All of our Male crabs are graded into different weights, and sizes, except when sold as mixed males. Male crabs are graded by measuring from tip to tip, and checked for fullness. This is our grading guidelines,
Super Jumbos- 6 1/2 and up
#1 Males- 5 ¾ -6 1/2
#2 Males- 5- 5 ¾
Any size crab that has not filled its shell with meat. These crabs tend to look nice to the untrained eye because there are big ones mixed in. These are still a good deal because they are sold so much cheaper.
Females are not graded by weight. Sometimes they are heavy, sometimes they are light. Our regular females and our large females are graded by eye, and are not measured. The large ones are simply the larger of the ones that were caught that day. If you ask how they are running we always give an honest answer. If we tell you they are light you may want to upgrade to a #2 male that day. #2 males and #1 males are always heavy because they are graded.
All sales are first come first serve, we do not reserve crabs. We rarely run out, so you can usually pick them up whenever you want, so reservations are unnecessary.
Other than the legal size of a crab, I know of no laws that determine what a # 1 or #2 Male has to be. This opens a huge window for deception in the industry. The trick to buying smart is to be able to tell the quality of a live crab before you buy it.
A bushel of Light Males, and a bushel of top quality crabs weigh about the same. The Light Males have more water in them that makes them feel heavy. When you steam them the water runs out and then you can pick them up and tell. It is usually to late then because most places wont take them back, (unless you bought them from Mel's Crabs). Look in the bag or basket of crabs and pick the one that has the lightest color, squeeze the corner of the shell. If it has a hard corner it is a good crab. If the corner is soft it will be light. If you have a hard corner on the lightest color one usually the darker ones will be OK.
We give bushel discounts for half bushels. If you are going to buy more than a few dozen crabs it is usually a better deal to buy a half bushel and get the bulk discount.
If you buy crabs on sale you can usually get them for half price or less. The best sales are usually at the beginning of the week when crabs are selling slow. Remember that they can be reheated or eaten cold. Once they are steamed and refrigerated they are usually good for several days.
It is important to get your crabs home alive and heat will definitely kill your crabs quickly. Never put them in the trunk of your car on a hot day. On the average 90 degree day your trunk can reach 120 degrees. If you set your bag of crabs on the hot asphalt to open your car door, you may be exposing them to 120 degrees. On a hot day it is good to bring a cooler with a little bit of ice and let us pack them for you. In cool 54 degrees, and humid conditions crabs can live for days.