olphart, I completely agree. If you lived in S.E. Texas, however, you would definitely be in the minority! All seafood gets hopped up with strong spices if fried or dunked and boiled to near tastelessness if put into a gumbo. It’s all about the spices there.
I think crabs are far too delicious boiled or steamed to alter their flavor with either batter or spices/sauces, especially BBQ. Same with shrimp – although I do love fried shrimp, using them in gumbo or jambalaya or other such dishes just diminishes their full flavor.
"Relaxes" the crab? That’s not why they’re put on ice. They’re put on ice so as to slow their metabolism. This allows them to live out of water longer. This is important for the commercial crabbers as most of the crab caught in the Sabine River/Sabine Lake fishery is shipped to the Mid Atlantic area and has to survive the trip and a stay in cold storage overnight.
Many years ago I grew up in Port Arthur and have eaten BBQ crabs at Grangers and Later Sartins in Sabine Pass. Granger’s was an actual restaurant and Sartins was more of a shack.
I even remember that there was a Saturday Evening Post article about Grangers – and some comment about how Emily Post, the table manners guru and how she would manage!
An old timer in town, A.J. Judice used to supply some of Grangers crabs and he let me in on a secret. I used to go shrimping with AJ in his 14′ Yellow Jacket boat and the big 25 hp Mercury Outboard that was the fastest boat on Cow Bayou. He also had a working rig but I was never on it – I think he kept it down by the Menhaden Fertilizer Plant at Sabine Pass.
When you get the crabs out of the trap or your net, put them on ice immediately. This, accorcing to him, relaxes the crab and makes the meat easier to get out of the shell. Clean them when you get home.
In later years I used Bolner’s seasoning from San Antonio. The other secret was to deep fry at 350 degrees for exactly 3 minutes and 30 seconds.[8D]
Sorry to be a party pooper, but….I just can’t think of a worse way to prepare crab than the SE Texas "BBQ" method which is really just a deep fried crab. I lived in Orange for three years and a year in Beaumont before that and quickly converted everyone I knew from BBQ crabs to properly steamed crabs. Now none of them will touch a BBQ crab.
I used the search feature to see if Sartin’s had ever been mentioned on Roadfood and dragged up this old thread. There’s a big feature in the Press this week on Sartin’s and the origins of bbq’d crab. There have been 14 Sartin’s — all but three gone, largely due to hurricanes.
I’ve heard of these for years but always thought I’d have to drive to Beaumont to try them, never knew they were available practically right under my nose.
Page 4 of the article lists where they’re available:
Sartin’s Seafood (Houston)
18023 Upper Bay Road
Sartin’s Seafood (Nederland)
3520 Nederland Avenue
Sartin’s Seafood (Beaumont)
12647 Highway 90
Floyd’s Cajun Seafood House (Webster)
20760 Gulf Freeway
Stingaree Restaurant (Crystal Beach)
1295 Stingaree Road
4302 Richmond Avenue
I’m going to try to get down to the one near NASA.
The current issue of Southern Living talks a bit about Sartin’s in Beaumont.
Oh Sartin’s, where they look at you with pity if ya get anything but the platter service! Love that place. I also like the Schooner in Nederland. When I was tight on $$ I’d go to the all you can eat at the Catfish Kitchen.
Cool!! Thanks! There’s gonna be a few crabs sacrifice themselves for my sake in the near future!
Here is a link for BBQ Crabs, but I like the TexJoy seafood seasoning, the steak seasoning is a local favorite, and of course Sartin’s is only a couple of miles from my house, the Beaumont location, they also have a place in Nederland.
Do you have a "recipe" for those BBQ crabs, Marsh? I ate them at Sartin’s when it was in Sabine Pass many years ago. (I was also told that Sartin’s "invented" them.) They were addictive. [:p]
After eating them at Sartin’s, I went home and tried deep-frying a bunch, then dusting them generously with cajun spices. They were good, but not like at the restaurant.
If you know of any tips, please pass them on.
BBQ Crabs SouthEast Texas Style
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