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Old 09-08-2019, 09:37 PM   #1
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Unhappy Steamed blue crabs not good in new pot, help!

Hi! I am a Baltimore native and have been steaming crabs for years and years, always in a 19 qt steam pot (like THIS ONE).

Unfortunately, the old pot is now dented and rusty, the family is getting bigger... I decided to move to a new pot. I picked up this beautiful 24-qt Stainless Stockpot (THIS ONE).

I used the same time, the same recipe, all the same as I used with the smaller pot. I am also cooking on an electric range, so... But, after 25 minutes, the crabs weren't cooked like they were in the smaller pot. The meat was mushy and the shells weren't right. I'm not an experienced enough cook to be able to figure this out. More time? Leave the lid cracked? Can you help me? Thanks!

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Old 09-09-2019, 08:58 AM   #2
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Don't mess with my Maryland blue crabs! Been in Kentucky for 25 years and I miss, miss, miss those tasty critters.


The first thing that comes to my mind is the crabs were literally "steamed" in the old pot because the water was in the vessel below and the crabs were cooked by the steam.


Having looked at your new pot, it appears the crabs, at least the ones at the bottom of the basket, are boiled rather than steamed, which would account for the meat being mushy.


I think I'd save the new pot for corn-on-the-cob and search for another one for cooking crabs.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:11 AM   #3
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+1 to what KatieH wrote. You boiled the bottom ones rather than steamed them.



Also, the range might not have enough oomph for that size of pot. Was the liquid boiling hard before you put the crabs in? You might have to get a single burner propane unit. That's what we use for steaming crabs, crawfish boil, etc. Something like this.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:43 AM   #4
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I agree with medtran regarding the ability of your stove burner to handle the new and larger quantity you wish to cook. A propane burner she suggests would definitely be worth investigating. We have one and also use it to fry large amounts of fish.


I did a search for "large graniteware crab steamer" and came up with this. Looks like this would be a good choice. The insert bottom does not touch the bottom of the main pot which is, in essence, the same principle as your retired cooker.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
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That second pot, except being stainless, looks like my crawfish boil pot. I have a 40 qt aluminum. I've had crabs cooked along with crawfish and can't say I like them that much. I always do them in a steamer pot like the first pot. As the Ladies have said, you actually boiled the crabs and even though you used steam crab spices, they probably tasted funky. Especially if you used vinegar and water as the liquid. Buy another pot like the first one. If you season like I do, layer of crabs, layer of Old Bay (mixed with salt) and repeat until the pot is full. Then I pour the liquid over the crabs. It runs through to the bottom pan. Then I put the heat to them with my propane burner. Now I will steam shrimp in the house, but crabs are an outside deal. I also use Maryland style to steam Dungeness and Golden crab. I've even steamed some crawfish in that style. I use the steamed shrimp method to steam Florida lobster tails.

BTW, your old pot just has some character!
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:19 PM   #6
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So, even though I only had 2 inches of liquid at the bottom and the "crab basket" was at 3 inches... I'm still boiling the crabs?

Or is it just that I can't get the boil hot enough on an electric stove?
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metadog View Post
So, even though I only had 2 inches of liquid at the bottom and the "crab basket" was at 3 inches... I'm still boiling the crabs?

Or is it just that I can't get the boil hot enough on an electric stove?
Boiling happens at 212F no matter what kind of stove you have. Although I have gas at home, I've used quite a few electric stoves and never had a problem getting water to come to a boil. If you're getting bubbles and steam, it's boiling.

It's been a while since I've done it, but 25 minutes seems like a really long time to steam blue crabs.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:41 PM   #8
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Boiling happens at 212F no matter what kind of stove you have. Although I have gas at home, I've used quite a few electric stoves and never had a problem getting water to come to a boil. If you're getting bubbles and steam, it's boiling.

It's been a while since I've done it, but 25 minutes seems like a really long time to steam blue crabs.
A buddy of mine owns a "crab shack" and gave me time. It is perfect in my old pot.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metadog View Post
So, even though I only had 2 inches of liquid at the bottom and the "crab basket" was at 3 inches... I'm still boiling the crabs?

Or is it just that I can't get the boil hot enough on an electric stove?
If you have a bamboo steamer around you could drop the insert rack into your stainless basket.

I would bring the water up to a boil and then add the crab - keeping them out of the water. The wood insert would add the needed height...

These steamers come in a varity of sizes and you could probably get one at a thrift store in your area - I use this trick when cooking artichokes. tamales and other 'steamables" because the bamboo insert will fit in a variety of pots that I may not have a metal basket for.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:07 PM   #10
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If you have a bamboo steamer around you could drop the insert rack into your stainless basket.

I would bring the water up to a boil and then add the crab - keeping them out of the water. The wood insert would add the needed height...

These steamers come in a varity of sizes and you could probably get one at a thrift store in your area - I use this trick when cooking artichokes. tamales and other 'steamables" because the bamboo insert will fit in a variety of pots that I may not have a metal basket for.
Hi Janet, are you saying that the crabs are too close to the boiling water?
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