What Sets Maryland Crab Cakes Apart From Regular Ones

You can find crab cakes on restaurant menus and in grocery stores basically anywhere. The tasty, fresh crab meat dish is delicious on its own as an appetizer or on a sandwich, but no matter how you eat it, there are some states that will claim their version is supreme. For example, Maryland crab cakes are known to be far superior compared to regular ones found in other states. There are many reasons why these crab cakes have a unique taste, but one major difference that most Marylanders can agree on is their use of Maryland blue crabs.

These blue crabs are found off the Maryland coast, specifically in the Chesapeake Bay. The bay's brackish water allows this species to thrive, where they are harvested by locals and professionals with pots and nets. In case you haven't tasted them, blue crabs have a milder, sweeter flavor compared to other varieties like King and Dungeness, thanks to the environment where they live. They also have a firmer texture and buttery notes after they're cooked, that's similar to lobster meat.

The differences in Maryland crab cakes

There are many other reasons why Maryland crab cakes stand out from the rest. For starters, they typically use more meat and less other filling compared to regular crab cakes. Of course, every recipe is different, but Maryland's versions really allow the crab meat to shine and only use enough fillers to hold the cakes together. Most recipes call for lump crab meat, which promises large pieces in each bite. The only other ingredients are usually eggs and breadcrumbs for binders, plus some flavor from Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise, and seasonings like Old Bay. In fact, some credit Old Bay seasoning to be part of the reason these cakes stand apart from the rest, because it originated in Baltimore, Maryland. 

In comparison, regular crab cakes are usually loaded with vegetables like potato, bell pepper, onion, and celery. You'll also find fresh herbs such as parsley, and other seasonings like garlic powder, neither of which are usually found in the Maryland version. Another key difference is many regular crab cakes have smaller chunks or shreds of meat, and there will be less of it to allow room for the other ingredients. For serving, both versions are typically served with tartar or cocktail sauce plus fresh lemon wedges.