Alaskan Crab Legs: To Grill or to Steam? Which is best?

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How to cook crab

To grill your crab or steam it, which is best?  First off I want to make sure everyone knows that crab coming out of Alaska for consumption in the United States is already cooked.  Raw crab has way to man health risks, and must be cooked before heading your way to markets!

With this in mind the most basic thing to know when cooking crab is that your are just heating it up, because it is already cooked!  Like most seafood, time is very important.  Since the crab is already cooked you do not need to grill it or steam it for a long amount of time.

Let’s get into it.  Steaming your crab is my go to.  The main reason for this is that you can cook your crab from frozen this way.  Don’t mistake this for boiling crab.  Many people think you need to boil your crab.  When buying pre cooked crab a basic steam will do the trick in heating this crab back up.  Depending on how much Crab I am cooking I will go with 1/2″ to 2″ of water.  The more crab you cook, the bigger the pot you will need and more water.  Watch our “How to Cook Crab” video to see this process below.

Grilling crab or even baking it is another simple and quick way to cook crab.  The biggest tip here it to make sure you thaw your crab before grilling or baking.  Why?  Unlike steaming your crab, you do not want to grill or bake the crab from frozen.  This is because your crab will have a layer of glaze on it.  This is a protective layer of water frozen around the crab intended to protect it while the crab is in the freezer.  If you put frozen crab directly into the oven or grill you will have a mess of water all over.  Once you thaw the crab you can put it directly on the grill or on a baking sheet in the oven.  This can be a great way to cook King Crab legs as they are so big and it can be hard to find a pot to steam them in.  I like to get my grill up to around 400 degrees.  I do use spray on the grill to prevent sticking.  From here I usually go 5-7 minutes on each side.  Once the meat section of the leg is hot to the touch you are ready to go.  Keep an eye on this as you do not need to leave this crab on the grill for a long time!

Enjoy!

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