This past weekend, we had our third annual crab boil at our place and it was such a fun evening! This is something we started a couple summers back when we lived at our condo, and it has since become an end-of-summer tradition.
There were 14 of us this year and I’d love to share some photos if you’d like to see…
Each year, we send out an invite to friends for our annual crab boil, and the menu has stayed pretty consistent each year: dungeness crab, corn on the cob, San Francisco French fries, cornbread & coleslaw (which I totally had in the fridge ready to throw together and didn’t realize I had forgotten until I was elbow deep into my bag of crab—womp womp).
This year, we made a big glass dispenser of sangria, which everyone got as they arrived plus could continue to serve themselves, and our friends brought appetizers (crab dip, egg rolls) and dessert too (chocolate tuxedo cake & coconut cream pie).
We purchase the live crab the day of and bring them home in an ice chilled cooler. Marco always takes the lead on cooking and the crab boil is definitely his baby. He preps all the food as I greet the guests, get them drinks and unpack food people have brought etc. It’s a little chaotic getting the timing of everything, but this year we used the oven to keep fries, corn on the cob and cooked crab hot while the rest was being finished up, which proved to be uber helpful.
To make the crab, first you boil them, then Marco makes a mean marinade to punch up the flavour. Once cooked, we bag them individually in large ziplocks, then we pour in the marinade, seal them up and get them coated. The crab stay really hot in the bags as well, so despite it being another 15 minutes or so to finalize all the food/crab, they were still piping when everyone sat down to eat.
From there, everyone heads to the newspaper covered table, throws on a pair of gloves and goes to town! It’s a no-fork eating event so diving in with your hands is encouraged and it’s truly just a boisterous and fun evening with friends!
5 TIPS FOR HOSTING A CRAB BOIL:
(1) Serve the crab in a bag and encourage your guests to eat out of the bag. The first year, we served everyone their crab on their plate, and it was a slippery, saucey mess. After that, we realized popping them into bags made it really simple to enjoy and easier to eat in general. There is a reason crab shacks do it that way—it works!
(2) Throw some gloves on! While gloves won’t make or break the party, I have found people are more apt to really dig in when they have them.
(3) Plan side dishes that are easy to consume with your hands. If you’re doing corn on the cob, break it in half or three so they are easier to cook all at once and easier to grab and eat. We also like to place mini plates of butter along the table for easy dipping.
(4) When everything is ready and you’re inviting your guests to grab a seat at the table, encourage them to top up their drink or grab a new one before sitting down. It truly is a case of once you sit down and get started, and with the gloves, it’s pretty messy to get up and try to fix a drink. Also, as the host, before you sit down and put your gloves on, ask if there is absolutely anything anyone needs to thinks is missing.
(5) Newspaper & paper towel for the table! I always layer the table in newspaper—for one, it’s aesthetically pleasing and matches the theme of a crab boil, it also puts your guests at ease about making a mess. It also keeps it casual and more enjoyable. As for paper towel, n the past, I’ve used cloth napkins, but with all the oils from the marinades and fries, it pretty much ruins them. This year, I popped a roll of paper towel on an upright holder in the middle of the table and let guests grab as needed. If you have a longer table, use two paper towel holders spaced out.
Hope you girls enjoyed this post–we had such a fun time with friends and it’s always a great way to round out the summer with a no-fork feast. You can see pictures from last year’s crab boil here, and photos from the first annual crab boil here.