124. Fried Crab Claws, Mighty Fine Finger Food

5 Mar

352913848_a52a025c75_mOf all the Southern delicacies I miss here in the Pacific Northwest, top honors may just go to fried crab claws. I occasionally encounter pretty good hushpuppies, fried chicken, and pulled pork. I’ve tasted some delicious grits and biscuits. I’ve even located a reliable source for beignets. But I can count on one finger the number of times I’ve run across a fried crab claw of any kind here–oh, and have one finger left over.

Yes, one of Seattle’s most celebrated chefs serves up some dee-li-cious crab cakes, but what on earth is he doing with all the claws? I beg of you, Tom Douglas, fry those suckers up!

Yes, but are they fried?

Yes, but are they fried?

Whenever I’m back in Mississippi, I make it a point to try and get myself some fried crab claws. In September, my sister and I drove nearly an hour to this joint in Vicksburg that has the best ones around. Unfortunately, nobody told us that half the town–including Rusty’s–shuts down on Monday. Still, after much searching, we managed to locate a tasty plate of them at a place called Monsour’s at the Biscuit Company. However, we were disappointed to learn that the “biscuit company” in the name had long since vacated the space. Apparently, the building once housed the National Biscuit Company or as they’re now called, Nabisco. Sure, I get the historic significance, but I think they ought to at least have a biscuit on the menu. Don’t get a girl’s hopes up like that!

As an appetizer that goes for around $14.95 a plate, fried crab claws are a little spendy. You might be tempted to split one order for the whole table. Don’t. Each claw offers up only one delectable morsel of meat, so you’ll want to share with one person max. Unless that person is greedy, in which case order your own.

If eating meat that still resembles the animal it came from creeps you out, then fried crab claws aren’t for you. They are what they are: claws, dipped in batter and fried. There’s only one way to eat them: position your teeth with the cartilage between them, bite down and scrape the meat off. No utensils will do. You’ve got to go caveman on them. Provided your cave is near the ocean, I mean.

Hmm...y'all might want to reword that.

Hmm…y’all might want to reword that.

Even in the South, menus featuring fried crab claws can be few and far between, so I suggest ordering them whenever you can. My sister just told me that we have to go to Walker’s Drive-In next time I’m in MS, seeing as they serve up a Super Size portion of them. She guesstimated 60 claws in one order, then backpeddled to “at least 50.” I am dubious. But also, hungry.

Know of any good places to get good fried crab claws? Any of them within driving distance of Seattle?

Photo credits: Plate ‘o claws by chez pim, Flickr Creative Commons; neon crab sign by Naser Risk, Flickr Creative Commons; we have crabs sign by tsmyther, Flickr Creative Commons.

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4 Responses to “124. Fried Crab Claws, Mighty Fine Finger Food”

  1. Hope March 5, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    When I read your stories, I’m always amazed at what is unique to the South that I thought everyone enjoyed. No fried crab claws? That’s so weird! Maybe you should also write a reverse blog about “Stuff Yankees Don’t Know About.” Then again, I like all the places in the world being unique.

    If I could mail you fried crab claws, I would.

    • Kim Holloway March 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Thanks, Hope! Damn, I wish fried crab claws would travel well…

  2. Anonymous March 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Ok, now you got me with this one. My people have been in GA for two hundred years – on both my Mama and my Daddy’s sides. And my daddy’s people are from Savannah, but I have never had fried crab claws! I can make shrimp and grits in my sleep and a low country boil that’d make Ella Brennan proud, And I’ve had fried lobster tails in the FL Keys, but I have GOT to find a place around here to try fried crab claws! LOVE learning something new! Especially when food is involved!

    • Kim Holloway March 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

      I’ll bet they’re easier to find the closer you get to the Gulf of Mexico. Good luck!

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