The Hungry Cat’s Steamed Blue Crabs

Chef David Lentz shares his recipe for the spice-coated critters

A crab feed is how you mark the summer season in Maryland. Baltimore-native David Lentz remembers it well, and for the last decade he’s revived the warm weather ritual once a year at his Hollywood restaurant, The Hungry Cat. This Sunday marks the tenth annual Hungry Cat Crab Fest, where Lentz and his team steam buckets upon buckets of live crabs and work the sweet meat into a five-course menu of crustacean craziness. Yes, this year’s smorgasbord includes a soft-shell crab po’boy and Mexican street corn, but the main attraction is the spiced and steamed Maryland blue crabs, served—as tradition dictates—on newspaper with a wooden mallet and nothing else. In case you prefer getting messy in your own home, Letnz has shared his super simple recipe, which includes the restaurant’s signature Maryland Seafood Spice. Now get crackin’. (Click here for more information on Crabfest 10).

The Hungry Cat Maryland Steamed Crabs
(Serves 6-8)


  • 8 cups water
  • 4 cups beer
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups Hungry Cat Maryland Seafood Maryland spice (or substitute Old Bay Seasoning)
  • 1 ½ cups kosher salt
  • ½ cup dry mustard
  • ¼ cup fresh cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup chili de arbol
  • 48 live blue crabs
  • 6 large onions (sliced)
  • 3 heads garlic, cut in half


  1. In stock pot sweat onions and garlic.
  2. Add spices and vinegar and cook over high heat until reduced by half.
  3. Add water and beer; reduce by half again.
  4. Add crabs and cook for 35 minutes, moving crabs around with long tongs, or until crabs are bright red.
  5. Remove and serve.

*Hungry Cat Maryland Seafood proprietary seasoning is available at all restaurant locations for $5 bottle

Chef David Lentz
The Hungry Cat
©2014 Hungry Cat, 1535 Vine St., Hollywood, 323-462-2155