Here's a tip for handling live crabs: as the pot is coming to a boil, immerse the crabs in a large tub of ice water for about five minutes. The frigid water not only makes the crabs sluggish but also helps their claws stay on during cooking.
Steamed Blue Crabs
You will need a mallet, a paring knife, and two hands to tackle these tasty crabs, a Maryland favorite.
Yield: serves 4-6
2 cups white or cider vinegar
4 cups beer
24 live blue crabs
1⁄2 cups Old Bay Seasoning
Pour vinegar and beer into a large pot fitted with a rack and bring to a boil over high heat. Add crabs in layers, sprinkling seasoning between layers. Cover pot; boil until crabs are bright red, about 20 minutes.