It has been years and years since we have tackled an actual bushel of crabs, and even then we have historically never dealt with live ones. There is good reason for this. It's kind of crazy, not to mention labor-intensive! My sisters and I had a hilarious time getting these little buggers steamed up for dinner.
We were worried that the crabs would expire before we all returned from seeing the Brave movie, and were anxious to perhaps transfer them to a roomier abode before we left. I lifted the cover in preparation to dump them into a larger plastic tub. Sister A was skeptical that we should disturb them.
Whatever. They looked totally harmless. In fact, the top couple were lifeless (I somehow missed that my brother-in-law had to actually incapacitate them on the trip in the car because they kept escaping!)
So here's what happened next.
Sister A was the one up on the chair screeching and had grabbed her iPhone (unbeknownst to my sister E and I, who were the intrepid ones scrambling to pick up the escapees with tongs and...pasta spoons? without getting pinched.) What you can't see on the video is the crabs escaping from the back of the bushel basket.
We abandoned the 'roomier abode' idea as soon as we retrieved all of them, slapped the cover back on that bushel (we were pretty sure they were alive and kicking...literally) and headed out to our movie, hoping that the cover was strong enough to hold them unsupervised, and that the escapee crabs didn't know how to climb up smooth surfaces.
So we were all ready to go. Crabs? Check. Newspaper? Check. Vinegar? Check. Beer? Check. Commecial-sized container of Old Bay? CHECK!
Giant steaming pot? Fail. We resorted to rigging the largest pots we had, (which were none-too-large) and turning wooden bowls upside down in the bottom to help keep the crabs out of the steaming water. I don't have any pictures of this, but it was my idea and pretty genius, if I do say so myself. ;)
It took forever to do them in these small batches. We had to employ a three-person line. I was in charge of the pot (and slapping the cover on after the hapless crab was tossed in), sister E was the crab-grabbing boss, and sister S had to keep the rest of the crabs incarcerated. Mom and sister A were conveniently absent. It was only after we were 1/4 of the way through that BIL volunteered to get his dad's crab steaming pots.
Yay! Crabs, steamed in beer, vinegar and Old Bay.
Have you ever steamed your own live crabs?