Don't know if this is of any interest to many but a few may not know about it. I used to struggle with keeping my crabs alive in salt water till I learned about iceing them down. I cover the bottom of the cooler I am using with ice then I put a towel over the ice and I open the drain. That way the crabs don't get into any fresh water and die. The cold from the ice puts the crabs in a kind of hibernation and they will last a long time. It takes me a couple of hours to get home after put my boat on the trailer from catching them critters and they are in good shape. Then after I get the water all set to cook them I clean them, yep you can break them in half if you want, take the shell off and clean out the innards from them and then I cook them. You get a lot better quality of meat and none of the taste from the innards being cooked with them.I have seen people cleaning them at the fish cleaning stations but I have always been told to cook them alive or immediately after cleaning. So once I catch them I ice them down, drive home about a hundred miles, clean em n cook em and have a crab feed. I know everybody has their own way of doing it but I thought I would just toss that out there.
That's a good point. When I lived 10mins from the dock I never gave it any thought. most of the time I just threw them on top of the bottom fish, now 2-3hrs away I need to take better care of them on the trip home.
Probably the best way is to cook them at the cleaning station with one of those turkey cookers.
I've taken live crab home on ice, 2-1/2 hour drive from the launch, and cleaned them at the launch tossed the leg clusters on ice and cooked them soon as I get home.
I tell you I can't tell any difference in the taste or apparent quality of the cooked crab.
The main advantage of cleaning them at the stations provided by the launch ramp, to me anyway, is that I don't have to contend with the mess at home.
While cooking them at the launch parking area sounds great and I do have the gear to do so, after the crab are done you still have the drive home and I really don't like night driving if I can avoid it.
When I had my place down in Warrenton on the Skipanon River, one of my neighbors used to work at the cannery. She showed me how she shook crab. I never came close to being as quick as her, but the shaking method was sure a lot easier than the way I was cracking crab. Good video.
I can't wait to catch a cooler full of crab and give this technique a try!! Quick question though, steam or boil the crab? I have done both and I guess I prefer steaming as it doesn't water log the meat, but I wondered how others felt.