How to Cook Crab: A Casual Guide – Seaco Online
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How to Cook Crab: A Casual Guide

Cooking crab can be intimidating for beginners, but it's actually a simple and delicious way to enjoy seafood.

Whether you're cooking crab for a special occasion or just want to try something new for dinner, this article will guide you through the process of preparing and cooking crab.

A pot of boiling water with crab legs inside, a sprinkle of seasoning, and a pair of tongs nearby

Before you start cooking, it's important to choose the right type of crab.

Fresh crabs are always the best choice, and you can usually find them at your local seafood market or grocery store. Look for crabs that are still alive and active, with shiny shells and no signs of damage or discoloration. Once you've chosen your crab, it's time to get started.

Preparing Your Crab

Preparing your crab is an important step in the cooking process. This involves cleaning and removing the parts of the crab that you won't be eating.

To do this, start by rinsing the crab under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, remove the top shell and the gills, and use a small knife to pick out the meat from the claws and legs. You can also use a crab cracker to break open the shell and remove the meat more easily.

Cooking Techniques

There are several different cooking techniques you can use to cook crab, including boiling, steaming, and grilling.

Boiling is the most common method and involves cooking the crab in a large pot of salted water for about 10-12 minutes.

Steaming is another popular method, which involves placing the crab in a steamer basket and cooking it over boiling water for about 15-20 minutes.

Grilling is a less common method, but it can add a delicious smoky flavor to your crab.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose fresh crabs with no signs of damage or discoloration.
  • Prepare your crab by cleaning and removing the parts you won't be eating.
  • Cook your crab using boiling, steaming, or grilling techniques.

Preparing Your Crab

A crab sits on a cutting board next to a pot of boiling water. A chef's knife and a pair of kitchen shears lay nearby

Before you start cooking your crab, there are a few things you need to do to prepare it properly. In this section, we'll cover everything you need to know about selecting and buying crab, as well as cleaning and preparing it for cooking.

Selecting and Buying

When it comes to selecting and buying crab, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, make sure you're buying the right type of crab for your recipe. Some popular types of crab include king crab, dungeness crab, and snow crab.

If you're buying live crab, look for ones that are active and healthy-looking. Avoid any that are sluggish or have a foul odor.

If you're buying frozen crab, make sure it's still solid and doesn't have any freezer burn.

Another thing to consider is sustainability. Look for crab that has been sustainably caught and harvested. This helps support the local community and ensures that crab populations are not depleted.

Cleaning and Preparation

Cleaning and preparing your crab is an important step in the cooking process. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Start by rinsing your crab under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Next, remove the claws and legs by twisting them off at the base.
  3. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the top shell off the crab and remove the gills and intestines.
  4. Rinse the crab again under cold running water to remove any remaining debris.
  5. If you're using live crab, you'll need to kill it before cooking. There are several methods for doing this, including placing the crab in the freezer for a few minutes or quickly boiling it in salted water.
  6. If you're not using the crab right away, store it in the fridge in a covered container or wrapped in plastic wrap. Cooked crab can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Cooking Techniques

Crab being steamed in a large pot with a lid on top. Steam rising from the pot as the crab turns bright red

When it comes to cooking crab, there are a few different techniques you can use to get the perfect result. Here are some of the most popular methods:

Boiling and Steaming

Boiling and steaming are two of the most common ways to cook crab.

To boil crabs, fill a large pot with water and add a generous amount of salt. Bring the water to a boil and then carefully add the crabs.

Boil the crabs for about 20-25 minutes, depending on their size. Once they're cooked, remove them from the pot and let them cool before cracking them open.

Steaming is another popular way to cook crab.

To steam crab, fill a pot with about an inch of water and add a steaming basket. Bring the water to a boil and then add the crabs to the basket.

Steam the crabs for about 10-12 minutes, depending on their size. Once they're cooked, remove them from the pot and let them cool before cracking them open.

Grilling and Baking

If you're looking for a different way to cook crab, grilling and baking are both great options.

To grill crab, brush the crab with a little bit of oil and then grill them over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side.

You can also bake crab legs in the oven. To do this, preheat your oven to 375°F and then place the crab legs on a baking sheet.

Bake them for about 10-12 minutes, or until they're cooked through.

Broiling is another option for cooking crab legs.

To broil crab legs, place them on a baking sheet and brush them with a little bit of oil. Broil them for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they're cooked through.

Frequently Asked Questions

A pot of boiling water with a cluster of crabs being lowered in

What's the best method to prepare crab legs?

Crab legs can be prepared in a variety of ways, but the most popular methods are steaming, boiling, or grilling.

Steaming is the most common method and it helps to retain the natural flavour of the crab. Boiling is another popular method, but it can cause the crab legs to become waterlogged. Grilling is a great option if you want to add a smoky flavour to your crab legs.

How long should you boil a whole crab for?

The cooking time for a whole crab depends on its size. A general rule of thumb is to boil the crab for 10-12 minutes per kilogram.

However, it’s important to note that the crab should be fully submerged in the boiling water for the entire cooking time to ensure it cooks evenly.

What's the proper way to clean crabs before cooking them?

Cleaning crabs before cooking them is essential to remove any dirt or debris that may be present on the shell. Here’s a quick guide on how to clean crabs:

  1. Start by rinsing the crab under cold water to remove any loose dirt.
  2. Next, use a stiff brush to scrub the shell thoroughly.
  3. Use a pair of scissors to remove the gills and the apron (the small flap on the underside of the crab).
  4. Finally, rinse the crab again under cold water to remove any remaining debris.

Is boiling or steaming crabs the better option?

Both boiling and steaming are great options for cooking crabs. However, steaming is often considered the better option as it helps to retain the natural flavour of the crab. Boiling can cause the crab to become waterlogged, which can affect the taste and texture.

How do you cook crab meat without the shell?

Cooking crab meat without the shell is easy and can be done in a variety of ways.

Crab meat can be sautéed, baked, or grilled.

To sauté crab meat, heat some oil in a pan and add the crab meat. Cook for a few minutes until the crab meat is heated through.

To bake crab meat, place it in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 180°C.

To grill crab meat, brush it with some oil and place it on a preheated grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side until the crab meat is heated through.

Could you tell me how to humanely cook a crab?

Humanely cooking a crab involves killing it quickly and without causing any unnecessary pain.

One way to do this is to place the crab in the freezer for 30 minutes before cooking. This will put the crab into a state of hibernation, which will make it less sensitive to pain.

Another method is to place the crab in boiling water for a few seconds to stun it before killing it.

It’s important to note that it’s illegal to cook live crabs in some countries, so it’s important to check local laws before attempting to cook live crabs.