A Sawyerfresh tribute to a Tampa culinary creation.
One afternoon, about 3 years ago, I had a memorable encounter with the famous Ybor Devil Crab. During one of my usual Saturday morning meet-up at La Tropicana, I challenged a cast of of these crabs to a match of strength. About 2.5 Devil Crabs in, I was out for the count, sick-full and just about in a food coma. My speech was slurred and felt like I had just run a marathon. On that day, I learned how they got their name. It’s not a spicy thing, it’s because too much will make you feel like pure hell. To this day, I eat them in moderation.
Every great city has its signature food item(s). Chicago has deep dish, New York has hot dogs, NOLA has Po’boys (and a million other things), while here in Tampa we have items like the Devil Crab. It is basically crab meat, onions and tomato sauce shaped into something that looks like a small football, coated in bread crumbs and fried. Hot sauce is the go-to condiment for these bad boys.
Some people call them Deviled Crabs, but if you look at the signs for them, they are clearly Devil Crabs in these parts. Whatever you decide to call it, it’s tasty. This piece pays tribute to my city, the food and my battle with this particular culinary delight.