Jul 09, 2021

Outer Banks Seafood: From Boat to Table

The Journey From the Sea to Your Plate

From boat to table sounds simple, but the journey seafood takes before it reaches your plate is a fascinating one. There are early morning boat rides that happen every day to ensure that local OBX seafood restaurants are stocked for the coming days. The hard-working folks at Endurance Seafood in Colington and at O’Neal’s Sea Harvest in Wanchese allowed us to join them for a behind-the-scenes look at the blue crab’s trip from the sea to your table. 

From Boat

The adventure begins just after sunrise. Well-seasoned fishermen at Endurance Seafood navigate the canals to the sound to check their crab pots. Blue crabs that have ventured into the pots are collected in the boat, and the crew tosses the pot back into the water and moves on to the next one. 

from boat
shedding tanks

When the blue crabs are brought back to the dock, any that appear as if they are about to molt are kept in shedding tanks. Crabs in the shedding tanks are carefully watched, 24 hours per day. Once the crab sheds its shell, it is removed from the tank before the new shell can harden. Hard crabs and the newly-molted softshell crabs are packed for wholesale. A similar process happens over in Wanchese at O’Neal’s Seafood Harvest.

To Table

Restaurants and markets on the Outer Banks purchase the catch from local fishermen. In some cases, like at O’Neal’s Seafood Harvest in Wanchese, the boats dock at the back of the facility and the seafood is served in the front of the facility. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! 

blue crabs
O'Neal's Sea Harvest

Each day’s catch is cleaned and packed at O’Neal’s, and they have shedding tanks on site. After the softshell crabs are pulled from the tanks and cleaned, they are dredged in flour and spices and then deep fried before they land atop a bed of french fries, ready for consumption. 

O’Neal’s Seafood Harvest isn’t just a fantastic spot for lunch, seafood can be purchased at their market as well. Grab an amazing lunch and take some fresh fish home to grill for dinner. 

How to Cook Your Fresh Catch

Need to know how to cook your OBX seafood? Chef Wes Stepp of NC Coast Grill & Bar and Red Sky Cafe in Duck recently shared his do’s and don’ts of cooking Outer Banks Seafood.

Courtney Wisecarver

Courtney Wisecarver

Jul 09, 2021

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