It doesn’t take much to guess that here at the Original Crabby Bill’s in Indian Rocks Beach, we love crabs… especially stone crab claws! October 15th marked opening day of stone crabbing, so that means season is in full swing. This delicacy is loved by locals and tourists alike and comes straight from the Gulf of Mexico to your plate. New to the Stone Crab craze? Here’s what you need to know.
In Florida, stone crabs are harvested from October 15th-May 15th. Each crabber has their own tricks of the trade, but just about every commercial crabber loads up their boats with baited traps shortly before season begins and drops them out in the Gulf. Depending on conditions, crabbers may use the same spots each year or try a new location…it all depends on where they think the crabs crawled!
Stone crabbing is unique because crabbers don’t take the whole crab – just the claw! Once the claw is measured and cleared to be of legal size, the crab is returned to the water. Adult crabs regenerate their claws after about a year and within 3 years, the claw will return to about 95% of its original size. To ensure protection of stone crabs, this is strictly enforced by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
From the Gulf to Crabby Bill’s
Once our crabber friends have loaded up their boats with claws, they head straight over to Crabby Bill’s. From here, we weigh the claws and boil them in huge crab pots. After a quick ice bath, they are ready to make it to your plate.
The best part about stone crab claws is eating them! Stone crab has a flaky, white meat that is tender, sweet, and seriously delicious. Us die-hard crab fans will say stone crab claws are a dish like revenge…best served cold. Dip them in our homemade stone sauce, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Though we recommend eating our claws cold, some prefer them served warm with drawn butter.
So how do you get that tender meat out of the shell? Here at Crabby Bill’s, we’ll crack ‘em for you! Ordering them to serve at home? We’ve got you covered. Be sure to pick up one of our crab hammers in the gift shop, then lay the claw in the palm of your hand and rap the shell firmly. All it takes is a few cracks…no need to smash the shell to smithereens. The knuckle also has lots of meat, so be sure to crack it open as well.
All you’ve got to do next is combine mayonnaise, mustard, and horseradish (or call us to order some of our stone sauce) and you’ll be set to enjoy this local delicacy.
You can enjoy stone crab claws in the restaurant or at home! Just contact us if you’d like to place an order for your next special event.