Oh, Mr. Crabby, Where Are You?

What can you do for an afternoon if you have a net, some string and raw chicken legs? Well, if you live in New Jersey or along the Atlantic Coast you can go Crabbing! Yes, it’s the right time of year to go and get your own crabs while spending a pleasant afternoon with the family.

Once the water temperature warms up to at least 55 degrees, you’ll have more luck according to what I’ve read. As I mentioned you don’t need much to catch crabs off of a pier, dock or boat. We went out with a dozen chicken legs, a roll of twine and a net with a long handle. We did see other people using larger pieces of chicken, but they didn’t seem to be having any luck getting anything with them.

Once you have chosen where you want to try your luck, simply tie a chicken leg to the end of a string and allow it to sink on down into the water to where the crabs are most likely to be hanging out. It is best if you have another person with you so that one of you can gently pull the string back up while the other has the net handy to get underneath the crab before it decides it would rather not be dinner. If you pull the string too quickly, they will jump off before you even realize that you had one. There are also rules on the size crab you can keep, they must be at least 4 ½ inches to keep them. We caught a good number of “babies” and sent them back to continue nibbling and growing bigger.


Our Boys had a great time with crabbing and are looking forward to doing it again soon. Apparently, you can do this into September so we just may have to give it another try. The town we were in was lovely and the other people who were crabbing were so friendly.

Once we got them home, which was VERY late at night, we steamed them and then set them aside in the fridge until Sunday. Since we ended up with about 8 crabs that were big enough to bring home, that meant we were going to be limited in what we could do with the meat. Before getting to that, My Husband spent time showing My Oldest how to crack them and pull out the meat. My Oldest was a quick study and will now be helping whenever we indulge in getting crabs!

We ended up with just about a half pound of meat. Not a lot to work with, but just enough to make a few smaller “Crabby Patties” (a.k.a. crab cakes for those who don’t watch Spongebob Squarepants). I have made the recipe from Cooking Light before and since it turned out so well, made it again this time. What I like about this recipe is that the patties are fried for just a short time on the stove-top and then finished in the oven. The patties firm up while frying, then they become golden brown in the oven, using less oil overall. They are simply delicious and the best part is they are so simple to make. You won't need to wait until you go out to dinner to enjoy crab cakes anymore. Even if you can't go crabbing where you live, go out and purchase some REAL lump crab meat (not that artificial stuff - yuck!) and make these crab cakes! You can serve them simply as they are with a bit of tartar sauce if you like, or make them like My Oldest (and Spongebob) likes them: on a whole wheat bun with ketchup, lettuce and tomato!

This was one of those activities that made me really feel like we weren't just out doing the usual thing, but rather creating family memories together. One of My Brother's out in Kansas City had commented that when we drove out to visit the last time, that the trip would make memories the boys would remember for the rest of their lives. That really made me stop and think about how important it is to live in the moment and do things that are fun together as a family. Those are the things you remember when you grow up and the stories you tell your own kids. I think that's something I will have to keep reminding myself as we get into the routine come September with the homework, afterschool activities and the regular business of life. We shouldn't just save the fun stuff for summer, we should make time for it throughout the year.


Check out these recipes using fresh crab meat:

Crab and Fuji Apple Salad by Jaden at Steamy Kitchen

Broiled Mushrooms with Crabmeat at Dragon's Kitchen


I wish we had the opportunity to go crabbing or get any kind of seafood fresh from the sea! Kinda hard to do that if we only have Lake Michigan to work with - lol. What a great way to spend the day!
That Girl said…
We used to go crabbing in the summer in the south - but there's just something so unappealing about those chicken necks, so most of the time we stick to shrimping!
Deborah said…
I have always wanted to go crabbing!! And yes, these are the kinds of memories your family is always going to remember. I can't wait until my little peanut is born and old enough to do things like this!
Steph said…
I've always wanted to try that! How fun!
Leah said…
Patsy, I loved your post. I was having the exact same thoughts about living in the moment this past weekend while we were at the lake. We really do have to suck every single moment out of summer while it's here -- especially in Wisconsin!

Crabbing sounds like fun; I love the crabby patty idea -- we're huge SpongeBob fans here!!
Anonymous said…
You can't beat food that's both fun and delicious!
test it comm said…
Catching your own crab sounds like fun and those crab cakes look good!
Megan said…
I've been wanting to make crabby pattys but picked crab is so pricey and I dont know how to crack a crab. What a wonderful experience for the boys and a great catch for crab cakes! I will find me some crab!!!
RecipeGirl said…
That sure looks like some great family time for sure!

When we were in MA this summer, the kids went "crabbing" every day near our beach's jetty. They caught little guys with bologna and then let them go after they tortured them in a bucket for a while!
Robin said…
I loved this post, thank you it brought back so many memories when I used to crab in Jersey as a little girl. Oh we had some fun times with those crabs. Like when one got loose in the bost and we all started screaming! We liked to crab 3 days before or after full moon for the bigger crabs, probably an old wives tale but it seemed to work.

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