For a few glorious weeks every spring, Charleston’s blue crabs begin to shed their shells and we are blessed with soft shell season here in the lowcountry.
Out on the docks at Shem Creek, we were able to spend some time with local fisherman and crabber, David Richardson who gave us a thoughtful tutorial on how to catch, clean, and cook these decadent “softies”.
Below you’ll find a few takeaways from our time at the docks with David from Marvin's Seafood in North Charleston, SC.
When to catch them: According to David, lowcountry fishermen know that it’s time to start crabbing once they get word from Georgia that the waters are warm enough and the crabs are beginning to come out. This usually happens in the early spring between March and April.
How to catch them: Crabbers will use a large male crab sometimes referred to as a “Jimmy” to lure the female crabs into the trap. Crabbers can catch up to about 90 crabs at a time using this method.
Where to buy them: If you are lucky enough to live near a dock or by the water the best place you can buy fresh crab and other seafood is from the fishermen themselves. According to David, purchasing directly from the docks is the most beneficial for fisherman and provides you with the freshest seafood.
How to eat them: David’s favorite preparation consists of soaking the crabs in a milk and egg mixture before dredging in a combination of cornmeal, flour, and seasoning, and frying in a skillet of oil. He then serves them sandwich style with lettuce, tomato, and a homemade remoulade.
Pro Tip: David says the back left corner or the “backfin” of the crab makes for the best bite because it has the sweetest and most tender meat.