How to Throw a Really Cool Crab Boil

by Dinner Hero on February 27, 2013

how to throw a crab boil

It’s a tradition.  Every year for Marc’s birthday, this is what’s on the table.  And I mean, on-the-table.  Notice what’s missing?  Plates, utensils, napkins. You know – the traditional items we use for table settings to aide us in eating.

crab boil numbered items

I decided this year I would make notes on how much food to buy, how much we ate, and if there were any leftovers.  This meal is not cheap, so you don’t want to cook too much as these do not make good leftovers.  Next year, I’ll be so glad I wrote this down and won’t have to go through the guessing process of how much to buy!

Crab boil instructions


Kid’s Table!  They kept running out of crab and coming to our table and trying to sneak off with more legs.

I used disposable tablecloths from the Dollar Store to cover the tables.  When the meal is over, just bundle up the tablecloth and put it all in the trash!  Also – make sure you have enough wet washcloths for each person to use as their napkin!


Marc’s parents were here to help celebrate.  Without their help, there’s no way I could have gotten everything prepared in time!  We shipped the kids off to school and then went to Costco, Sam’s and even an emergency trip to HEB for a few things we forgot!

Marc’s dad made the clarified butter.  Watch this video for a quick how-to lesson on making it.  The last crab boil we had I didn’t think I needed to make clarified butter.  I thought that simply melting the butter would be just fine.  It wasn’t.  After a little while, the butter starts to coagulate, which doesn’t look pretty and also doesn’t work as a dipping sauce for your crab.  Live and learn.  And then make clarified butter.

mike & jenn

Mike and Jenn.  Besides being great friends, they are our official food testers.  They claim to be professionals at it.

birthday cake collage

Marc’s birthday cake request was a chocolate cake with chocolate icing – from a cake mix.  It pained me not to make a more homemade and artful cake, but for his special day, I honored his request.  Right along with trick candles!

group picture

And here’s the whole crazy group – after stuffing ourselves silly with crab, shrimp, and more!

crab boil before and after

It doesn’t take long to go from “Before” to “After”.  Yes, this meal takes longer to prepare than your average dinner.  That’s why we reserve it for special occasions.  With a solid game plan for how to execute it (along with some great helpers!) it went off without a hitch!

Here are a few recipes from the birthday crab boil.

Oven Roasted Garlic

Oven Roasted Garlic
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 


  • 3 whole garlic heads (bulbs)
  • extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Peel away the outer layers of skin of the garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact; leave garlic bulb whole. Using a sharp knife, slice ½-inch off of the pointed end of the garlic bulbs, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
  3. Put the garlic head in a small ovenproof dish or pan. Pour ½ teaspoon olive oil over the top of each bulb and let it sink in between the cloves. Wait 2 minutes and then repeat with another ½ teaspoon olive oil over each garlic bulb.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until cloves are browned at the exposed end and soft throughout. Remove from oven.
  5. Allow the roasted garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife to cut the skin slightly around each clove. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
  6. Garlic may be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days. To puree, crush garlic cloves with the flat of a knife.

Oven Baked Shrimp

4 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Peel and devein the shrimp.
2. Lay the shrimp in a single layer in a large baking dish (you may need more than one dish if you are using a lot of shrimp). Cut a stick of butter into small pats. Space the pats of butter among the shrimp. Spread around lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast shrimp in a 425° oven for 10 minutes until pink and firm.

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