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Joe's Crab Shack Great Balls of Fire

By Todd Wilbur

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Menu Description: “Get ready to get fired up! Our jalapeno, shrimp and crab balls are bound to be our hottest sellers.”

Joe’s hit appetizer is not as hard to make as you may think. The secret is in creating a filling that will form easily into a ball and then using a three-step breading process to make sure the balls stay as balls when they’re frying. There are jalapenos in there, but the cayenne is where the big heat comes from, so if you want your balls a little less fiery just reduce the amount of cayenne you put in the mix.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 6 medium raw shrimp, chopped
  • 1 cup lump crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese,
  • plus another 1 1/2 ounces for the centers
  • 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 6 to 10 cups vegetable oil (or the amount required by your fryer)
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Joe's Crab Shack
    • Instructions

      1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced jalapeños and saute for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink.

      2. Stir in the crab, Parmesan, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and white pepper. Cook until the crab is hot, about 1 minute, then remove it from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of panko. Mix well.

      3. Make the crab balls by first beating the eggs in medium bowl. Pour the flour into another bowl, and pour the panko into a third bowl.

      4. Form the balls by scooping up heaping tablespoon of the filing. Press a small marble-size chunk of cream cheese into the center of the filing and form the filling around the cream cheese. This ball should be slightly smaller than a golf ball. Roll the ball in the flour, then in the egg, and back into the flour until it's thoroughly covered with flour. Coat the ball with egg again and then roll it in the panko until it's completely covered. Repeat with each ball and arrange all of the breaded balls on a plate and chill for 30 minutes.

      5. Preheat your oil to 325 degrees F.

      6. Drop the balls, 4 to 6 at a time, into the oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. If the cheese begins to squirt out of the balls when they are frying, remove them from the oil immediately. That means they are done!

      7. Serve with ranch dressing on the side for dipping.

      Serves 4 as an appetizer (makes about 12 balls).

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