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Steamed crabs in Maryland

Maryland's must-eat treat

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posted March 1, 2020

Experiencing a place includes exploring its local flavors and distinctive dishes. Courier asked destinations about their specialties. To see more check out "8 dishes worth the trip."

Steamed crabs are a staple in Maryland, and a summertime must-do is hand-picking a meal at a waterside crab house and then sampling the succulent, sweet, and tender meat.

Maryland is home to Chesapeake Bay, where generations of watermen have harvested Callinectes sapidus, the scientific name for Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, which means “beautiful swimmer.” Since the 1600s, Marylanders have used crabs as a food source, and through the years, the classic steamed crab has remained a favorite.

The topping of choice is Old Bay, a traditional seasoning. This mix of crushed pepper, paprika, and celery salt (with other spices) adds flavor and heat to fresh-steamed crabs.

Traditional crab feasts include newspapers spread out on a picnic table, wooden crab mallets, and bibs. The cracking of crabs is a social activity for Marylanders, who can sit for hours and enjoy the bay’s best, dipping the crab meat in melted butter or apple-cider vinegar.

Peak season is from April to the end of November, although crab can be enjoyed through December.

Where to try it: Pick one of the many authentic waterside crab houses along Maryland’s Crab & Oyster Trail, including Faidley’s Seafood in Baltimore City.

Who to contact: Rich GilbertMaryland Office of Tourism Development

Top photo by Maryland Tourism


Support for Courier articles provided by:
Amelia Island Tourism Development Council
Brandywine Valley
Campbell County Convention & Visitors Bureau
City of Gallup
Maryland Office of Tourism Development
Oneida County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tourist Office for Flanders-Belgium