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Crab Feast: Easy Outdoor Party Everyone Will Love

Looking for outdoor party entertaining ideas? I have an almost NO COOK option called a crab feast!

A crab feast is a fun almost no-cook option that will keep your guests talking for weeks about how much fun they had. Plus you don’t have to stand over a hot grill, so you can look fresh during your patio or porch party!

Think about hosting a crab feast this upcoming Labor Day weekend.

top of table looking down on crab feast with blue stock pot crabs beer and corn

Maryland Crab Feast Idea

When asked the question “Where are you from?”, I always have a hard time answering and usually land on Baltimore, MD. That’s because I moved around from place to place and now the longest I’ve lived anywhere is Charlotte, NC.

maryland blue crabs uncooked and cooked

However, the city where I have the most affinity is Baltimore because that is where I went to Middle and High School.  Those are my long time friends that I grew up with and love to keep in touch with on Facebook. They have been some of my biggest supporters of this blog – thanks peeps!

A HUGE industry in Maryland (because it is on the eastern seaboard) is blue crabs. NO ONE makes them like they do in Maryland. Living in NC they have a version, but my favorite is the Maryland Blue Crab steamed in Old Bay Seasoning!

It has its own spicy and salty goodness that can’t be beat. This seasoning is at the heart of making crabs.

Old Bay

The last time I had a crab feast (yes, this is what they are called) was when my son was still in my belly and that was 19 years ago! Literally, the night before I went into labor I had crabs and because I was 2 weeks early I credit the Old Bay.  Ha, ha and my son is a Cancer no less. 

Crabs are important in this little family! We decided a fun way to celebrate my son’s 19th birthday would be to have a crab feast party July 4th weekend. 

Where to Buy Maryland Crabs

After doing some searching, I found an old Maryland company that ships bushels of crabs 1 or 2 day air! The best part? The crabs are already seasoned and COOKED! Cameron’s Seafood did not disappoint! I ordered 3.5 dozen male crabs, which was WAY too much for 4 people.

Crabs arrived in a cooler packed in ice

If you order this many crabs it’s good for 6 people or leftovers the next day 🙂 They notified me of shipping, arrived on time, and were packed in a cooler with freezer packs.I put them straight into the refrigerator because they keep for a couple of days after they arrive.

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Outdoor Party Idea Crab Feast-Porch Daydreamer

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Crab Feast Patio Party

On to the good stuff – the party! If you’ve never had Maryland Blue Crabs, then I’ll link you to instructions on how to eat them.  I found a fun video from some guy named Tim that LOVES crabs!

He doesn’t use his mallet much, but that is how I crack open the claws. NEVER use it on the back shell.


The reason this is a great idea for a patio or outdoor party is because it can get messy! Your hands are covered in Old Bay and cracking crab claws open things go flying. 

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Steps to the Perfect Crab Feast Patio Party
  1. Put some water on to boil in a large stock pot for the corn.
  2. Wrap your patio table in butcher paper. Tape it down with painter’s tape. Luckily, my porch has an indoor/outdoor rug that can be hosed down 😉
  3. Have paper towels within arms reach to wipe off the Old Bay and butter!
  4. Set out pasta bowls or salad plates for discarded shells. Give everyone wood mallet.
  5. Heat the oven to 375ºF, put as many crabs as you can into the large stock pot, and heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Boil ears of corn for 10 minutes, while you are heating the crabs. 
  7. Cut ears of corn in half and place in dipping bowls. Attach corn holder on one end and pour melted butter over top.
  8. Pour the beer and get cracking!

round table with maryland crab feast, blue pot, fish bowls, mallets, blue stock pot

Think about using fun seafood styled plates to reinforce the theme. If you entertain over Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day crab feasts are an easy way to entertain with a red, white, and blue theme!

close up of crab claws

Know that this party is MESSY! That’s why it is important to wrap the table in butcher paper.  Clean-up is so easy because you just roll up all of the discarded shells and ears of corn into a ball and toss.  The Old Bay seasoning is layered on the crabs and builds up, the paper towels are an absolute necessity to keep handy.

close up of crabs in pot

When getting ready to serve the crabs, they can be left in the stock pot you heated them in or just dumped on the table wrapped in butcher paper. If you have a big crowd and a large table, that would be best.

For a smaller group, you can do as I showed and keep them contained in the pot. Not to worry the crabs won’t crawl off 😉

close up of corn in a dish and blue stock pot, beer at a crab feast on patio

Using dipping or small bowls for half ears of corn worked out so well at my last crab feast. You melt a little butter and drizzle it over the corn. Serve additional ears that then can be rolled in the same butter.

Remember I said your hands are MESSY! This just makes it easier for everyone.

down shot of crab with mallet beer and corn

A beer, corn, mallet and a crab nothing looks more fun or delicious! The truly fun part of a crab feast is it gets people talking. People like sharing their best crab cracking techniques to get that delicious crab meat out of the shell or show someone else who doesn’t know exactly what to do.

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Clean Up

After your guests have finished eating, clean up is EASY (other than your hands).  Then you can get back to the party. Pull everything off the butcher paper you don’t want to end up in the trash and leave the discarded shells and ears of corn. Roll up the butcher paper into one big bundle and toss into a large trash bag. Put in your trash bin!

Done, with very few dishes to wash. Nice. Cheers to a fun-filled Maryland styled crab feast patio party! Let me know if you try it 🙂

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. I’m pinning this to my ‘Party Ideas’ board. Love the idea- we newbies here in the Midwest will have a bit of a learning curve on the crab-eating technique, though!

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