They've got the crabs

They've got the crabs

After hanging out for dinner at Sartin’s Seafood Nederland for a few hours, we made friends with a lovely couple of characters named Jimmy and Snook several times over.

At first they were a little daunting to look at; well dressed, smelling wonderful and backed by a mountainous army of friends, we didn’t really know how to approach them. But finally, we got to know Jimmy and Snook and we will never forget them — they were delicious.

We’re talkin’ about a couple of barbecue crabs.

“The male crab is called the ‘jimmy’ and the female crab is called the ‘snook,’” explained Kim Tucker, owner of Sartin’s Seafood Nederland, who will gladly show you how to tell whether a crab you’ve got is a male or a female. “For some, it’s a tradition to come bring the family in and eat crabs; people have been eating them all their lives, and they want to bring their families in to teach their kids how to eat them. Anyone new who comes to town, they want to bring them in to try it because it’s just a fun thing to do.”

Eating barbecue crabs is very hands-on and messy but well worth the work. Once your server delivers your first round of barbecue crabs, you’ll have plenty to get started with — and after you’re a few crabs in, you’ll get the hang of it.

“The first thing to do with the crab is break it in half. Start breaking it in every little segment; that’s where all your meat is going to be,” advised Tucker, who’s been eating crabs since she first started working at Sartin’s when she was 17 years old.

“That’s one thing we’re really famous for is the barbecue crabs. People come from all over to get ’em. They long for the taste; they crave it,” Tucker laughed, though she said she’s seen folks camp out in the restaurant for hours at a time to eat all they can possibly eat.

“Crab meat inside a barbecue crab is unlike anything else; you really have to try it if you haven’t before. It’s got a unique taste —it’s got a sweeter taste to it, and it’s just white, plump, firm, pure crab meat.”

The crabs barbecued and prepared at Sartin’s are none other than blue crabs, direct from the Gulf of Mexico, and after the crab is deep fried in a delicious seasoning, the shell seems to soften up just enough to break easily. The white meat inside is juicy, perfect, and pretty abundant — and you don’t even need any special tools.

$31.99 gets you all you can eat barbecue crabs, along with all you can eat fried shrimp, catfish, boudain balls and crab balls, plus the salad bar.

Or for $26.99, get started with the all you can eat shrimp and crab special, with hush puppies, french fries and salad bar included.

And when you make your way down to Sartin’s in Nederland, be sure and ask your server to introduce you to Jimmy and Snook — they’ll show you which is which. And tell them we said hello.