From the Shedders to Your Plate – Soft Shell Crabs on the Outer Banks!

Here’s a video that was put together with Chef Wes Stepp detailing the journey a soft shell crab makes from the shedder’s to the kitchen. And of course, once it’s in the kitchen, you have to cook it, right? Well, Chef Wes takes care of that too, with a recipe for soft shell crabs- French Market Style!

Who would think that a crab could be so delicious? And did you hear him talk about the vegetarian camera man? He’s the one who put the warning’s on the last video on how to clean a soft shell crab. He’s a bit squeamish.

But really, try that recipe out. Soft shell crabs are available fresh throughout the summer, and frozen year round. They are quite the local delicacy as well. No trip to the Outer Banks is complete without a soft shell crab or two.

And these crabs are all from our local waters, so your getting fresh local Outer Banks seafood every time you get one. They are caught in the sound by local crabbers, and stored in huge shedding operations like you saw in the video. These big white and well lit tanks are visible all over the Outer Banks, from Kitty Hawk to Wanchese, and they used to be a major source of income for many local families.

So come on over to the Red Sky Cafe, have a delicious soft shell crab sandwich, and feel good knowing your helping the local fishing trade!


How to Clean a Soft Shell Crab

Today Chef Wes Stepp is going to show you how to clean and prep a soft shelled crab. We might also mention, it’s a LIVE soft shelled crab, so for those who are squeamish, this may not be the video for you.

That wasn’t too bad, right? Soft shell crabs are a delicacy on the Outer Banks and are incredibly popular when they are in season. A fried soft shell crab sandwich is kind of like the local variant of a hamburger. And since the shell is soft, you can eat the whole thing.

Blue Crabs

Blue Crabs

Soft shells are available from May to September. They are blue crabs caught in the middle of the molting process. Folklore has it that the soft-shell season is traditionally marked with the first full moon in May. At that time, the blue crab begins its molting season to accommodate its summer growth.The actual shedding of the shell can take anywhere from one to three hours, after which it must be removed or the hardening process will continue, reducing the quality of the soft-shell crab.Crabbers monitor their crabs literally around the clock until they peel, at which time they are ready for the market.

When eaten, soft-shelled crabs can be battered and deep-fried, sauteed or sometimes grilled. Typically, the fried crab is served with a choice of sauces and lemon wedges.

If you haven’t had a soft shell crab, you are really missing out. Come by the Red Sky Cafe in Duck and let Chef Wes cook you one up, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

More Soft Shell Crab Recipes

When in season, Soft Shells are often in our menus. If you’re havent tried one yet, stop by the restaurant and let Chef Wes prepare a special dish for you, but if you want to try your hand at preparing soft shell crabs at home, take a look at the recipes below:

OBX Soft Shell Crab with Wanchese Green Tail Shrimp
Soft Shell Crab French Market Style

Hungry? Come visit us or book a chefs on call meal and we’ll take all these deliciousness to you.

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