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What is a Crab Cracker?

By Janis Adams
Updated May 16, 2024
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Similar to a nutcracker in shape and purpose, a crab cracker is used to crack the tough shells of crabs, lobsters, and any other edible crustaceans. Crab crackers are also referred to as lobster crackers. These seafood utensils have an easy grip handle and a wide opening so that when the jaws of the utensil break open the shell the tender meat housed within is not damaged.

The crab cracker is an artlessly designed tool with two mirrored pieces connected by a hinge. The two mirrored pieces have a handle on one end and a grabber with ridged grips on the other end to hold the shell in place while cracking it. The hinge joins the two pieces roughly at mid point.

While the crab cracker does prove a particularly innovative design concept, it is a handy device. Although it is primarily used to facilitate the easiest retrieval of meat from a crustacean's shell, it also saves the hands of the person using it. The shells of edible seafood can often leave a person's hands cut and bleeding. Using a tool such as the crab cracker can save much pain and discomfort.

Made of aluminum or stainless steel, often these utensils are enameled or coated, making them rust retardant. There are also those made of heavy-duty durable plastic. Both those made of metal and those crab crackers made of plastic often have a specially made, easy-grip handle facilitating a non-slip surface so that wet hands will not loose their grip. The cracker will often have teeth on the inside of the utensil to help grip the claw or legs of the crustacean.

Along with crab crackers, seafood eating utensils include lobster or crab forks, which are small two-pronged forks used for gently extracting the meat from the shell. Crab or lobster picks, small spear-like utensils, are used to skewer the tender meat and lift it from the shell. Sea scissors or lobster shears are used to cut the thinner parts of the shell. Instead of cracking the shell, the shears allow a straighter, uniform cut.

Although the crab cracker has a basic and simplistic design premise, many suppliers of the utensil choose to make the tool a bit more visually interesting. Some suppliers employ a design similar to a lobster's claws as the handles. Many crab crackers are manufactured in the traditional red commonly associated with lobsters and dining on seafood.

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