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››Dining

The Famous

Daufuskie Deviled Crab BY JESSICA FARTHING

142 hiltonheadmonthly.com

Sallie Ann Robinson, chef and Gullah expert, grew up on Daufuskie Island, where blue crabs provided an important source of income.

PHOTOS BY BAILEY WITT

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any areas of the United States have their own version of deviled crab. In Florida, Cuban rolls are wrapped around crabmeat and fried. In Maryland, crab is bathed in a delicious white sauce and baked. But few places do deviled crab like Daufuskie Island. Surrounded by the natural bounty of Lowcountry waters, it’s only natural that Daufuskie would perfect its deviled crab recipe. Following instructions passed down through generations, the residents of this small sea island all chipped in to produce the delicacy. Crabs were brought from the boats to waiting schoolchildren, who would pick them clean after school. “I used to come home from school and say that I wasn’t going to do it, I wasn’t going to get my hands dirty,” said lifelong Daufuskie resident Ernestine Smith. “But my mom would say, ‘Wash your hands and get your towel, pan and knife.” And that would be that. A talented cook at Daufuskie Island Crab Company, Smith’s deviled crab dish is legendary on Daufuskie. Her recipe is a closely guarded secret, but she is willing to share one key ingredient: “You put your love in it, that’s all.” That’s a sentiment echoed by Sallie Ann Robinson, a chef and Gullah expert. But she also remembers the practical side of the deviled crab production in her house: “I remember many days where this was our parent’s income,” she said. “This was our way of life. We sold crab to put food on the table, and it was a part of our daily life when money had to be made.” Ella Mae Jenkins’ family sold deviled crabs from the store on their family’s property, where they also sold a selection of ice cream and peanuts to those traveling on Haig Point

Hilton Head Monthly January 2018  
Hilton Head Monthly January 2018  

It seems like only yesterday that we made the decision to devote our January issue to telling the fascinating stories behind each familiar f...