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Crab Cakes #3: Bob Payne puts on the Ritz for his signature Crabby Charleston Cakes

Bob Payne's crab cake

Bob Payne's crab cake

By squatter’s rights, this crab cake recipe belongs to Bob Payne.

“My recipe (is) called ‘my’ only because I have made it many times in the past,” says Payne, who borrowed the basics of his preparation from other recipes he’s seen, including one which five years ago ran in a favorite cooking magazine.

Payne has made a few adjustments in deference to his preference for spice: He uses extra red and black pepper unless one of the cakes is destined to be served to his wife, Candy, who favors a milder flavor. In that case, he says, he brings a bottle of Tabasco to the table. (A devoted fan of various brands, Payne also insists on Duke’s mayonnaise and Ritz Crackers for his recipe.)

Typically when making crab cakes, Payne automatically doubles the recipe.

“You’ll want more soon,” he promises. “And don’t worry: They freeze perfectly for a later time.”

Crabby Charleston Cakes


1 large egg

1 lemon, juiced

2-3 tablespoons minced green onions

3 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Old Bay

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 teaspoon tarragon

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½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

8 ounces canned crab meat

1 tube of Ritz Crackers

2 tablespoons butter

1 lemon, sliced for garnish


Crack egg into a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add lemon juice, onion, mayonnaise and spices. Mix to combine.

Add crab meat to egg mixture. Mix gently to avoid breaking up crab.

Prior to opening Ritz sleeve, pound crackers into crumbs. Slowly add cracker meal to bowl until mixture is sticky enough to form into cakes. If the mixture is overly dry, add more mayonnaise. Shape five equally sized cakes and set aside.

Heat butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat. Place cakes in skillet and cook until brown, about 5-6 minutes. Flip cakes and repeat. Serve crab cakes hot with lemon slices.

Editor’s note: Bob Payne’s crab cake recipe is one of four competing in The Post and Courier Food section’s contest for a category crown. Over the course of a year, the newspaper will publish four reader-supplied recipes for each of 12 iconic Lowcountry dishes. Featured recipes have been lightly edited to conform with the newspaper’s style, but they have not been tested. It’s up to readers to choose a winner. To weigh in on the crab cake race, join us at

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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