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We Love our Blue Crabs in Maryland
One of the best things about Maryland living is having access to those yummy blue crabs! Callinectes sapidus—translated from Latin means ‘beautiful savory swimmer.’ A summer in Frederick isn’t complete without a crab feast…or four or five. So I’m happy to show you where to get the best crabs in Frederick County Maryland. Good news – according to the Chesapeake Bay office of NOAA, “The Chesapeake Bay blue crab stock is not depleted, and overfishing is not occurring.”
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A Proper Crab Feast
If you aren’t convinced yet about the coveted delicacy, let me explain: A crab feast is about more than just the sweet, delicate meat of the Chesapeake blue crab. The crab feast is equally about the people. It’s really about love and it’s about taking time for people.
A proper crab feast is about the experience of sitting, picking, eating, drinking and having great conversation with a table full of your favorite people. It’s about lots of time to enjoy the food and the company, because picking takes time. And if you’re at home, just so you don’t get hungry, you throw in a cookout for good measure… burgers, ribs, sausages, and a plethora of sides and summer salads.
The right beverage is essential…but there are varying opinions on just what that is…and that’s ok. But the star of the feast is the yummy crab. And don’t forget the Old Bay Seasoning. (It’s sad to me that people from around this great country have no idea what Old Bay is.)
A proper crab feast requires the entire day…time for prep, enjoyment and cleanup. Cleanup is easy when you lay out the newspapers or rolls of butcher paper ahead of time. Roll it all up and in the trash it goes, paper, plastic and all. Even better if you have your feast at one of our local restaurants, no cleanup at all.
The good news is, you don’t have to drive far to get good crabs. There are plenty of good crab houses in Frederick County. So, enough of this pre-game warm-up…here’s my pick for best crabs in Frederick:
Best Crabs in Frederick County Md
First of all, let me explain my methodology. I’ve done a mashup of ratings from several websites: Yelp and Trip Adviser, because user generated reviews are real and trustworthy, imo. And then I added a mashup of Google and Facebook Reviews, because …all those people who don’t use Yelp and Trip Adviser.
The three important things to get right about steaming blue crabs are: NOT overcooking them, getting them as fresh as possible, and having a good supplier. The only way to ensure that all those important items are in place is trial and error…and getting reviews from others who have put in the time through trial and error. So here we go, in three categories…
All-You-Can-Eat Crab Restaurants
Sometimes you just want to dig in to some crabs and leave the steaming and cleanup to someone else. The top two restaurants in Frederick County for all-you-can-eat blue crabs:
- Avery’s Maryland Grille, 9009 Baltimore Rd, Frederick. 301-228-2722. Trip Adviser: 54% Excellent, Yelp: 4.5 Stars, Facebook: 83% Excellent with 191 5-Star Reviews, and 4.5 Stars from 68 Google Reviews.
- Mays Seafood, 5640 Urbana Pike, Frederick. 301-662-4233. Trip Adviser: 44% Excellent, Yelp: 3.5 Stars (5 Stars for AYCE Crabs, not for other items on the menu) Facebook: 65% Excellent with 4.3 Stars of 550 Reviews, and 3.7 Stars from 154 Google Reviews.
- There is another AYCA Crab restaurant that used to be one of the local favorites, but since new ownership has recently gotten bad reviews, I won’t mention it. Hopefully, they will see better days.
It’s great to order a bushel, pick them up and get dirty hands in your own backyard. Here are the top four (in no particular order) in Frederick County:
- Westpoint Crab House, 1440 W Patrick St, Frederick. 301-682-6800. Trip Adviser: 100% Excellent, Yelp: 4 Stars, Facebook: 88% Excellent with 4.8 Stars of 24 Reviews, and 4.6 Stars of 15 Google Reviews.
- Lighthouse Seafood & Deli, 12051 Old National Pike, New Market. 301-865-8925. Trip Adviser: 77% Excellent out of 44 Reviews, Yelp: 4 Stars, Facebook: 82% Excellent with 4.7 and 76 Reviews, 4.7 Stars of 54 Google Reviews
- Trouts Market, 3 N Main St #1, Woodsboro. 301-845-8674. Not on Trip Adviser, Yelp: 5 Stars, Facebook: 73% Excellent with 4.6 Stars of 107 Reviews, 4.4 Stars of 40 Google Reviews.
- J.B. Seafood, 308 Main St, Myersville. 301-293-2722. Trip Adviser: 61% Excellent with 23 Reviews, Yelp: 4 Stars, Facebook: 86% Excellent with 98 Reviews, 4.8 Stars of 17 Google Reviews.
Steam them Yourself
Honestly, this is the best! Yes, it’s a little more labor intensive…but the rewards are that much greater. You drive to Baltimore, get a big, full-to-overflowing bushel of crabs, bring them home and start steaming them on your deck at about noon. They stay just fine in the air-conditioned kitchen.
As you steam them (in water and one can of beer, with tons of Old Bay Seasoning, 12 minutes) a batch at a time in the turkey fryer, you have the freshest, sweetest, hottest crabs you can ever want. All afternoon. Cold beer. Burgers and sides. This is Maryland living!
We love Fruitland Farmer’s Market, 106 Eastern Blvd. Essex Md. 410-574-9866. Facebook: 4.7 Stars, 8 out of 9 Reviews are Excellent. 4.5 Stars of 13 Google Reviews. The crabs get there in the morning right off the docks, and you can pick them up at 10 am. It’s best to call the day before to see how they run. We have NEVER been disappointed!
Best Recommendations for Steaming Crabs at Home
Bonus: Best Crab Cakes
Crab cakes have to be just right, don’t they Marylanders? Lots of lump, very little filler. Whether you like drawn butter or Old Bay Seasoning is a minor point. But don’t even mention tartar sauce…srsly!
- Dutch’s Daughter Restaurant, has won Best Crab Cake in Frederick (Best of Frederick) at least four years in a row, and has appeared on several top 10 lists for the state of Maryland.
- May’s Seafood Restaurant has been named second best for four years by Best of Frederick for Crab Cakes.
- Avery’s Grill comes in third place on Best of Frederick.
- Madrones, Tasting Room, Hootch & Banter, Callahans, Brewer’s Alley, Jo Jo’s Taphouse, and Alexander’s at Buckeystown usually take up space in the top ten on several websites.
The last best crab cake I had was at Jo Jo’s Taphouse. All lump, no filler. A.Ma.Zing.
I hope you enjoyed my roundup of best blue crabs in Frederick County Md. Please feel free to leave any tips and best restaurants for crabs you’ve found in Frederick in the comments…I’m only one blue crab lover, I can’t possibly have found all the best places! #passtheoldbay
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