Where to Buy Stone Crab Claws and Meat – A Guide to Sourcing This Delicacy

With their sublime sweetness and meaty texture, stone crab claws are one of the great delicacies of the seafood world. But finding high-quality, fresh stone crab can be a challenge depending on where you live This guide covers the best sources to buy stone crab claws, bodies, and meat online or in person.

What are Stone Crabs?

Stone crabs are a crab species found in the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Only the claws are eaten, as the body meat is not highly regarded Fishermen remove one claw and return the crab to the ocean where the claw regrows over time. The crabs are not harmed in the process. The claws are cooked, chilled, and sold fresh or frozen.

Stone crabs have a firm, succulent meat that is considered by many to be the finest of all crabs The large, reusable claws command premium prices. Many restaurants serve them seasonally when fresh supplies are available.

Stone Crab Seasonality

The harvest and sale of stone crabs revolves around a distinct seasonal fishery. The season occurs in the fall and winter months:

  • Florida – Oct 15 to May 15
  • Gulf Coast – Oct 15 to May 15
  • South Carolina – Oct 15 to May 15

The claws are highly perishable and almost all of the yearly catch is sold live during the short season. Very limited quantities are frozen for off-season sales.

Buying Fresh Stone Crab Claws In Season

Getting fresh stone crabs direct from local fishermen can yield some of the best quality and value. Here are some tips for buying fresh claws in stone crab season:

  • Check local seafood markets, docks, and fishermen’s co-ops, especially in Florida and Gulf areas. Ask when their crab shipments arrive.

  • Be present right when fresh catches are unloaded if possible. Pick lively crabs still moving their claws.

  • Choose large, heavy claws filled with meat. Light or thin claws will be disappointing.

  • Make sure the shell is not cracked or leaking. It should feel cold and firm.

  • Buy only enough for 1-2 days max. Keep chilled until cooking and eating.

  • Have claws cracked before travel if buying off the docks. This prevents spoilage.

  • Expect to pay $15-30/lb for fresh claws depending on size.

Buying right off the boat means the freshest claws for seasonal stone crab feasts.

Ordering Fresh Claws Online In Season

For those not located near stone crab fisheries, ordering fresh claws online is an option during crab season:

  • Check reputable seafood suppliers and fishermen co-ops in Florida and Gulf states. Many now offer overnight shipping.

  • Order early in the season before supplies dwindle or prices climb.

  • Choose overnight delivery and avoid ordering over weekends/holidays.

  • Have claws shipped pre-cracked to prevent spoiling.

  • Expect to pay $30-60/lb including overnight shipping.

Order early to get the pick of the catch before seasonal supplies run low.

Buying Stone Crab Claws and Meat Off-Season

Fresh stone crab becomes very hard to source outside peak crab season. But frozen claws and meat provide an off-season alternative:

  • Check local high-end grocers and seafood markets for frozen claws, usually from last season’s catch.

  • Order frozen claws and lump crab meat from online seafood suppliers and fisheries.

  • Visit specialty grocers like Whole Foods that carry frozen claws and meat seasonally.

  • Expect to pay $12-15 for 6-8 oz frozen claws, and $15-25/lb for frozen meat.

  • Thaw claws gently under refrigeration to preserve texture and flavor.

While not as sweet as fresh, frozen stone crab can still make a memorable meal.

Eating Stone Crab at Restaurants

Trying stone crab at restaurants in season is a memorable experience. Here are some tips:

  • In Florida, make reservations at high-end seafood restaurants in late October before market prices rise.

  • Look for claw sizes on menus, usually medium, large, jumbo or colossal. Bigger is pricier but offers a better meal.

  • Order them chilled with mustard sauce or sautéed in garlic butter.

  • Expect to pay $40-60 for an appetizer or entree with claws.

Skip cooking and let the experts serve you piping fresh stone crab claws at the peak of season.

So for stone crab claw connoisseurs, follow these tips to find fresh claws and meat in season or off-season. Let us know your favorite stone crab sources and recipes!

where to buy stone crab

Choose Your Stone Crab Claw Size

Learn how the stone crab shipping process works from start to finish. Get stone crab shipped anywhere in the USA overnight.

We include a mallet for stone crab claw cracking.

The free branded mallet that comes with every order makes it easy to open your fresh, tasty stone crab claws.

This rock maple hardwood mallet measures 2. 5″W x 8″L and will make cracking those yummy seafood delicacies an effortless task.

Why Stone Crab Claws Are So Expensive | So Expensive

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