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How do I stop the water from boiling into crabs when steaming? Having issues at times. I built keg steamer. Crabs set about 3 inches above water. I use 2/3 water, 1/3 cider vinegar for the liquid. Add some old bay during steaming. I have cut back on liquid at times, but have to keep close eyes as not to run out liquid while steaming.
 

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I bought a new high output burner last year and ran into the same issue. It’s been frustrating. I wish I had not given away my old burner. These two things have worked most of the time.

1. Raise the rack an inch or two with pieces of brick or crack a garden paver into a few pieces.

2. Turn the burner down after you see the first puffs of steam.
 

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Raising basket is a option. Have jad some success doing that at times. Lowering heat didn't seem to get job done. Sometimes.Im fine,.others I'm not. Trying to figure variables is frustrating.
 

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How do I stop the water from boiling into crabs when steaming? Having issues at times. I built keg steamer. Crabs set about 3 inches above water. I use 2/3 water, 1/3 cider vinegar for the liquid. Add some old bay during steaming. I have cut back on liquid at times, but have to keep close eyes as not to run out liquid while steaming.
I use water only and don't have that problem.
 

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remember, crabs already have water in them. I love vinegar in the steam. Beer, I’ve never added and never noticed a difference. As a child, my dad wouldn’t use any rack. The crabs on the bottom, acted as the rack. They were the wet ones. My dad and I would fight for them slurp the juice out of the upside down shell. Make ya cough sometimes.
 

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1 beer, nothing too good, maybe a Bud Light left over from the beach and just enough water to make steam long enough to cook them. Rack off the bottom, I use big hex nuts welded together for 3-4 inches of space off the bottom. Some JO or Old Bay on the crabs while they steam to get the flavor inside the crabs.

I've got a 100 qt. steamer that can swallow a whole bushel or less which makes things easier. When they're done I dump them all into a cooler to keep them warm until they're ready to go on the platter for the table.
 

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Crabs should be about 2 inches above the liquid, higher is better. 2/3 water to 1/3 vinegar is a good ratio, but how much do you put in the pot? (Perhaps way too much??)

My pot holds 1 1/2 bushels; 15 gallon capacity. I normally steam a bushel of crabs plus corn, onions & potatoes in a colander (with seasoning on them all). I use 24 ounces of each - water, vinegar & cheap beer. The depth of liquid in the pot is approximately 1/2 inch, not more. I place a layer of crab paper on the top of the pot under the lid to help seal the steam in the pot. It will still escape, but not as much as without the paper. News paper can also be used to seal. Use at least 2-3 sheets. There is always more liquid in the pot after steaming than the 72 ounces I put in. It comes from the crabs.

My burner makes steam in 5 minutes and I turn it off after 25 minutes. I never have any undercooked or partially cooked crabs. Heat is never adjusted during the steaming process. Been doing it this way for decades and never have any problems.

Try the paper seal and see if your problem goes away. Also, STOP removing the lid during the steaming process to add seasoning!!!!! You're cooling the contents of the pot drastically by doing so. Not good! Add the seasoning in layers as you add the crabs to the pot.

Hope this helps. Please report back if you decide to use any of these suggestions. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Crabs should be about 2 inches above the liquid, higher is better. 2/3 water to 1/3 vinegar is a good ratio, but how much do you put in the pot? (Perhaps way too much??)

My pot holds 1 1/2 bushels; 15 gallon capacity. I normally steam a bushel of crabs plus corn, onions & potatoes in a colander (with seasoning on them all). I use 24 ounces of each - water, vinegar & cheap beer. The depth of liquid in the pot is approximately 1/2 inch, not more. I place a layer of crab paper on the top of the pot under the lid to help seal the steam in the pot. It will still escape, but not as much as without the paper. News paper can also be used to seal. Use at least 2-3 sheets. There is always more liquid in the pot after steaming than the 72 ounces I put in. It comes from the crabs.

My burner makes steam in 5 minutes and I turn it off after 25 minutes. I never have any undercooked or partially cooked crabs. Heat is never adjusted during the steaming process. Been doing it this way for decades and never have any problems.

Try the paper seal and see if your problem goes away. Also, STOP removing the lid during the steaming process to add seasoning!!!!! You're cooling the contents of the pot drastically by doing so. Not good! Add the seasoning in layers as you add the crabs to the pot.

Hope this helps. Please report back if you decide to use any of these suggestions. Good luck.
I'm going to start monitoring liquid adds and results. Going to move basket up as high as I can get away with. I like the paper idea. I do loose liquid due to steam lose under loose fitting lid. I have been thinking about make a set up with a pressure cooker feeding a streamer pot. I some of these ideas first.
 

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To me losing liquid due to the steam coming out of the lid is most times a good thing, it trades off for the liquid coming out of the crabs.

I didn't see anyone else advocating seasoning them in the pot. I didn't used to do that until a guy that I used to run pots with told me about it.
 

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We always mix Old Bay with rock salt 50/50 to put on the crabs.
 

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How do I stop the water from boiling into crabs when steaming? Having issues at times. I built keg steamer. Crabs set about 3 inches above water. I use 2/3 water, 1/3 cider vinegar for the liquid. Add some old bay during steaming. I have cut back on liquid at times, but have to keep close eyes as not to run out liquid while steaming.
Turn the burner down once pot starts to steam with lid on.

I have a ss pot from Harford metals that holds about a bushel. I use about 1/2 gal of water and 12 oz. of vinegar. I put pot on fire up full blast while I'm putting crabs in pot, layering with seasoning. By the time pot is full (about 5 minutes) it's steaming pretty good. I turn burner down to where you don't hear the "roaring flame" sound, ie, way down. As long as a little bit of steam is coming out from under lid 25 minutes later crabs are bright red and done.
 
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