How to Crack Stone Crab Claws

Once you know the magic behind cracking stone crabs, it will be relatively easier for you and your family to eat them. Get to understand how all this is done from Billy's Stone Crab Restaurant, Hollywood, FL

We serve the most delectable stone crabs in all of Florida. And while the crab season is still in high gear, you may want to get your taste buds tingling with excitement. But if you don't know how to serve stone crab, it'll be hard to get the tasty flesh out of them. Let's walk you through how to eat stone crab claws properly like a pro!

What Are Stone Crab Claws?

Stone Crab Claws are sea animals with tough shells but soft, rich meat. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has put legal measures to harvest them from October to May (you also must be registered). To avoid this hassle, we ensure that we capture the stone crabs ourselves, hand-picking the best for you. 

When preparing, keep it simple, as you would with steak. Serve each guest or family a pound of stone crab claws for the main course. You may season it the old-school Miami style, cool with the simple mustard sauce we normally make for our esteemed customers. 

How to Prepare Stone Crabs

Like cooking lobster, you can prepare stone crab claws in one of these three ways: boil, steam, or bake. Though preparation is straightforward, timing is crucial; be cautious not to overcook the flesh. Otherwise, it can get tough. However, you can bypass the burden by purchasing precooked stone crabs online or from one of our fish markets. But how do you crack the hard crab shell?

How to Crack, Then Eat Stone Crab Claws

We know you've been anticipating this step. Here are three methods on how you can crack and eat your stone claws without making a mess:

How the Professionals Do It

Most stone crab eateries have a machine in the kitchen that is designed specifically to crack the hard shell apart. It attaches to a counter and cracks the shell with a crushing bar. The fragile flesh is kept uncrushed as the shell is cracked. 

How the Majority Do It

Most folks use their reliable nutcracker or crab cracker for cracking a stone crab's shell. On the other hand, the stone crab claw is more challenging to break open than typical crab legs or lobster claws; this works on occasions. 

However, it results in frustration and a shattered shell in the meat much of the time. (Heads up: A broken shell can result in several dental appointments! After all, there is a reason it is called a stone crab.) Try to leave the claw broken and not shattered.

Keep things simple!

Quite often, the easiest solution is the best option. Here are three ways to crack the shell:

  1. Tap hard on the tops of all three joints with a large, hefty chef or French knife. Hit both sides of the joint with the claw to provide the most flesh; remember that this could take more than one press to break through fully. Do the same with all three knuckles, keeping the claw horizontal on a table or chopping board. Try not to pierce the meat with the shell. Peel as if it were a hard-boiled egg.
  2. Hit the claw's surface smoothly using a standard hammer. All three knuckles need to be cracked to allow the flesh to be easily exposed. It'll break into small pieces once you hit the shell too forcefully. It's far better to split it up into larger, bite-sized chunks.
  3. Using a thick flatware spoon, hit the crab sharply and firmly and repeat on both sides of the knuckle. Always ensure you wrap the stone claw in a dishtowel. The cloth will shield your hands and prevent claw fragments from blasting into your face or eyes. 

Want the Juiciest Seafood in Southern Florida? Go to Billy's Stone Crab!

Our restaurant is widely regarded as one of the top seafood restaurants and markets in the Ft. Lauderdale area, both domestically and internationally. Every day, almost 40 boats deliver fish, stone crab, and lobster to our fish houses found in Marathon and Summerland, Florida Keys. Trust us to offer both fully-cooked and precooked stone crab claws. We shall serve you delicious specialty delicacies in less than an hour. We also sell the following foods in our market:

  • Steaks
  • Mahi-mahi filet
  • Clams 
  • Grouper filet 
  • Oysters
  • Snapper filet 


We are unique in that we are both the producers and consumers. Therefore, we carefully handle the fish from beginning to end before it reaches our clients. Chat with us today!

Image Source: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock