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Burnet student cracks into business world with Texas Krab House

Nathan Maples of Texas Krab House

Fifteen-year-old Nathan Maples with a tray of crab legs in front of the smoker at his food trailer, Texas Krab House, which serves surf AND turf in Buchanan Dam. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Texas Krab House — actually a trailer — serves award-winning barbecue and savory seafood boils at 15603 Texas 29 West in Buchanan Dam. It’s the passion project of 15-year-old Burnet High School student Nathan Maples, who has been winning cooking competitions since he was 9.

Maples and his father, Marty, opened Texas Krab House in early June 2023. The menu lists an array of seafood platters featuring king crab legs, shrimp, and lobster cooked in a classic, Cajun boil. Maples also sells his award-winning barbecue, which has been perfected in more than 40 regional cooking competitions.

The teen started cooking early in life, smoking his first brisket when he was 5 years old, he told DailyTrib.com. He took third place in a Bikers Against Child Abuse cook-off when he was 9. 

Maples combined his passion for barbecue with his love for seafood into his own venture after working for Krab Kingz in Tow, his first time in a professional kitchen. 

“When I was working at Krab Kingz, I just fell in love with (seafood),” he said. “I’ve always had a passion for seafood: crab, crawfish, shrimp. I’ve always loved Cajun cooking, too.”

He credits Krab Kingz owners Brandon Harlee and Nicholas Pullens with teaching him the crustacean cooking ropes.

“He shined really fast,” Harlee said. “He’s a really good kid.”

Maples is also on the Burnet FFA BBQ team, which placed in several categories at the National High School BBQ Association National Cookoff earlier this year.

The Texas Krab House trailer can be found at its regular location from 4-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday. The best way to keep up with hours and menu items is on the Texas Krab House Facebook page.

dakota@thepicayune.com