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Fresh Lump Crabmeat

I'm making a very simple crabmeat dish for the holidays in which the CRAB is the real star. Therefore, I need startlingly fresh crabmeat. The fish market I sometimes use won't give me the lowdown on how long it's been in the case or what day the fresh stuff appears. I've smelled some and it's not so fresh indeed. I need Fresh. Thanks all!!!

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  1. SANTA MONICA SEAFOOD on Colorado and 13th in SM. The best fresh crab you can find. I buy it all the time!

    1 Reply
    1. re: cupcake

      Good luck with Santa Monica Seafood before Christmas! Last year I waited in line for over 2 hours just to get inside the store. I agree that their selection is the best, but is there a less tortuous option for fresh crab this time of year?

    2. If your fish market won't give you "the lowdown on how long it's been in the case or what day the fresh stuff appears", you def need to go from "sometimes use" to Never Use Again. If the fish stinks so does the fishmonger.
      It'd be a big help if you mentioned what part of town you're in.
      In Glendale- Fish King, 742 N Glendale Ave, rules.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ilikefood

        The place in question IS Fish King. Their lump crab is from a can, just ask. The manager said once they open it, the crab has a shelf life of 3-4 days but politely evaded my query as to what day I could come in for the "freshly opened" stuff. The sign in the case says "fresh," a term which nowadays is meaningless. I bought a bit to try anyway and it smells pretty fishy. I really can't believe it since I have successfully depended on them many times, though there have been a few times in past years where the fish could have been fresher.

        1. re: Hungry4Good

          I stand corrected about Fish King re:lump crabmeat, and evidently what they called "fresh" is pasteurized.

      2. Costco
        Buy King Crab legs and use it in your recipes. 10.99lb is cheap for REAL Crab.

        4 Replies
        1. re: russkar

          Their crab is fresh, but you can't get lump crab meat from crab legs.

          1. re: hrhboo

            Yeah, that's the point, King crab works better than Lump in anything. I get Fresh Lump from Mexico and Texas but prefer King Crab.

            1. re: russkar

              iagree - why use lump when you can use king crab leggs - the key is to how well you chop it up...if not enough, may cause problems...then again, not sure what the recipe is...i was thinking crab cakes but i doubt that's what's being made...also...i do like costco's crab legs...but fresh?? are you sure ? i always thought thet were flash frozen then delivered to the States...am i wrong on that ?

              1. re: kjs

                kjs- You are correct about all king crab legs we see being flash frozen, but that doesn't mean they're not a good choice for crab meat dishes, of course they are- they taste so good.

        2. Another thread on the boards (sorry, can't give you the post title) had a post talking about the wonderfully fresh crab meat at Costco. Since I'm not a member there, I can't stipulate as to how fresh this is, but the post seemed to be very pleased with the product. If you have a Costco nearby, it might be an option. Plus, as I hear, Costco want to please you as a customer, AND there's decent turnover of product.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cayjohan

            I think that, other than legs, the only crabmeat they have is in cans (?)

          2. Fish King, in Glendale. I've been buying fish and seafood there for seven years and have never had anything less than perfect from there. They'll tell you when it was cut up (probably that morning).

            Cheap it ain't -- lump crabmeat is $25.95 a pound... but you say you want fresh, this is a guy who fights with the sushi chefs for the best fish in the downtown market every morning at oh-dark-thirty.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Lump Crab meat at IMP (San Pedro & 7th) is 15- per lb. Unfortunately all Lump Crab is Pasteurized so it doesn't spoil in 2 days. Costco King Crab for 10.99 seems like a deal, huh?

              1. re: russkar

                The OP didn't ask for king crab, asked for lump crabmeat. While king crab is good, it's not lump crabmeat and isn't the same at all... not to mention that you have to buy twice as much king crab as lump crabmeat because you're paying for the shell... so a pound of meat costs $15 at IMP (I'll take your word for it, I don't go downtown, it's against my religion), but a pound of meat out of king crab legs from Costco costs $20 because you can't buy a pound of legs and get a pound of meat out of it.

                (I may be wrong on the proportion, but my point stands.)

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Actually from experience the Shell of King Crab is very light and yields approx 75 percent Meat (15-lb shelled). I have yet to find any Crab Dish that King Crab doesn't work better in, including Crab Cakes. Because of the High Cost in the Past of King Crab, substitutes were desired. Today the prices are way down thanks to the Russian Red King Crab.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Actually OP didn't ask specifically for lump crabmeat, asked for "startlingly fresh crabmeat". Since King crab legs are frozen that may rule them out for OP but not for me. After splitting about 1 3/4 lb of KCL's w/ my wife Sat night, I agree w/ russkar that you're getting a very high percentage of meat. The bowl of shells weighed about the same as the bowl w/o the shells. And the price is right- besides Costco, 99 Ranch Market has them for about $10/lb. Also Von's/Pavillion's has them on sale for $10/lb on a reg basis (such as thru tomorrow).

                2. re: Das Ubergeek

                  For sure - this is the best that I know of for lump crab (and other fishly needs.)

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I hate to break the news, but the $25.95 lump crabmeat at Fish King is from the can. I confirmed this with the manager today. I bought a small bit to try (since I'm too shy to ask if I can smell it) and upon later examination, the smell was relatively, well, fishy (relative to fresh, that is.) I had assumed that at Fish King of all places it would have been processed fresh on site. Anyway, thanks for your input! The search continues.

                    1. re: Hungry4Good

                      Well that's crummy! Good to know, though - thanks for the heads up.

                      1. re: Hungry4Good

                        Gelson's, too, sells lump crabmeat from a can, although it is a refrigerated can (not something that has been packaged to live a long time on a shelf). I've used it before in cooked crab dishes before and it tasted great.

                        Interesting to know that about the product they sell at Fish King. I have to say I've never bought lump crabmeat there, although I have, on numerous ocassions, purchased their chilled, whole crabs and they are always delicious.

                        If they don't sell lump crabmeat prepared in-house at either Fish King or Gelson's, I wonder if there is anywhere in town that sells it? I'd guess it would be exhorbitant, if the lump crabmeat both carry that's been prepared off-site is $25.95 a pound.

                        1. re: DanaB

                          I wonder if there is somewhere too!

                    2. Best of luck to you. Maybe try cupcake's suggestion of Santa Monica Seafood. I'm a transplant from the gulf coast where nobody buys anything if there's so much as a subtle suggestion of un-freshness. The standards are different here, I guess. I was in Bristol Farms last week and I had to detour the seafood area because it stank so bad.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jnc

                        I used to be a loyal Bristol customer because I could depend on their seafood to be consistently good-to-great...This is no longer true, however. There were definitely some quality changes that occurred when Albertson's bought them, and I just haven't found them to be dependable. I like some of their items some of the time (their produce is still quite good), but I just never know about the seafood -- and when I get my purchase home, it's too late!

                      2. I just talked to someone at Fish King who said they can get FRESH (I asked him twice)lump crabmeat special ordered about 2 days in advance for $32.50/lb. Didn't get his name but call them at 818-244-2161.
                        I thought lump crabmeat was just large pieces of any crab. After just educating myself I found out it's chunks fr: the muscles of the rear/swimming legs of Blue Crabs. The guy at Fish King confirmed their's is Blue Crab.
                        Is lump crabmeat what you're looking for? You only specified "startlingly fresh crabmeat". For the freshest you'll have to buy live crabs (Dungeness, Blue & others avail now), steam em yourself get some extra hands and do the labor (on the bright side you'll save some $$). Otherwise you might try Fish King again.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ilikefood

                          Most of the Lump Crab comes from Louisiana Seafood in LA which is the main importer. They sell it to the local Wholesale Fish Markets. Fresh Lump Blue Crab is 15- wholesale and is normally pasteurized because of it's 48hr lifespan, shipping takes up 24hrs so "true" fresh is unlikely. Pasteurized Fresh is Boiled at high heat and shipped. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Frozen King Crab, which is Fresh frozen at Sea.

                          1. re: russkar

                            OK, so based on what russkar just wrote, other pertinent posts on the topic & my research- you're not gonna get true fresh lump crabmeat in LA w/o buying the live crabs and doing the labor.

                        2. Get your crab flown in from maryland/DC/virginia (blue crabs) or it is not worth eating--nor paying a fortune for. Seriously. You might call Hungry Cat and see if they'll cough up the name of a supplier. The chef is from Maryland and knows what he's doing. Whether he'll share sources...that's another question!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sarah.m.m.

                            Thank you, sarah, and all the rest of you for your kind help and advice. If I find something of interest during my search I'll report back to you.

                            1. re: Hungry4Good

                              So I was at the Gelson's in Silverlake, and they did not have the canned crabmeat that I've seen there before. They had snow crabmeat that was in a block (obviously previously frozen) for something well over $20 per pound, and they had dungenous crab claw meat at $30+ per pound. It too had been previously frozen. Both looked good, though.

                          2. Wholefoods --- it came in a vaccum sealed bag, the butcher promised it was fresh...it was tasty, but I mixed it with a marinana sauce. I'd probably go with Santa Monica Seafood.

                            1. To get really fresh ones, you'll have to do the labor intensive stuff yourself.

                              Buy fresh blue crabs from the chinese grocery stores like 99, and cook it and pick out the meat yourself. You can do this ahead of time and it's still better than the canned stuff.

                              We used to do this all the time growing up and you can't get fresher meat than that.