Rinse the live crabs with fresh water (use tongs).
Bring a gallon or two of clean water to a full roiling boil in a large pot or old washtub.
Add 1/4 c. rock salt or 1/2 c. regular table salt.
Add a package of crab boil seasoning. As soon as the boiling water releases the fragrance of the herbs and seasonings, use tongs to put the crabs into the boiling water.
Hold each one under for a second or two.
Immediately, you will see its olive green shell begin to turn fiery red. Continue adding crabs until the pot is full. Cook at a full boil for about 25 minutes. Lift the crabs out. Eat hot or iced down.
You can use the seasoned water again for a second batch. Some people prefer another method for preparing crab: Remove the claws with pliers as soon as each crab is caught, and eviscerate the crab by scraping out with a paring knife the small triangular area at the back of the bottom shell. Put the crab and the claws in a bucket of fresh water diluted with table salt (1/2 c. salt to 5 gallons of water). Keep crabs in the salty water until you cook them in boiling water.
From the November 1981 issue.