4100 Northpoint Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21222

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How to Clean a Bushel of Crabs

How to Clean a Bushel of Crabs

Before you can start cooking any crabs, you need to know how to clean them first.

Before you can start cooking any crabs, you know how to clean them first. This helps them taste much better, even if you are afraid it might be too time-consuming. Either way, going through this step is well worth it. Here’s what you should do when it’s time to clean a bucket of crabs. 

Prepare the Crabs 

No matter what breed of crab you have, you need to prepare them before you eat them. This largely depends on the way you stored them before you are ready to turn them into the centerpiece of a beautiful meal. The most important thing to remember is that you should always cook your crabs first. Two of the most popular methods involve boiling or steaming them. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the crabs, the size of the batch, and how much water you will need to heat up as well. Once they are cooked, you’ll need to extract them from the pot. 

Get Rid of the Apron

The next step is to get rid of the so-called apron. This is the term used for a triangular pattern on the shell. It’s hard to see unless you know what to look for; luckily, we’re here to tell you. On male crabs, the apron is small, narrow, and pointy – but on females, it’s larger, wider, and rounded. Either way, take hold of the point, then you can tug it off the crab. 

Take Off the Carapace

The apron will leave a small hole behind. Take advantage of this hole to remove the carapace or the armor that protects the crab’s innards. The carapace is also known as the top shell. Be careful here, because mustardy yellow crab butter could come gushing out and take you by surprise if you aren’t expecting it. This butter is fat that you can use for crab soup, or even turn it into a yummy dipping sauce. The shell also makes a unique way to serve crab salad.

Get Rid of Gills and Mandibles

Discard the gills and mandibles, since you don’t need them. They’re not edible anyway. 


The final step is to rinse the crabs. Cleaned crabs are more comfortable to pick through, and it’s also easier to pull the meat off and use it in something else. 


Costas Inn has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. You may recognize our restaurant, which was recently featured on the Food Network with Michael Symon on Burgers, Brew, and ‘Que! We were also voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today, as well as #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal. You may have also spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass.

You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for any time eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube!



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Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 699 reviews
4100 Northpoint Blvd. Baltimore , Maryland
410-477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes
Costas Inn
5 stars - based on 695 reviews
4100 North Point Boulevard Baltimore , Maryland 21222
(410) 477-1975 URL of Map Categories: Seafood & Crabs Price Range: $$ Takes Reservations: yes