Making Clutch’s “Hot Bottom Feeder” Crab Cakes

clutch hot bottom feeder recipe

I have to think there are a decent number of Clutch fans having crab cakes this week. Certainly ever since the Maryland lords of groove unveiled their new single last Friday I’ve had the notion in my head. If you haven’t seen it, the track in question, “Hot Bottom Feeder,” comes from the four-piece’s impending album, Book of Bad Decisions, which is out Sept. 7 on Weathermaker Music, and the lyrics, as shown in the video at the bottom of this post, are a recipe for crab cakes. In the clip, vocalist Neil Fallon takes the audience cooking-show-style through the process and after he serves the results to guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, the ending is actually a recipe card for what’s described in the verses. I decided to try it out.

Now, I’m an individual of particular taste when it comes to any number of things, food among them, but I’ve had a few Maryland crab cakes in my time. They’re a regional delicacy of the Chesapeake watershed and if I’m in the area and feeling flush with cash, I usually try to pick a few up frozen to bring home back north. Hasn’t happened in a while though. And a crab cake recipe from Clutch? It couldn’t be any more Maryland if it was a Baltimore Ravens bumper sticker. I hit the local fancy-ish grocer — not the super-fancy grocer, but the pretty fancy grocer — to see if they had any genuine Maryland crab meat. As the first words in the song go, “Never mind that stuff they sell from Vietnam/Get it from the Chesapeake but never from a can.”

The track recommends Backfin, but as Fallon notes, “There’s nothing wrong with Special.” I grabbed a container of what I thought was from Maryland because that was the address on back of the package, but found out after I brought it home it said “Product of India” on the top of the lid. I know I’m old because I suck at reading packages now. Used to have that down. So not a great start, but one presses on. I assembled ingredients: Some whole wheat bread crumbs because I have food issues and authenticity is a myth so keep the 4C. Ground mustard. Mayo. Butter. A raw egg. Some fresh chopped parsley. I’m not huge on parsley and was going to get it dried, but remembered in the video the shot of Fallon chopping it. I’ve trusted Clutch on way more serious issues than garnish herbs, so I rolled accordingly. The idea, after all, was to follow directions.

I was surprised there was no call for Old Bay Seasoning, but again, not my recipe. I resisted all kinds of temptation to embellish. Maybe some jalapeno pesto in there instead of mayo? Maybe some paprika and red pepper flakes to give it a kick? Nope. Keep it simple. This is folk food. It’s not meant to be elaborate. It’s meant to be something you make for your friends and/or family on a Monday afternoon. And yes, with The Patient Mrs. looking on — she doesn’t eat anything with a face, so I knew that was out — I did let The Pecan sample some crab meat as I made my way through the preparation.

Separating said Product of India in my fingers was probably the most time-consuming part, but there wasn’t much shell to find, so that was okay. I threw my ingredients all together in a mixing bowl and got a 1/2 cup measuring cup to shape the actual cakes. In the song, Fallon uses a biscuit cutter. I looked for one at the store, but no dice, so I made do with what I had. They turned out to be a pretty good shape, so as instructed, I stuck them “in the reefer” for a while to cool off, then browned some butter in a pan — also substitution, since “Hot Bottom Feeder” calls for a cast iron skillet; well, all my skillets are in another state, so again, I made do — put the baby on my shoulders and began to fry them on each side.

I didn’t cook a full pound of crab meat, because that’s an awful lot for basically me, but I wound up with three good-sized crab cakes that were awesome. And for all my doubting, I think the fresh parsley actually made a huge difference. Making them made me think about some of the other crab cakes I’ve had, and the difference that some of the “to taste” balances make — some with too much mayo, some with too much mustard, too much breadcrumbs, etc. On the whole, I was pleased. I had two for lunch, without my favorite beverage because time’s always a press these days and I wasn’t exactly eating to relax, and was kind of sitting on the third until I decided to call my mother and have her over for the third. She said it was delicious. Nice to have that support.

“Hot Bottom Feeder” is maddeningly catchy and I hope Clutch like it because it’s the kind of song that’s going to feature in live sets for years to come. I’d never made my own crab cakes before, but the chance to dig into this recipe was too good to pass up, and I sincerely doubt this will be the last time I make it. This week. My particular taste? Well satisfied.

Clutch, “Hot Bottom Feeder” official video

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One Response to “Making Clutch’s “Hot Bottom Feeder” Crab Cakes”

  1. Metalchick666 says:

    Shit, I’m gonna have to try this now.

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