The fact that they’re available for a limited time (generally, after the first full moon in May, and for a couple of months thereafter) makes soft-shell crabs a special seasonal treat. If you’ve only had this delicacy deep-fried or sautéed, we urge you to grill soft-shell crabs over wood smoke on your Traeger.

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  • 8 soft-shell crabs, cleaned, thawed if frozen
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, chives, or parsley, or a mixture
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Old Bay Seasoning or Traeger Cajun Rub
  • Prepared tartar sauce, for serving


Rinse the crabs under cold running water and pat dry on paper towels. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Make the marinade: In a small mixing bowl combine the lemon juice, herbs, Old Bay Seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the marinade over the crabs and refrigerate for 1 hour. Drain the crabs and discard the marinade. Lightly dust the crabs with Old Bay Seasoning. When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 450 degrees (High) and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the crabs directly on the grill grate and grill, turning once, until the crabs turn orangish-pink and don’t seem “squishy” when pressed with a finger, 16 to 20 minutes total depending on their size. (Truthfully, the cooking time is difficult to estimate.) Transfer to a platter or plates and serve with your favorite tartar sauce.