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Florida Stone Crab Claws, Incredible

Mckendrick's steak house loves celebrating the return of fresh Florida stone crab claws. As this years season arrives with good news that the Deep-water Horizon oil spill will not effect the catch. Stone crab claws are truly one of my favorite seafood dishes. I love shrimp, lobster, blue crabs and king crab but there is something about stone crabs.  Maybe it is because these tasty crustaceans are only available from October to May, making you wait all summer long for them. What is unique about stone crab claws is the way the are harvested. The fisherman set out traps, haul them aboard and remove one claw from the crab and then throw the crab back in the water to allow it to regenerate making the crab  a very sustainable species. The crab claws are cooked and chilled immediately upon arriving at the dock in order to ensure the freshest quality of crab.

Stone crab claws are sold in four sizes, mediums with 7-8 per pound, large with 5-6 per pound,  jumbo 3-4 per pound and if you are lucky you might find some colossal claws at 1-2 per pound, my favorite size. There are many places on the web to buy stone crab claws and they can get expense but well worth every penny.  No matter what you have heard, do not buy frozen stone crabs and plan on eating your fresh stone crabs as soon as they arrive. If you have to store them, place them in a drain pan or colander, cover them with plastic and then place a bag of crushed ice over them. Turn your refrigerator to low (32 degrees) and place them in the coldest part. The claws do not keep any longer than a couple of days so beware.

Once you have your claws you must learn the best way to crack them. Keep in mind that the darker part of the shells are harder than the lighter parts. I was always taught to use a hammer but over the years gadgets (see below) have been developed in order to make the job easier.

This stone crab cracker is available at Grim's Stonecrab, Inc.

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Start by hitting the main knuckle on the underside lightly with a hammer or your gadget. After a couple of good hits you will get the idea.

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Next take the hammer and hit the poin of the middle knuckle and the outer shell should pop right off.

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Third take the hammer and tap the last and final knuckle on the top. This piece might seem a little difficult but well worth the time. The knuckle has a little better flavor and texture than the claw.

Stone crab claws are usually cracked or in the shell and served over a bed of ice with a mustard dipping sauce. Some people prefer, as I do, to dip the claws in drawn butter with lemon made by slowly and melting butter and not clarifying it.

Mustard Sauce

4 tablespoons of Coleman's dry mustard

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons of Lea and Perrin's

2 tablespoons of A-1 sauce

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 cups of Hellman's mayonnaise

1. In a medium bowl with a whip mix the vinegar and mustard to remove any lumps.

2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly


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