Cooking Crab Legs~How to Broil, Bake, Grill and Steam
It’s beginning to look a lot like crab season (our favorite time of the year)! Crab Legs are a popular option with our customers. Especially once the weather warms, making dining al fresco a less messy crabby affair. So, we wanted to provide some of our favorite methods for cooking these delectable leggy clusters. Whether it’s broiling, baking, grilling or steaming, you’re bound to find a new favorite.
Broiling is simply a cooking method where the product is exposed to direct heat. Often in our ovens, with a rack positioned as close to the heat source as possible. That direct heat warms rapidly and causes a little charring, imparting tons of flavor.
Why Should I Broil my Crab Legs?
Broiling happens very FAST! Crab legs cook in record time and (since we’re just using a baking sheet) with minimal clean up.
How to Broil my Crab Legs…
Preheat your broiler on low. Season and toss the crab legs with a little Old Bay and space out evenly on your baking sheet (you may need to do this in batches, depending on how many clusters you have). Broil for 3 minutes per side and let cool enough for you to handle before serving.
Alternatively, you can split the crab legs and body, exposing the meat, and season with butter, garlic, lemon, etc… This will provide that tell-tale charing and succulence (mouth is watering just thinking about it).
Baking is another easy-peasy cooking method. Providing a little slower cook time, since the product is usually in the center of the oven with radiant heat swirling around, cooking everything evenly. And with less aggressive temperatures.
Why Should I Bake my Crab Legs?
This is a forgivable cooking method for those that, whoops, forgot to thaw their crab legs before cooking. This is also ideal for marinated crab legs (in a nice EVOO, fresh herbs, citrus and garlic marinade), letting those flavors fully absorb into the meat.
This method also doesn’t require as much ‘babysitting’ as some of the other cooking methods, giving home-cooks a little downtime before devouring.
How to Bake my Crab Legs…
Preheat your oven to about 350°F-400°F. Place your crab leg clusters on a baking sheet or XL casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, if thawed, and 35-45 minutes, if frozen.
The ideal summer cooking method, no need to turn on any indoor appliances (and subsequently heat up the house in the process). Just you and your grill. Grilling and broiling are culinary neighbors, both require direct intense heat, warming food quickly and usually with a flavorful char to boot.
Why Should I Grill my Crab Legs?
Grilling your crab legs imparts that nice smoky flavor of all grilled goods. Weather permitting, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the day, with a resulting rich and tasty crab leg dinner. Another nice perk of grilling, is that you can combine the joys experienced with baking and broiling. Your, destined for the grill, crab legs can be marinated ahead of time (as with baking) or simply basted while cooking (as with broiling).
How to Grill my Crab Legs…
Grilled crab legs should be thoroughly thawed before being grilled, this will provide the best results. Drippage from ‘thawing while cooking’ legs could cause flare-ups, potentially risking a burnt leg instead of a grilled leg.
Preheat your grill to medium heat (about 350°F-400°F). Grill crab legs for about 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until hot throughout. Let cool enough for you to handle before serving.
The all-time classic cooking method for crab legs! Steaming is an indirect cooking method, meaning that the product is not directly over fire, heat or flame, and cooked by the resulting steam of boiling liquid.
Why Should I Steam my Crab Legs?
The reason that steaming is the go-to for so many is that (one) it’s very easy to do and (two) locks in moisture, reducing the risk of potentially drying out your crab legs. The only downside to steaming is the clean up, you’ll need a seriously large pot and steamer basket to fit your clusters and you really can’t marinate or baste before or while the legs are steaming (you risk getting steamed in the process or the marinade will just be watered down). Albeit, like baking, steaming is a forgivable method if you accidentally forgot to thaw your crab legs.
How to Steam my Crab Legs…
Fill your steamer base to the recommended height with water (or boost flavor by using beer, wine or any other well flavored liquid) and bring to a boil). Fill your steamer basket with crab leg clusters (you may need to work in batches here, depending on how many crab legs will fit). Reduce heat to medium (just simmering the liquid) and steam for 10-12 minutes, thawed or 20-25 minutes, if frozen.
For our Crab Leg Loving Community
Hello fellow fans of the crab cluster, you’re in good company! We have four options for you from our Alaskan Crab Leg catalog; Alaskan Snow Crab Legs, Colossal Alaskan King Crab Legs, Colossal Dungeness Crab Legs and (our personal favorite) the Alaskan Crab Leg Sampler.
These meaty crabs are caught in the cool crisp waters of the North Pacific (where all the best big crabs are found). They are caught, cooked and shipped to preserve their freshness and flavor~these crab legs are a fan favorite.
Do you have a favorite crab leg cooking method? If so, feel free to share it with us! We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to cook our seafood. Post your images or recipes on any of our social pages. We can be found @cameronsseafoodonline on Instagram or @CameronsSeafood on Facebook.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron’s Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.