Making The Ultimate Williamsburg Crabcake
Making a crabcake in Williamsburg, or anywhere in Hampton Roads is an artform. I do not mean that figuratively or jokingly. As a local you learn quickly what is considered a real crab cake or an imposter. In Williamsburg, a crab cake is not a code word for a dish that is flavored to smell like crab or just taste LIKE crab. It is definitely not meant to represent a dish where small pieces of non lump meat are being placed in some goo like paste or filler. That is not a crab cake. That is a crab flavored patty.
Where Is The Crab?
It is ironic but the main ingredient missing from most crab cakes is…crab. By crab I mean lump meat crab. This is chunks of tender sweet crab meat that will be seasoned and pressed together to make a patty. As far as what crab to use I will say that traditional Maryland crab cakes come from blue or backfin crabs. If you can, try and use these. If not there are of course other varieties of crab. You may not have a choice. Just make sure it is REAL crab
Here is a quick rundown of crab cake preparation basics. This includes, the seasoning, the filler, and of course, cooking the crabcake.
By seasoning this can be anything that goes on the crispy brown outside of the crabcake to flavor boosters in the crab. The key is to not overseason. The taste of fresh Chesapeake Bay crab should be the dominate flavor coming through.
This is an ugly word. By filler I mean the bare minimum to hold those chunks of crabmeat together. Filler is not meant to dominate the crab cake.
Pan Fried or Broiled
Then the lump meat sensation is fried or broiled to give the outside a crispy taste.
Crab Pitfalls and Fails
This is the shame section of this article. These are all the ways good crabcakes go bad or how things that really aren’t crabcakes get passed off as authentic. I must warn you, the many violations of crabcakery are shocking, so read with caution.
Imitation crab meat
Please don’t ever use imitation crab meat. A crab cake depends on the taste and texture of authentic crab.
No Reverse Crab Caking
What is reverse “crabcaking”? This is when you create some other dish and dabble it with crabmeat. You then pass it off as a different type of crabcake. Not acceptable. To be a crabcake you have to have crab in a patty shape of some sort. Just my opinion. Whether you are visiting Williamsburg or not.
Old bay is a seasoning not a coverup for crummy cakes. Also too much sauce is an indicator that the crab cake isn’t flavorful enough. The point of a crab cake is crabbbbbbbbb!!!!.
I shouldn’t even have to say this one but a real crab cake has got to be ultra fresh. Packaged frozen crab is going to taste flat compared to fresh prepared crustacean.
I saved the worst one for last. I call this the filler nightmare. It is a crab cake that is 90% bread crumbs,parsley, and seasoning. It has a few bits of real crab in it but it is not the real thing. It is like a caricature of a crab cake.
Questionable Crab “Cake Creativity”
Look I have nothing against creativity. Especially when it is with food. But I am talking about a very specific dish here. Here are some of the things I have seen mixed into or on the crab cake which are going to hurt the flavor
- Runny egg
- Red Chili
- Lime Sauce
Now Let Us Get To The REAL Williamsburg Crab Cakes
Come enjoy real crab cakes at Fireside Chophouse. Even better, pair the crab cakes with our signature steaks for an incredible taste explosion.
Other Fresh Williamsburg Seafood
We also offer a number of other fresh seafood dishes like:
Here is the link to our menu
See you there