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Oct 12, 2006 01:30 PM

How to cook king crab legs?

Hello -

I would like to cook some king crab legs, but do not want a boil or any sort of a fry.

Any suggestions? I thought something with a Chinese black bean sauce might be nice.


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  1. I only do them one way. I put a wet piece of paper towel in a zip lock bag. Put the legs in and seal it up. Microwave on high for a couple minutes.
    Serve with melted garlic butter.

    That said, I did shell some once and made po'boys. They were incredible.


    1. Steaming the crab legs is the best way in my opinion.

      A large pot, a steamer insert, some water, old bay, tobasco, garlic, and onion, steam for about 10 mins...crack em and eat em , I think the King doesnt need butter.

      Or I steam them with red potatoes, Kilbasa, corn on the cob and shrimp... same water/old bay mix..

      Or throw them on the grill, or shell and use in other recipies.

      1. I just had some last night - I put them in a foil pouch with a splash of water and threw them in the oven for 5-10 minutes. If I can stop eating them right after I pick the meat from the shell, I'll dip it in some butter. I've also tossed it in with some shrimp scampi before and served it over pasta

        1. I have cooked (or, more accurately, reheated) crab legs for many years. A few years ago, Alton Brown and his Good Eats program suggested the microwaving technique (including adding some dill to the wet paper towel and saran wrap/plastic bag preparation). I tried it several times but was never satisfied with the result. Though it is cute and counter-intuative to "cook" such an expensive, high-end ingredient in the microwave, I strongly urge against it. It is adequate, but mere adequacy is not what you are looking for when you are preparing a $20/pound ingredient.

          As crab is always cooked and then flash frozen at the dock, all you are doing is reheating it, so you want to apply the most gentle method of reheating that you can. I think steaming works the best, but if you are adept at reheating in the oven, you can certainly do that (though you risk drying the meat out if you are not careful). Steaming is a simple matter and I find no need for anything other than plain water in my pot as crab is delicately and perfectly flavored on its own (but others may differ). Be careful not to heat the crab for too long as you do not want to actually cook anything. If possible, I recommend smaller batches of evenly sized pieces so that smaller pieces are not overcooked while larger pieces heat through, but if you are careful you can heat your entire batch at the same time. I cannot stress enough, though, that you do not want to overcook the meat. Since the meat is already cooked, the only negative to under"cooked" crab is that it will be slightly cold. This is far preferrable to overcooking.

          As for preparations, I am with the melted butter and nothing else camp (or, as one poster suggested, even omitting the butter). Still, any crab recipe that calls for lump crab meat can be turned into a true delicacy (albeit an expensive one) with the substitution of king crab meat. I have made extremely tasty crab cakes with king crab meat, but you must be careful how you prepare them. Many crab cake recipes call for too little crab and end up with a taste that is predominately that of the filler (bread crumbs, celery, etc.). I recommend using a very large ratio of crab to other ingredients (there is no point in using high-end crab and then masking or muddying its flavor), using crushed Ritz crackers for your breading needs and the inclusion of corn.

          Also, if you want to use the crab in an out of the shell, cold preparation, using whipped heavy cream with salt added (not sugar) works very well to bind the crab together and do the work that the melted butter would do.

          1 Reply
          1. re: drawnbutter

            You could not be more correct when you say, " I strongly urge against it" because not only does it change the texture of the crab meat, it makes it tougher......

          2. The legs probably are already cooked - this is normally done right after catching, especially if they come from Alaska.