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

Cooking live crab may seem intimidating at first, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it can be a delicious and rewarding experience.

Whether you're a seafood lover or just looking to try something new, cooking live crab is a great way to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills.

A pot of boiling water with steam rising. A live crab being lowered into the water. Red and orange shells

Before you start cooking your live crab, it's important to know how to prepare it properly.

This includes cleaning and killing the crab in a humane way, as well as knowing how to handle it safely.

Once your crab is prepared, there are several cooking techniques you can use, such as boiling, steaming, or grilling, to create a delicious meal that's sure to impress.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper preparation is key to cooking live crab safely and effectively.
  • There are several cooking techniques you can use, such as boiling, steaming, or grilling.

Preparing Your Live Crab

A live crab sits in a pot of boiling water, steam rising, with a pair of tongs nearby

Before you start cooking your live crab, you need to prepare it properly. This section will guide you through the necessary steps to handle, store, clean and pre-cook your live crab.

Handling and Storing

When you buy live crab, make sure to handle it with care.

Hold the crab by its back legs and avoid grabbing its claws, as they can pinch you.

It's best to keep the crab in a cool and moist environment, such as a cooler with ice or a damp cloth.

Make sure to keep the crab alive until you're ready to cook it.

Cleaning and Pre-Cooking Care

Before cooking your live crab, it's important to clean it properly.

Start by removing the gills, also known as "dead man's fingers," on either side of the crab's body. These gills are not edible and can make the crab taste bitter.

Next, remove the claws and legs by twisting them off at the joints.

Once you've removed the claws and legs, you can clean the crab by rinsing it under cold running water.

If you're not cooking the crab right away, you can store it in an ice bath to keep it fresh.

To make an ice bath, fill a large bowl with ice and water, then place the crab in the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook the crab.

Cooking Techniques and Tips

A live crab is being placed into a pot of boiling water. The chef is using tongs to carefully handle the crab and ensure it is submerged

Boiling and Steaming

When it comes to cooking live crab, there are two main techniques you can use: boiling and steaming.

Boiling is a quick and simple method that involves submerging the crab in a pot of boiling water.

Steaming is a gentler method that involves cooking the crab over the steam generated by boiling water.

To boil the crab, fill a large pot with enough water to fully submerge the crab.

Add some seasoning to the water, such as Old Bay seasoning or crab boil, to add some flavour to the meat.

Bring the water to a rolling boil, then carefully add the live crab to the pot.

Cook the crab for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the crab.

Once cooked, remove the crab from the pot and let it cool down before cracking it open.

To steam the crab, fill a large pot with a few inches of water and bring it to a boil.

Place a steaming rack or basket in the pot, then carefully add the live crab to the rack.

Cover the pot with a lid and steam the crab for about 15-20 minutes, again depending on the size of the crab.

Once cooked, remove the crab from the pot and let it cool down before cracking it open.

Seasoning and Flavouring

To add some extra flavour to your crab, consider seasoning it with some herbs, spices, or other ingredients.

For example, you could add some Old Bay seasoning, which is a classic seasoning blend that pairs well with crab.

Alternatively, you could add some lemon slices or lemon juice to the cooking water to give the crab a zesty flavour.

If you want to add some heat to your crab, consider using some harissa paste or hot sauce.

You could also sprinkle some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes over the crab before cooking it.

Serving and Cracking

When it comes to serving and cracking your cooked crab, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First, make sure the crab is cool enough to handle before cracking it open.

You can use a crab cracker or a nutcracker to crack the shell and extract the meat.

To serve the crab, you can simply place it on a large platter and let your guests help themselves.

You could also serve it with some melted butter or a dipping sauce, such as cocktail sauce or garlic butter.

Frequently Asked Questions

A chef places a live crab into a pot of boiling water. The crab turns bright red as it cooks

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

Cleaning crabs before cooking them is an essential step.

Start by removing the top shell and the gills. Then, rinse the crab under cold water to remove any debris.

You can also use a brush to scrub the shell. Make sure to remove the "dead man's fingers" - the spongy material inside the crab's body.

What's the most humane method to cook live crabs?

There are several methods to cook live crabs humanely.

One way is to place them in the freezer for a few hours before cooking.

Another method is to quickly boil them in salted water for a few minutes.

Both methods ensure that the crabs are unconscious before they are cooked.

Could you give me some tips for cooking crabs for the first time?

If you are cooking crabs for the first time, start with a simple recipe.

Steaming is the easiest method and requires minimal preparation. Make sure to add plenty of seasoning to the water before steaming.

Also, be careful not to overcook the crabs as they can become tough and rubbery.

How long should I boil whole crabs for a proper cook?

The cooking time for whole crabs depends on their size.

As a general rule, boil them for 10-12 minutes per kilogram.

Make sure the water is salted and boiling before adding the crabs. Once cooked, remove the crabs from the water and let them cool before cracking them open.

Can you suggest a way to cook live crabs on the hob?

Cooking live crabs on the hob is simple.

Start by boiling a large pot of salted water. Once the water is boiling, add the crabs and cook for 10-12 minutes per kilogram.

Alternatively, you can steam the crabs in a steamer basket for 15-20 minutes.

How do I prepare live crab in a Chinese style?

To prepare live crab in a Chinese style, start by cleaning the crabs as described above.

Then, stir-fry them in a wok with ginger, garlic, and scallions. Add soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sugar to the wok and continue to stir-fry until the sauce thickens.

Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!