Wild-caught stone crab claws are harvested in the Florida Keys. The claws come from crabs that measure at least 2 ¾ inches long, and the crabs' bodies are thrown back into the warm water to regenerate (it takes 18 months for a claw to grow back) and maintain their populations.
How to Eat Stone Crab Claws
Stone crabs are steamed immediately after harvesting and they are graded by size: Colossal, Jumbo, Large, and Medium. Eating the crabs is a real culinary delight and something I look forward to every year.
The claws are cracked just before serving in the restaurants. When purchasing stone crabs at the fish store, the fishmonger will crack them for you. Just bring them home, refrigerate, and enjoy them within 24 hours.
How Do I Crack Stone Crabs at Home?
The claws are fully cooked and you crack them just before eating. You can bring them home uncracked and crack them open with nutcrackers, mallets (shown below), or a big knife. To use a big knife, place the flat side of a chef's knife on the flat side of the claw and press down a few times as if you are smashing a clove of garlic. If you're buying them fresh, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate them in the back of the fridge. Consume them within 24 hours for maximum flavor.
You can pick up a stone crab cracker, a light weight aluminum device when you pick up your stone crabs at Key Largo Fisheries. This is an appliance that will crack the crabs with ease. All you have to do is place the crab in the device as shown and lightly press down on the joints. The shells swill slip right off.
When Is Stone Crab Season?
Stone crab season runs from mid-October through mid-May; you must try them! They are on the expensive side, but well worth every penny.
Where Can I Get Stone Crabs?
You can purchase frozen stone crab claws with its famous counterpart, mustard sauce, in the mail from The Key Largo Fisheries. They will arrive in one day packed on dry ice. Of course, you can also come to the Keys, which is definitely a better idea!
The succulent meat is a real delicacy. One and a half pounds should generously feed two adults.
Good News for Dieters!
Fortunately, Stone Crabs are Low Carb, Gluten-Free, Keto, Paleo, and Kaufmann Diet compliant. For a beautiful meal with no carbs, a pound of stone crabs is for you! Skip the mustard sauce and enjoy with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon over the top. No Carbs!