There’s nothing better than getting your loved ones together for an evening of crab pickin’ under the stars. The best part about a crab feast is that it isn’t just a meal — it’s an experience. Rather than just sitting down and mindlessly eating, picking crabs allows your guests to linger over a meal and have extended conversations, all while digging into one of the world’s greatest delicacies.

If you’ve never thrown a crab feast before, there are a few key things you’ll need to make your evening a success for your guests. Here are our top five tips for throwing the best crab feast ever.

Make sure you have enough crab legs

It’s impossible to know exactly how many pounds of crab legs you’ll need to satisfy your guests — there are too many variables at play. Since you don’t know how hungry everyone will be, it’s always best to err on the side of too much. Our general recommendation is between one and two pounds per person. One pound per person should suffice if you have guests with mild appetites and you serving sides with your crab legs. If you don’t plan on serving sides (hint: you should, but more on that next), then you may want to order as many as two pounds per person.

Serve your crab feast with supplementary sides

Even though we think crab is plenty delicious to stand on its own for a meal, side dishes are essential to creating a well-rounded, satisfying crab feast. Luckily, there are several great options to complement the crab leg eating process. Think corn on the cob, French fries, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw or pretty much anything that also goes well with melted butter. For inspiration, check out this post {link to sides blog when up}. In general, two extra sides in addition to the crab legs is best for creating a balanced meal. Plus, there’s always dessert if your guests also have a sweet tooth.

Stock up on the proper supplies

Make sure you have enough claw crackers, hammers and lobster forks for every guest to use so sharing doesn’t become an issue. It’s also best to think ahead for how to handle the inevitable mess. If you have an outdoor eating space, a picnic table covered in butcher paper with ample paper towels will do the trick. As an added special touch, you could offer your guests custom crab feast plastic bibs and individually wrapped wet wipes. Don’t be afraid to get creative with small details that can make a big difference.

Give a tutorial

It’s possible that not everyone in attendance has eaten crab legs before. Take some time to demonstrate the best way to crack open the legs and claws in order to get the most meat. You don’t want to risk any of your guests feeling unprepared to enjoy the experience.

Keep it light and casual

Remember: a crab feast is all about the experience. Do your best to relax and enjoy, even as you’re worried about hosting. And one final tip: try not to worry about the mess until afterwards.

Of course, the best crab feast starts with the best crab legs. Place your order today.

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