Whole Fish

Gulf Seafood + Southern Food

Now, this ain’t no shit! About two and a half years ago, in February, I was down at our bay shack in Carancahua Bay, Texas. A good friend of mine, Brendon Treanor (who is also a chef), was getting married, so a group of us guys hauled down to the bay for a couple of days of feasting and fishing. The first order of business whenever I get down to the bay is to bait and put out the crab traps. Ever since I was a kid, the thought of BBQ Blue Crab always got my motor running.


That evening, after we got off the water, I pulled the traps and there they were -- mad as hell and tasty to boot -- along with the Red’s in the cooler, it would be Redfish on the Half-Shell and BBQ Crab tonight!

BBQ Crab

Morning brought an abrupt awakening by the Wild Turkey’s call, hung-over and hungry. I rummaged through the leftovers in the fridge -- that beautiful BBQ crab was now going to become breakfast. Everyone got to work: C. Busker pulled out the blender, a little OJ and vodka; Micheal Watts was chopping it up with chorizo and eggs on the stove; Treanor and I tackled the crabs. With a pair of sharp scissors, a couple of frozen screwdrivers and Willie in the background, this is what was born that morning:

Jumbo Lump Crab Lollipop

Jumbo Lump is by far the most sought-after part of the Blue crab and, at $20 a pound, it beats out almost any other protein in cost. The Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) has two swimmer fins opposite its claws on the back side. The Jumbo Lump is the muscle that is attached to the Coxa, the first joint of each of the swimmer fins or swimmer legs.

Anatomy of a Blue Crab © 2006 Steven C. Zinski.

Now, we were thinking, if a man was able to get this type of thing in large quantities, you know, steady-like, and if every one he received were like these – big, beautiful lumps with the handle, or well, leg attached…well, now, that would be one hell of a thing! He might just have something.

That Lollipop stuck in my head. When REEF opened a few months later, I got to know Jim Gossen, the founder and CEO of a local seafood company called Louisiana Foods. Jim loves his shellfish more than anyone else I’ve ever met, I mean he carries a salinometer around in his pocket; that, my friends, is True Love. So I told him my Lollipop idea, his eyes lit up in excitement and he left abruptly. Two weeks later, I looked up during service and he was standing across the “pass” (where the food passes from the kitchen to the dining room and where you’ll always find me), sporting a $100 grin and a bag in his hand. I had my first pound of Jumbo Lump Crab Lollipops for REEF.
Talk about a fairytale!

Well, y’all know the difference between a fairytale and bullshit, don’t you?

A fairytale starts off with “Once upon a time…”, and the other, “Now, this ain’t no shit…”.


neverfull said...

i saw your photos of almaco jack. i enjoyed it for the first time this week (prepared by mike potowski), but i'd love to try it raw. let me know when you get it in at REEF.

Whole Fish said...

Actually we have it now.

neverfull said...

okay, you will see my hungry little face again very soon.

neda said...

So do you get a pay cut for every lb of jumbo lump lollipops that is sold from Louisiana Foods for having inspired the idea? that would be pretty awesome.

also, are those oysters in the grill with the crabs?

Whole Fish said...

as far as the cut goes, i think the total credit swings more to Jim's side than mine. the idea is the easy part with these things. Its the development of the idea, implementation of the process and production intergration that is hard part. i am the thankful one, thanks again Mr. Gossen.

yes, those are oysters on the grill. the same set up we serve at reef with the lime pickle-swiss chard and asiago bread crumbs

Jim Gossen said...

The hardest part of developing a product is to keep interest and continued support and that is the part Bryan has played in the development of the crab lollipop. Thanks Bryan!

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