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Aug 3, 2009 08:11 PM

how do i know whether i am buying red king crab or blue king crab from the seller?

hey is there any sophisticate way to distinguish red king crab from blue king crab by visual and textual senses?
i am going to buy a specific amount of wights of red king crabs ,
and when it comes to flesh rate in the shells, should i buy severals or just one big red king crab?
which way do you think more economical such as the same weights of sevral king crabs in totall or of one big king crab?

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  1. Just curious...are you talking about king crab legs or a whole live king crab?
    Most likely if they're crab legs they are going to be red king crab.

    1. I kind of doubt you're going to find a whole red king crab.
      Most king crab legs sold are cooked then frozen-- legs that you will buy either thawed or frozen, but almost all have been cooked then frozen.
      Costco used to carry the 6/9 size which are some of the largest. (6-9 legs per 10 pounds) I think they've gone to a smaller size like 12/14. So it will depend on the size that will determine how many legs you're going to need.
      Figure 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of legs per person.

      19 Replies
      1. re: monku

        i will actually buy whole live red king crab because just legs will be insufficient for making addtional stock.
        so do you have some method to diffrentiate between red king crab and blue king crab alive?
        and how about flesh rate inside its shells?
        should i buy sevral small red king crabs or one big red king crab of same weight in total when it comes to the issue of how much more meat can i extract from these two options? ?

        1. re: hae young

          I seriously doubt you can find any live king crab, either red or blue, to buy. Maybe if you live in Alaska. If you do, let me know where.

          1. re: PBSF

            You can get live king crab in Chinatown in Boston. Can't help on the yield difference between red and blue.

            1. re: PBSF

              actually in my local big giant fish market, i can buy imported canadian lobster (not Main lobster)and red or blue king crab from several sellers if i am willing to. but the problem is the issues, above i mentioned, i ought to know before i buy any.

              1. re: hae young

                Maine lobsters and Canadaian lobsters are the same. It's not like they change their passport if they swim across the border. Or maybe they have dual citizenship. I've been seeing both this season under $6 a pound.
                If you are buying a whole King Crab just to have the body for stock you are spending a shite load more than just buying legs or claws then making stock with shrimp or lobster shells.
                If you are unsure I would order the Red King as it is indeed the most common. In fact blues are often sold as reds. Blues have larger claws so if you see Reds that are Huge like those sold at Costco in the past with large claws chances are they are really Blues. The most common fresh King crabs are Goldens which are smaller and from the Aleutian Islands Vs Bristol Bay.

                1. re: Fritter

                  i heard from many that if i am going to cook lobster and its variation dishes such as lobster bisque, it is better to buy fresh whole live lobsters. but why dont i need to buy whole live king crab if i want to cook its meat and variation?
                  is it due to some price considerations? lobsters are little bit cheaper than king crab in us?

                  1. re: hae young

                    Lobster in the U.S. is quite a bit cheaper than king crab legs. Live lobster right now can be had for around $5.99/lb and king crab legs at Costco run about $14/lb.

                    I don't know about the price on a live king crab because I've never seen them in a market around here, but in Chinese restaurants the going price for live king crab is about $20-$25/lb here in the Los Angeles area.

                    Let me know what it is where you are.....just curious.

                    1. re: monku

                      is the price of lobster per pound that you ar saying that of Maine?
                      i guess the price may differ in other states.

                      1. re: hae young

                        I'm in Los Angeles and that $5.99 Maine Lobster price is at the Asian markets around here. I've seen it as low as $4.99/lb.

                        Where are you located?

                        1. re: monku

                          at where i am located in, i occasionally see that king crabs are a little bit cheaper than lobsters.
                          BTW, do you think the meat ratio of a whole live king crab per pound might be similar that of lobsters?
                          i called my local fish monger and asked how much is the king crab per pouund.
                          he told me that it is presently a little bit more than $8.50

                          1. re: hae young

                            Off the top of my head I'd say the meat ratio of a whole live king crab is higher than that of a Maine lobster.

                            No where I can think in the US where king crabs are a cheaper than Maine lobsters. I think the boat to processor price for king crab this year was $5/pound whereas the Maine Lobsters were fetching about $2/pound. So I don't know where you're shopping.

                            Where is it that you're located? I'm curious.

                            1. re: hae young

                              $8.50/pound is a good price, as I mentioned before in Los Angeles at a Chinese restaurant they want $20-$25/pound for a whole cooked king crab. But, I've rarely seen live king crab in a market here, so I couldn't imagine what the price would be.

                              1. re: monku

                                i am now staying at Seoul, South korea. from what you said, it seems in here lobster is more luxurious food than king crab but vice versa in us.

                                1. re: hae young

                                  We have friends that just returned after three years in Seoul. Don't you have a Costco there?
                                  In regards to weights and cost a 10 pound king crab will yield roughly two pounds of flesh or 20%.
                                  Live Maine or Canadian Lobsters that run 1-1.25# yield roughly 4 ounces as long as they are hard shells or roughly the same 20%.
                                  This of course depends on the size and type of crab. You mentioned that you can get Reds or Blues which can be freakin huge. I hope you have a witches cauldron in your kitchen or a commercial steam kettle.
                                  I was under the impression that most live kings sold to the Asian market were Goldens as they are much smaller. You should know that the Alaskan King crab season is very short and depending on each fishery between october-January. If you buy live kings now they have been in the tank a long time unless Russia has a different season.
                                  Maine Lobsters are in season now. At $6 a pound retail the net cost is roughly $1.88 an ounce.
                                  A ten pound live King even at whole sale might average $18 a pound or roughly $5.63 an ounce. For most here they would be adding some hefty over night air freight to that as well. I have bought live deep water crabs in the past but mostly for center pieces on large buffets. It's just not cost effective. Unlike Lobsters deep water crabs don't usually survive more than a few days out of the water.
                                  Here's an article some might find interesting.
                                  Hope this helps and give Costco a try if you can.


                                  1. re: Fritter

                                    yes, there are sevrale costcos in seoul and around it. i saw cooked frozen legs of king crab in there. even though it was not priced as hefty, i found them not so appealing yet because i and my family didnt taste any fresh king crab since we were born. beside that, actually it seems the prices of king crab change every day and depend on whether supplies of king crabs are enough or not as the sellers claim. as you mentioned i confirmed that sometimes the price reaches $18 or more than that. according to the seller, if i buy live whole king crab (red or blue) , they say it is certainly not the lowest possible price right now but neither the highest possible price i can expect. so i am going to check visually with my other senses in the fish market whether buying whole live king crab tomrrow is really worthwhile first experience for my family and me. and i found the web site that may tell some method to distinguish which is red and blue king crab, belive or not.
                                    to be honest, i am not really sure if this graphic measurement is really good way to find which is which.

                                    1. re: hae young

                                      I sincerely hope it works out for you but either way I think most of us here would agree that frozen king crab really is an excellent product over all.

                                      1. re: Fritter

                                        thanks. i will keep your advice in mind in fish market

                    2. re: Fritter

                      Yes maine and Canadian lobsters are the same, but only that. Maine lobsters taste sweeter and 95% of your Canadian lobster that u eat, have been sitting in a pound, tube,crate, for several months, when a lobster is stored for long periods of time it loses its flavor and its meat content is lost.

                    3. re: hae young

                      Larger the legs on a crab the larger the yield of meat your're going to get, so you're better off buying the larger crab(s).

                      If you have places that sell live red and blue king crabs, I'm sure the seller will be able to tell you which is which.

                1. If you are buying them live red king crab should look dark burgundy in color while blue king crab is brown with royal blue highlights -

                  After cooking however, both red and blue look quite similar with only subtle differences in coloring. This is why blue king crab is often sold as the more popular red.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CDouglas

                    It can be tougher to tell after they are cooked but Blues are orange and the claws are bigger. Reds really are RED when cooked.
                    Look at the size of the claw in that photo.

                  2. yesterday which is saturday, i went very erly in the morning to the fish market. an i found the seller i visited before two times, i think the sellers in there tend to think that i am for a some types of retarant business. i asked her whther she have both red and blue king crab.
                    she bragged about her red king crabs, claiming they just came out from early morning auction. she seemed to be even a little arrogant because of her confidence in her red king crab. i beliveved her and her store.
                    she packed 3 red king crabs in a ice box made of styrofaoam as usual. and i brought back and didnt open the box untill alomst 10 hours passed. they were still alive even before i cooked. i steamed them one by one because my pot are not really big enought to fill three of them at once.
                    and when it comes to eating, i was really satisfied by sheere meats inside the king crabs' huge legs. my family all enjoyed. shells were not so hard that we dont have any difficulty for cutting the legs easily. while i was steaming the king crabs, i found red king crabs smell less than lobsters or other kinds of crabs. when i asked her where are those red king crabs from, she answered they are from russia. i dindt aske whethre there is the quater of king crabs in russia.
                    but i heard from other seller that the king crabs these korean marketes sells were not restricted from those limite of season.
                    i dont know whether it is true. but anyway i trust the seller i purchased from.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hae young

                      and in my subjective comaprison of taste between lobsters and red king crabs i have eaten,
                      thise red king crab was sweeter and softer than lobsters but while i was eating their meats, i was miising the a little chewiness of lobster. true. when i bought the lobsters more than 5 pounds, they were quiet too chewy, but lobster, less than those pounds, were very pleasureable.

                      1. re: hae young

                        hey! is there anyone who cooked king crab bisque?
                        i made bisque from the stock of king crab i cooked from the scratch.
                        but unlike last time i had made lobster bisque out of its stock, the king crab bisque wasnt sweet enough rather it was very bitter. it is maybe i put all the tomalle into the stock.
                        but i dont know why my king crab bisque isnt really sweet enough.
                        this time i omitt adding onions and celery. i just added tomato paste and tarragon, carrot.
                        the flesh of king crab was very sweet.
                        actually i do not delve into eating all parts of lobster such as lobster head or body.
                        but when our familly ate the king crab, we do not waste any parts of flesh.
                        do you think the cause we didnt left any meat out of king crab made the stock very bitter and un-sweet?