooking is humane and instantaneous, but it also avoids the crab from shedding limbs through shock, which often happens when boiling alive. This shedding of limbs will allow water to flood into the crab and effectively boil out the flavour.The stress of placing the crab in the boiling water alive can make the flesh tough.
Whereas the dead crab is relaxed when it enters the boiling water and remains intact and apart from the small holes made is relatively sealed. You will get some spongy protein solids in the boiling process forming in the water, but this is tasteless.
Step 5: Removing Legs and Body From Shell
Once cooked and allowed to cool sufficiently to avoid getting scalded, the video shows how to remove the crown from the main shell. Which is accomplished by loosening with a screw driver by levering front and back end of crown.
Once out you will need to remove the gills, mandible / mouth parts, including small stomach behind mouth parts and the flap at the rear.
Step 6: Scoop Out the Flesh From the Main Shell With a Small Knife
The crab inside the main shell for me is very tasty, though darker and creamier than the white claw meat, mixed in with the claw meat it tastes divine.
Using your small knife, scoop out all of this flesh into a bowl
Step 7: The Tools You Will Need to Dress Your Crab.
Small knife, preferably with curved blade.
Nut crackers for small claws
Water pump pliers or hammer to crack open main large claws. On the two main claws, a swift blow to the hinge joints will make separating them easy
Proceed to crack open and remove flesh with small knife from the claws and crown meat, including the brown butter consistency meat, if, like me you enjoy eating it.
Take care not to crack claws over the meat you have already extracted.
Save all shells in a double plastic carrier bag (2 bags, one inside the other) Crush shells with a heavy hammer, I prefer a club hammer. Once crushed add to your compost heap or sprinkle onto your vegetable / flower garden to provide essential calcium to the soil.
Step 8: Most of All Enjoy Your Fresh Crab Meals
Cook seeded brown toast, with butter, add crab and black pepper for an amazing assault on your taste buds.
There are many recipes, including crab cakes, adding lemon, chilli and garlic, slugs of wine etc etc but you can't beat the taste of freshly cooked crab with cracked black pepper though this is my opinion :)