How Much Stone Crab Do You Need To Feed A Group?

Deciding on quantities of food can be a challenge, especially if it's for a group. And when the featured dish is stone crab, coming in at $30–$60 per pound, you absolutely want to make sure you've nailed the quantity. You don't want people leaving hungry, but you also don't want to waste a fortune on food that won't be eaten. It's pretty easy to estimate how much ground beef you need for burgers, but stone crabs are a little more difficult to assess accurately.

So maybe you're thinking why not avoid the trouble? Why serve stone crabs at all? Because they're delicious and sustainable! Almost all stone crab is harvested in Florida, where the season runs from October 15 through mid-May, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Fishermen catch the crabs with baited traps, usually remove one or both of the crab claws, and then return the crabs to the water where they regrow the missing limbs. Because the crabs aren't killed when their claws are harvested, populations remain healthy, and there's more delicious stone crab to be enjoyed.

How to estimate your stone crab needs

Stone crab claws are typically sold by the pound, and they're priced according to their size category. Key Largo Fisheries, for example, tell their customers to expect six to seven claws per pound of medium stone crab. A pound of the large crab will have roughly four to five claws per pound. Jumbo stone crab has three claws per pound, while colossal has one to two. Mega colossal claws typically weigh about a pound apiece.

Your math exercise isn't over, though, since one pound of crab claws doesn't contain one pound of crab meat. The last part of the equation is that 2.5 pounds of crab claws yield about 1 pound of crab meat, and most people will eat about a pound of crab meat, according to the FDACS. However, if you're serving stone crab for dinner or have some real crab lovers at your party, you might want to plan for more.  

To avoid running short, it's best to plan for 1.5 pounds of crab meat per person, which means you need 3.75 of pounds of crab claws per person. For a party of six, you'd need roughly 22.5 pounds of stone crab claws. Don't forget the melted butter and fresh lemon wedges!