What should you know About Buying and Serving Stone Crab Claws?

Crab legs and claws are often a favorite part of a seafood meal in our little corner of the world! My youngest daughter loves crab meat and has been well trained in using a mallet and crab cracker over the years! We recently discovered stone crab and have been learning about this Florida coast delicacy. What should you know about buying stone crab claws?

What is Stone Crab? While most of us have heard of Alaskan King Crabs or Maryland Blue Crabs, or Dungeness Crabs--the Stone Crab may not be readily available in your local seafood shop or restaurant. Stone crab, or Florida Stone Crab as it is often called, is a crab found along the Southern Atlantic coast of the U.S. Florida typically harvests the most stone crab--but they are harvested even along the coast of Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina as well. We generally find Stone Crab Claws for sale rather than crab legs or whole Stone Crabs.

Why do I see Mostly Stone Crab Claws for Sale--and Not Whole Crabs? The U.S. has relatively strict laws regarding the harvesting of stone crabs and stone crab claws. The claw harvesting method used in the United States is an environmentally friendly one that aids in conserving the species. Typically only one claw is harvested from a stone crab at a time--and he is released back into the wild where he can still defend himself against predators and gather his own food with his remaining claw while his missing claw regenerates. Stone crabs can regrow a claw up to four times during their life span!

Are Stone Crab Claws Expensive? Because of the harvesting method and the care taken in conserving the species--stone crab claws do carry a bit of a hefty price tag. While the labor-intensive harvesting and strict season create a situation yielding some rather pricey crab claws--fans are adamant that the meat is well worth the price!

How Many Pounds of Stone Crab Claws Should you Order? You should plan about one and a half to two pounds of crab per person--maybe even a bit more, depending on the rest of your dinner menu. Stone Crabs are available in a variety of sizes--from medium and large to jumbo or colossal. Colossal crab claws may weigh in at an average of two claws per pound. Be sure to understand the size of the crabs or claws you are ordering if you are to order based on quantity rather than pounds.

When is Stone Crab in Season? You can buy in-season stone crab between October and May. In Ohio, if we see stone crab on the menu in July--we know it has been processed, frozen, and stored.

Where Should You Buy Stone Crab? If you are fortunate enough to live along the Southern Atlantic coast, you may have ready access to fresh stone crab on their menus quite often. The same is true for those near quality seafood restaurants able to source fresh, in-season stone crab. If you seek stone crab outside of a restaurant, have your stone crab delivered to your home. The claws will be ready to crack and serve as part of your favorite seafood feast.

How Should you Serve Stone Crab Claws? The stone crab claws that you order online will arrive cooked--so you simply need to crack and eat with a little melted butter or mustard sauce. Check with your supplier as they may sell a specialty mustard sauce to accompany their crabs--or you can make an easy homemade mustard sauce yourself. Even fresh stone crab will often be cooked to help it maintain its texture when chilling for sale. If you do prefer to warm the crab meat, try a simple method like steaming or grilling to lightly heat the meat without overcooking it.

Understanding some of Florida Stone Crabs' ins and outs is key to finding and enjoying this delicious crab meat! We prefer to serve stone crab at home as part of a seafood bake or boil--but, no matter your preference for in-home or in the restaurant--giving these a try should be on your seafood “bucket list”!


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