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Smoked Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches with Caper Tartar Sauce

Crab shell sandwich

These crab sandwiches are lightly breaded and topped with a delicious tartar sauce. The recipe goes well with sauvignon blanc and appears in this full episode of “Un-Wined,” which airs Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. on VPM PBS.

Watch past seasons and current episodes on the PBS appor PBS website. Check the broadcast schedule for local listings. To discover more recipes seen on “Un-Wine’d," please click here.

What You’ll Need:

  • ¼ c. peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 Soft Shell Crabs
  • ½ c. cornmeal
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 sandwich buns
  • Tomato Slices
  • Lettuce Leaves
  • Large frying pan
  • Tabletop smoking gun

Caper Tartar Sauce:

  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. minced red onion or scallions
  • 1 tbsp. dill pickle relish
  • 1 tsp. Dill pickle relish juice
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced capers
  • 1 tsp. caper juice
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced chives
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Step 1: Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan.

Step 2: Clean the crabs. To clean, gently cut off the area where the eyes are located and remove the gills of the crab from the underbelly region.

Step 3: Mix the cornmeal and flour together on a plate and then dredge the crabs on both sides through the mixture.

Step 4: Place the crabs in hot oil. Fry for approximately 4 minutes per side. Because there is a lot of moisture in the crab, they will likely spatter as the moisture is released from the crab.

Step 5: Drain on paper towels then place the crabs on a plate covered with plastic wrap.

Step 6: Using a tabletop smoking gun, smoke the crabs according to the manufacturer’s directions. Smoke for 2 minutes.

Step 7: In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for the Caper Tartar Sauce.

Step 8: Then build the sandwich with the fried crab, tomato, lettuce and the Caper Tartar Sauce. Refrigerate leftovers.

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