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Joe's Crab Shack BBQ Crab Copycat Recipe
Joe's Crab Shack BBQ Crab
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Seasoning
Calories: 430
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.8 (10 reviews)
My waitress said that I'd be tempted to lick the shells clean from my order of "BBQ Style" Dungeness crab at Joe's Crab Shack. She was right. Even though it's called "BBQ" on the menu, there's no grilling involved here. Instead, a super flavorful seasoning paste is brushed on steamed crab of your choice just before it's served to your table. With that bit of knowledge under my belt, the only thing I had to figure out was how to clone that seasoning. When I analyzed a sample of the dark red paste I first noticed the distinctive flavor of Old Bay. That's a good start. After adding a lot of salt to the blend along with paprika for color I was definitely heading in the right direction. But the taste was missing something until I invited a little MSG to the dance. You'll find it in the spice aisle of your supermarket under the brand-name Accent. After just a bit of sugar and a touch of cayenne pepper for extra kick, I had a dry rub that was a dead ringer for the original blend. Now it was just a matter of adding some vegetable oil to the seasoning to create a paste that could be brushed on Dungeness crab, snow crab, or king crab legs after the crab is fully steamed. Next time you have a crab cookout, give this one a try and you too will serve crab that's "shell lickin' good."

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

5 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
Crab and shrimp addict!
Submitted on: 12/30/16
This is an excellent recipe when you are unable to make it to Joe's. I lessened the salt to 3 tsp and added in a teaspoon of garlic salt and a teaspoon of liquid smoke. The liquid smoke gave it that bbq element that was missing.
One Tweek
Crab Queen  
Submitted on: 03/05/16
After reading the recipe and my family really wanting Joe's Crab Shack Crabs, I remembered that I had a seasoning in my cabinet that would add the smokey, BBQ flavor that everyone has mentioned is missing. I omitted the paprika, and the salt that the recipe calls for and I used Weber Kansas City Style BBQ Seasoning in its place and the flavor was amazing. The recipe tastes just like Joe's! Do yourself a favor and try it, you will love it!
Ok recipe
Diane Smith  
Submitted on: 08/25/15
I love the bbq seasoning at Joe's Crab Shack and was hoping to find out how to make it at home. I tried this recipe today on some snow crab legs. It was good however not at all like the original delicious seasoning from Joe's. This does not have the bbq sauce savory flavor as Joe's. The Old Bay is too overpowering and this version is also too salty for my taste. Joe's version tastes bbq saucy and also doesn't have Old Bay taste to it.
But youcan also get MSG
Submitted on: 02/19/15
I use MSG in a number of recipes. Accent is quite a bit pricier than MSG that can be found in most Asian Groceries for much less.
This one is good
Lester Dykeman  
Submitted on: 10/11/14
This is a very very good recipe. One I would Recommend.
I ate the shells !
Submitted on: 09/19/13
WOW ! Damn good and easy to make. At a SeaFest BBQ I tried this recipe out and got raves on the crab. Fresh here in Oregon a few miles from the coast. We had oysters in the shell also. So, why not with melted butter in place of the oil. It worked with our oysters off the grill and and added a BAM to them along with thumbs up. Great recipe,Todd.
I agree with Brian!
Dave Hamilton  
Submitted on: 09/19/13
Instead of oil use butter!
Julia Pierce  
Submitted on: 09/05/07
This is Fantastic! I left out the Accent and added in a couple of teaspoons of powdered sugar instead. In a side by side taste taste it was almost spot on with the original. The original just has a bit more barbeque taste to it.
Brian Richardson  
Submitted on: 09/14/06
Another great recipe! Leave the oil out for a seasoning better than Old Bay. It's even better with butter!
Nancy Gipson  
Submitted on: 08/30/06
This was easy to make, kept at room temperature, and was great, even just a touch with imitation crab right out of the fridge....a great snack. I had to make more when the first batch ran out....just vary how much you touch the sauce with the crab as to how much you want....so easy, and with ingredients already on hand...a nice flavor addition to crab. I will keep making this. Thank you, Todd.