[Florida Stone Crab, Menippe mercenaria]
Stone crabs are found from North Carolina down and along the Gulf coast as far south as Belize. They are small bodied with a carapace 4 inches in width when fully grown. The body has very little meat but this crab has outsized claws with enough strength to break oyster shells.
The fishery is unique and highly regulated in the U.S.. Live crabs are taken only during season and if both claws meet a size standard the larger is twisted off at a joint and the crab is returned to the water to grow a new claw (takes about a year). Taking whole crabs is illegal as is taking both claws.
More on Crabs.
Stone crab claws are cooked immediately upon landing and are kept refrigerated. They are shipped all over the U.S. by overnight express packed in styrofoam with iced gel packs.
Stone crab claws are served quite plain, either well chilled or resteamed. Condiments may be just melted butter and lemon wedges or something like Joe's Mustard Sauce. Pernsonally, I consider Joe's sauce way to strong - if I'm paying for crab I want to taste crab. Consequently, I've made up an altrnate dip, CG Crab Dip that's not so overpowering. Of course some of the Southeast Asian dips to be found on this site will work fine too.