In many households across the country, a Christmas feast isn't complete without fresh seafood.
How To Catch And Cook Mud Crabs For Christmas
But many north Queensland locals are adept at catching their own.
To do this, they read the tides, watch the weather and even scout satellite maps for the best new places to lay down their pots.
But often, they rely on intel handed down by generations of crabbers on the perfect spots.
To catch a crab, most use pots set up with a rope and float marked with their name and address.
David Caraccioli from the Mackay Fish Market calls mud crabs the 'Lobsters of the north.'
"We fly them live to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, China and Singapore," he said.
Not For First Dates
"We've always had crabs [in stock] for Christmas but last year we ran out about 3PM Christmas Eve.
"Christmas week the tides are always wrong, [so] the fisherman don't go [and] so supply can be down."
Not For First Dates
Craig Fitzgerald is a chef at an award-winning seafood restaurant in Mackay.
He said although the mud crab is a crowd favourite when in its near-natural form, his family's one pot wonder "jazzes it up" if you eat seafood a lot.
– 2 mud crabs
– 2 lemons
– 1 white onion
– Half a bunch of shallots
– 2 to 3 tbl garlic
– 600ml cream
– 1 bottle of beer
Preparing the crab
If the mud crabs are live, put them into an ice slurry for about 30 minutes to sedate them
Rip the V-shaped flap from the crab's belly, then pull the shell off
Remove and discard the organs, including gills, and juices
Remove the crabs mandibles (part of the crab's mouth) and slice the crab in half between them
Quarter the crab by cutting between the leg nearest the claw and the remaining legs
Crack the claws with the back of a knife
Dice the onion, shallots and garlic
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot
Cook onion, shallots and garlic for about three minutes or until some colour starts to show
Add the juice of one lemon
Place crab pieces in the pot
Pour in the beer and increase temperature to high
Pour in cream. Using tongs, gently mix contents tegether
Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the crab pieces
Serve hot or cold, garnished with remaining lemon pieces
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