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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Host a Backyard Crab Boil Party




Here in the great state of Maryland, summer is NOT summer unless there are delicious, steamed and seasoned blue crabs on the table AT LEAST once a week!  If you're a crab lover or of seafood in general, why not call up your best group of friends and host a summer crab boil right in your backyard.

PARTY ELEMENTS THAT INSPIRE: 

  • Utensil Cart
  • Nautical Inspired Napkins and decor
  • Chalk Paint Tray for Crab Dipping station
  • Twine wrapped Mason jars



















THEME
Crab boils are great because the menu is simple, and while the whole eating experience is quite messy, the cleanup is effortless.  My family absolutely eats crabs on a weekly basis during the summer....I was seriously not kidding.  I personally am not a fan.  I grew up in Connecticut and I prefer my crustaceans a little on the Lobstah side so, I don't really get into the business of cracking open crabs.  So, I'll usually toss in a few shrimp or snow crab legs to the mix to satisfy my palette. Still, there's a lot of fun to be had by gathering together friends and family and enjoying a tasty seafood spread.  Here are my tips on organizing a festive summer crab boil.



DECOR

This party is all about the food.  So, there is really no need to go all out with decor.  Small nautical touches here and there, will add the perfect details you need to make this affair festive. I worked with Oriental Trading Company to add just a few decorative touches around the yard. Set up your party space in advance of cooking your food.  Hang a simple Nautical fabric pennant banner along a plain wall or structure in your yard for a pop of color.  A fun sign, fish netting, sea shells, and small lanterns can add a bit of whimsy and character to the overall decor.



FOOD

Order your fresh, in-season crabs and cook within a few hours of purchase.  If you aren't sure how to steam them your own, you can purchase them steamed and seasoned from your local seafood purveyor.

Crabs on their own are not very filling, so you may want to toss in a few small potatoes, smoked kielbasa, shrimp and corn on the cob - we cut our corn into thirds and quarters....it's a great way to stretch the meal.  Cooking everything is pretty much a one pot deal, which is why it's such a great way to feed your guests.

Start by filling a large stock pot with enough water to cover your potatoes and sausage.  Once cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Alternately, you can cook the potatoes and sausage separately and pour out onto the table along with the crab, corn and shrimp.  Sprinkle a bit of crab seasoning over the entire spread for additional flavor. The crabs and corn should be cooked in the same huge pot of water along with crab seasoning, like Old Bay (make sure to bring your water back to a boil, if needed).  The crabs take about 15 minutes to cook through and will be done when they turn bright red.  You can add the shrimp during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, they're done when they've turned bright pink and opaque.


TABLESCAPE
Eating crabs are plain out messy....that's the fun of it (so, I'm told).  Roll out a disposable plastic table cover under some kraft paper (brown packaging paper works well, also) or newspaper on a long table.   You will need something to protect your table from the crab juices and spices.

Keep plenty of napkins or wet wipes on hand.  If you like the feel of cloth napkins, these navy anchor print nautical napkins from Oriental Trading are a perfect addition to your table setting.  I rolled ours up and placed them at the table in large tin buckets with paper napkins, a wooden mallet and fork.  The shells from the crabs can be placed in the buckets.  You can also place shells into large bowls to leave room for eating.  Any extra napkins or utensils you have can be placed on a separate table or cart out of the way of your main table.

Place a painted wooden tray out on your table to present different dips or sauces you like, to go with your crabs.  At home, we make a no fuss dip out a cup of ranch dressing, a cup of sour cream, a squeeze of half a lemon and about a tbsp of Old Bay Seasoning....stirred and blended to taste....super simple.  You can also put out melted butter with a bit of garlic, extra crab seasoning and fresh cut lemons.

Tip: The bugs love when food is out....be sure to place Citronella candles and Oscillating fans around the perimeter of your party space to keep insects at bay.



BEVERAGES

Speaking of lemons, the easiest beverage to enjoy with this meal is fresh squeezed lemonade.  Serve the lemonade in tall wide mouthed mason jars wrapped with a bit of twine.  The twine helps guests grip the glasses easier, as their hands will most likely be pretty messy from eating.  My husband, who I consider easily one of the most genius people I know, used a glass baking dish as a tray to hold the mason jars.   Keep extra lemonade at the ready in a glass pitcher or dispenser for guests to go back for refills.  If you're looking for a delicious lemonade recipe, you may want to try my Watermelon cucumber Boardwalk Lemonade.



FAVORS
I never like to send guests home empty handed and always love to have small favors as guests leave.  Crab shaped lollipops are a fun way to say thank you for sharing in all the great eats, good times and laughter.


Don't let your summer end without putting some of these fun party ideas into action.  A crab boil is the perfect and practically effortless way to entertain.  So, gather those closest to you around the table to enjoy good fun and company.  I hope you were inspired today to create a fun food-filled bash for your seafood loving pals.





LET'S GET SOCIAL!
Have you used any ideas from this party or others from our posts?  Have any questions on how to plan or setup a backyard soiree?  I'd love to hear from you!!!
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and tag me when share your best party moments using any of my party ideas!



(I was provided with free products from Oriental Trading Company for this post. The reviews of the products are solely my own honest opinion and may not reflect the views of others.)

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