Sticking King Crab Legs

by Peter Lakin

I steamed my king crab legs for the recommended time but the meat was stuck to the shell. I think they were not packed or first cooked properly.

To get your king crab legs to quit sticking to the shell, after you have steamed them, and they are good and hot, emerge them in cold water for just a few seconds. This should loosen the meat away from shell and still be plenty warm for cracking and eating.

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Why Snow Crab Sticks to Shell

by Shoebooties
(North Carolina)

Why does frozen snow crab leg meat sometimes stick to the shell? We own a restaurant where we do "All You Can Eat" Crab Legs once a week. We use a pickling spice to boil them in which is very popular with our customers and most of the times, the snow crab leg meat comes out easily from the shell. But occasionally, with some clusters the meat is very difficult to get out of the shell. Is there something we might be inadvertently doing that could be causing this? A few customers have suggested they're overcooked when it happens, but we are cooking them in a fairly consistent manner each time. I'd appreciate any advice. Our crab legs are a big hit with our customers & I'd like them to be satisfied with the experience of eating them 100% of the time. Thank you.

We applaud your dedication to your patrons satisfaction at your restaurant! To get down to the answer to the problem with the snow crab legs sticking to some legs, we may agree with the answer as being "over cooked." When you get the snow crabs, have they already been processed and previously frozen before they are shipped to your restaurant? Being in North Carolina, we suspect the answer is "yes." With this said, they have already been boiled and cleaned.
Perhaps "steaming the crab legs" using your pickling spice in the steamy water will help? We suggest this as "if" they have already been processed (boiled and cleaned) there is no reason to reboil the crab legs. You very well could be over cooking them.
Steaming already boiled and cleaned legs is the way to go after they have been processed and previously frozen. Steaming the crab legs doesn't continue to cook them, it merely reheats the crab legs and keeps them hot till ready to crack! Perhaps experiment with this method and come back and let us know how it faired!

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Crab Meat Sticking to Shell

by James
(Vancouver, B.C.)

Why does crab meat sometimes stick to the shell?
I have had this happen in the past and I am wondering why? I would like to get it out of the shell in whole pieces.

Are the reasons, too high of heat, or cooking the crabs too long or not long enough?
I steam half crabs pre-cut/cleaned and frozen.

Hi, there, James!
Sounds like you are doing everything fine. We're wondering what kind of crab you may be refering to? We've, personally, never had trouble with the crab meat sticking to the shell with King Crab.
With fresh dungeness crab we have caught we have sometimes had similar experiences, though not bad. Could be a result of the fact that they are pre-cooked, pre-frozen. All in all, crab meat sticking to the shell is not big problem whether pre-frozen or fresh. We understand it's nice to have the "bigger chunks" of crab meat for certain dishes; crab cakes, crab lasagna!...
If it is at all possible, try to find some "fresh" crab and see if your luck changes. We really don't believe you're cooking them too long or not long enough.

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