How To Cook Crab: Tips From Your Favorite Local Seafood Restaurant

In our last post, we took a look at our recommended way of preparing and selecting crab. We offered up some tricks of the trade with regards to choosing live (and active) crab, in addition to getting into some details about the picking process.

We also shone the spotlight on our variety of crab dishes we have on offer at Mulligan’s Beach House Bar & Grill. Among said crab dishes, some of our most popular remain Key West Crab Cakes, King Crab Legs, and Crab Benedict. And with tropical, family-friendly restaurant locations in Lake Worth, Jensen Beach, Vero Beach, and in other locations, you’re never too far away from outstanding fresh seafood.

That being said, we made the point last time (and we’ll make it again) that it’s often not possible for people to come see us at Mulligan’s every time they get a hankering for shellfish. Now, we are an affordable seafood and fish restaurant – don’t get us wrong – but there are simply few people who can afford to eat out so frequently. Our point is that, however much it might pain us to think of you getting your seafood fix somewhere else, your home is certainly the least painful location we can imagine. What’s more, we’d like to carry on with our tip-giving ways so that you can be confident and well-prepared to cook some delicious crab legs, should the mood strike.

Many people can get intimidated by the mere appearance of those foreboding, gigantic Alaskan crab legs. But honestly, it’s not so bad and it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of what you are doing. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at a few different ways you can prepare crab, including steaming, baking, and broiling crab legs. All that said, keep reading if you are interested in gleaning some cooking-method tips from Mulligan’s Beach House Bar & Grill!

Crab Cooking Tips

Before we dive into preparation techniques, let’s start with some prerequisites. Now, if there’s one thing you remember after reading this blog, perhaps it should be that crab should nearly always be eaten on the same day it’s been bought. It’s not vital, per se, as crab meat can keep in the refrigerator for two days. But with each passing day, you’ll be sacrificing quality and taste. Given the fact that eating crab is somewhat of a special treat, we recommend following through and making a day of it! Here are a few other tips about the selection process, just for review:

  • When you buy live crab, it should smell fresh and somewhat briny, but never fishy. It should look clean and vibrant to indicate health as well.
  • Live crabs should be active, so try to avoid crab housed in water, as this exhausts crabs struggling for breath.
  • Crab meat that has been cooked should have no fishy odor or traces of ammonia. The meat itself should be white as snow, predominantly.
  • Be sure to separate cooked crab meat from raw meat, as bacteria can migrate from uncooked to cooked portion.

General Tips

Here are some crab leg-specific tips many find helpful.

  • Consider adding a bit of minced garlic to your melted butter for dipping. You could even brown the garlic in the butter to pull more flavor out of the minced garlic.
  • If you are electing the boiling or baking route, you can use olive oil as a butter replacement. If you are looking to eat healthier, prefer the vegan option, or simply like the taste of olive oil, this could be a good option for you.
  • One pound of crab leg per person should be close to the right amount, depending on the appetites of those in your party.
  • Melted butter is great, especially with garlic, but clarified butter is something else altogether!
  • If the crab legs you’ve purchased are frozen and have red shells, they’ve been pre-cooked. Still, it’s safe to double check with the market attendant to be sure.
  • If you have pre-cooked crab legs, you can eat them cold, should you so desire. Just make sure they’ve thawed first!
  • Alaskan king crab legs almost always come pre-cooked, as they are cooked almost immediately after having been caught. Yes, they are cooked on the boat! Then they are frozen, which helps lock in flavor and freshness. And considering the fact that Florida is a bit of a drive away from Alaska, we here at Mulligan’s consider that a very good thing!
  • In order to defrost crab legs, you can place them in your refrigerator for right around eight hours. Consider placing them in a watertight container so they can drain while they thaw.

Steaming Crab Legs

  • Pour two cups of water in a large pot (or a steamer, if you’ve got one). Add a tablespoon of salt and bring the water to a boil.
  • Enter the crab legs. Place them on a rack in the bottom of the pan or into the steaming basket.
  • Start timing once the water begins to boil again.
  • Steam the crab somewhere between five to seven minutes. A good way to tell they are done is to make sure they are warm while you are able to smell their sweet scent. Again, these legs have been cooked already, so make sure you don’t over do them.
  • Take them off the heat, serve with some delicious melted-garlic butter and lemon wedges for acidity. Delicious!

Baking Or Broiling Crab Legs

  • In order to broil your crab legs, set your oven rack to roughly five inches below the top heating element. Preheat your oven to broil.
  • In order to bake your crab legs, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with your oven rack in the middle.
  • Soak and rinse the legs. Pat them dry. Cut through the legs on their underside with a sharp pair of scissors. A sharp knife works too.
  • Place them on a baking pan, individually, with the cut-side facing up. Brush with a lemon juice and butter mixture.
  • Broil between three to four minutes. Bake for roughly eight minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Look out for a future post in which we’ll address other ways of cooking crab, like boiling, grilling, or even microwaving!

Be sure to come visit us over here at Mulligan’s too!