In Florida, stone crab are available for harvest between October 15th and May 15th.  Native to Florida’s Gulf coast, these crabs have the ability to regenerate their claws and limbs. These delicious claws are always in high demand and are widely regarded as one of best delicacies of Florida’s rich seafood offerings. By law, the claws cannot be sold raw, so they are cooked fresh daily by the catcher in boiling water for 7-10 minutes and which also prevents the meat from sticking to the shell, by cooking them quickly after the catch. They are then sorted into four sizes: medium, large, jumbo, and colossal.  2012 prices are $12 for medium and $19 for large in Florida, and roughly 1.5-2 times that that if you want 5 pounds shipped from Florida to another state. Fresh stone crab meat is so sweet and tender that many prefer it over all the other crab species and lobster.

  • Medium: 6-8 claws per pound
  • Large: 4-5 claws per pound
  • Jumbo: 3 claws per pound
  • Colossal: 1-2 claws per pound

This simple recipe serves 4-6.


  • 6 pounds, cooked stone crab claws
  • 4 cups, crushed ice
  • 8 lemon or lime wedges
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks), salted butter – melted
  • Joe’s Stone Crab Mustard Sauce (*Recipe below)


1. Crack the stone crab claws well. Pound them with a wide-headed mallet, lead pipe, or rolling pin, starting at the knuckle, working toward the claw. (I like to cover the claws with an old dish towel when cracking to keep bits of shell from flying all over the kitchen.) If you’d rather not crack the claws yourself, have the fishmonger do it.

2. Mound the ice on a large platter. Arrange the cracked stone crab claws on top. Garnish the platter with the lemon wedges.

3. Provide each guest with small dishes of melted butter and Mustard Sauce, plus a bowl for holding the empty shells. Dip the nuggets of crab in melted butter or mustard sauce. Or, for an even more luxurious taste treat, dip them first in butter, then in mustard sauce, and then pop them into your mouth!

The Famous “Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant” Mustard Sauce

  • 3 1/2 teaspoon dry English mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon A-1 Steak Sauce
  • 1/8 cup light cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Blend the mustard and mayonnaise. Beat for about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.

Yield: 1 cup