I don't know how the experience has escaped me for so long, but I had my first experience with whole steamed crabs...I finally did. We were in D.C. for a family emergency, but on our last night managed to get out to the Quarterdeck in Arlington, VA. Boy! Did we have good crabs. What you see is what was ordered for four: two dozen. When we reserved, we asked for jumbo sized but they had already been spoken for, as had the large size. These mediums were pretty good sized, so I can only imagine what the jumbo ones would be. For the uninitiated, they pour them on the brown-paper covered table, and all you have is drawn butter, vinegar, a wooden mallet apiece and a giant heap of paper towels.
The bottom picture is what was left after we'd done all the damage we could: three crabs remaining unsmacked (thank goodness we didn't get the jumbos, right?) and the last of several buckets of crab shells and claws hauled away by the waiter. What I'm not showing is the white tee shirt I had on. And for a very good reason: it was covered with little crab splashes from top to bottom.
Can't wait to do it again!