Sails Mud Crab

Crab Pot Calling

Image source: Contributed

For more than a decade, dining at Sails on Noosa’s Main beach has been a ‘must do’ for anyone holidaying in Noosa or fortunate enough to live locally. There are few places on the Australian coast where you can wine and dine with your toes almost in the sand.

Executive Chef Paul Leete has presided over the kitchen and menu for decades, setting itself apart from many within the culinary scene. Recognised for creating menus that centre on locally-sourced and seasonal produce which, Paul reflects, “captures the essence of the food culture in Noosa.”

If you are not able to enjoy lunch or a candlelit dinner at Sails, the cookbook is available, giving you the chance to take a little bit of the Sails magic into your kitchen at home. Each recipe has been designed by Paul and will give insight to the incredible dishes he creates.

When asked to provide a recipe for this edition, Paul did not need to think too long saying that mud crab was his favorite produce of the sea.

Have a crack at creating your own crab sensation from Paul’s tried-and-true recipe and share your best efforts on our social media channels for your chance to win his cookbook!   


Sails cookbook









To win one of five Sails Noosa Cookbooks by Paul Leete valued at $38, share your crab creation on instagram and facebook #innoosa #crabcreation #sails.
Or order online at



Serves 6

6 whole live mud crabs

600g unsalted butter

250g peeled garlic

4 fresh bay leaves

2 stalks rosemary

2 lemons

1 bunch continental parsley


Preparing the crab

Place mud crabs in an Esky or sink filled with plenty of ice and water. After 15 to 20 mins, check the crabs. They should show no signs of movement. Once crabs are dead remove strings and scrub outer shell to remove all traces of mud. Turn crab on its back and lift the belly flap. Push your thumb under the upper shell and prise off. Remove all the feathery gills and carefully rinse the center of the crab. Place crab on a cutting board. With a heavy knife, cut crab down the center, leaving 2 halves. Now, with a sharp tap, use the back of the knife to crack each part of the shell. This will allow the flavours to penetrate the meat and speed cooking.

To Cook

Roughly chop parsley and set aside.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Place garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap to form a secure envelope. Cook garlic in oven for 25-30 mins or until tender.

In a heavy based pot large enough to handle all the crabs, melt the butter and continue to cook until butter foams and begins to brown.

Add roast garlic, mud crab and bay leaf and stir until crab is coated in butter.

Place a lid on the pot and cook on high for 15-20 mins.

To check if crab is cooked remove one half and cut through the body. The meat should be opaque all the way through.

Once cooked, remove all crabs from pot and place in a large mixing bowl.

Continue to boil butter until it once again begins to foam and turn golden brown.

At this stage add rosemary and while stirring, remove from heat.

Add lemon juice and parsley, return crab and its juices to the pot and carefully stir to coat the crabs in the sauce. Don’t worry if the crabs break up a little – they will taste superb all the same.

To Serve

My favourite way is piled high in a large bowl, in the center of the table for everyone to help themselves. Crusty bread, lemon and a simple salad is all you need. Keep plenty of napkins and finger bowls on hand as this may get a little messy.

About the Author /

[email protected]

A journalist for more than 20 years, Ingrid has worked across all mediums, eventually finding her niche as a feature writer. Cutting her teeth as young television reporter, she quickly moved through the ranks before joining a high-profile Brisbane magazine. She moved to the Sunshine Coast with her husband and three children in 2007 and has spent the last eight years working in publishing. She is thrilled to join the clever and creative team at IN Noosa Magazine.

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