Ronnie’s Smothered Crabs

Roll up your sleeves to eat Ronnie’s Smothered Crabs. They are delicious and fun to eat, but messy.
Roll up your sleeves to eat Ronnie’s Smothered Crabs. They are delicious and fun to eat, but messy.

Ronnie Sampey said this dish came from “old man Percy Broussard,” whom he got to know 14 years ago.

“He lived by himself but traveled regularly to Grand Isle, La., to fish,” Ronnie said. “One day he told me, ‘I’m going to show you how to cook crabs like you’ve never seen before. I need 10 pounds of onions.’

“I didn’t think that anyone could cook one dish with 10 pounds of onions. We cooked it at my camp on Grape Lane on Grand Isle. After he put the dish on the stove, we sat on the swing and drank beer for four hours.

“By that time, it didn’t matter how it came out. No, seriously, it came out great. I cook it every once in a time whenever I get good crabs. It’s a dish you want to cook when you have a lot of time.”

This tasty dish is wonderful, but messy to eat. Don’t be bashful; you have the break apart the crabs and slurp the meat out of the shell. That’s part of the fun.

Ronnie said that, for the dish to come out right, it is important to cut the onions in half rings, not vertically or chopped. Also, if you like salt, you might want to add some before cooking. This dish is impossible to add salt to after it’s cooked.


  • 3 doz. crabs
  • 6 lb. onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
  • NuNu’s Cajun Seasoning


Ice the crabs until they are no longer moving. Remove the backs, gills, viscera and legs, and discard. Remove and keep the claws. Crack both sections of each claw to allow the seasoning to get inside, but do not peel them. Hose any remaining fat and viscera from the crabs with a garden hose and set aside. Peel and slice the onions crossways in half circles. Pour the olive oil into a large Dutch oven. Put in a layer of onions in the Dutch oven, followed by a layer of crabs with the cavity of their bodies facing up. Claws should also be added with the bodies. Repeat the layers three times. Add the remainder of the onions on top. Sprinkle in oregano, thyme and rosemary. Season with NuNu’s seasoning to taste. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours or until the onions are browned and soft. Do not stir the pot while cooking. Serves 4-6.

About Jerald Horst 47 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman. Jerald may be reached at

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