Who doesn't love a crab boil? The succulent seafood, the aromatic spices, the steaming hot broth...it's no wonder this dish is a summertime favorite. But if you are hosting, how many pounds of crab legs do you need per person?
On average, 1-2 pounds of crab legs is sufficient for one person as an entrée. You could go with less, especially if you are serving other seafood or have other appetizers beforehand. If it's just crab for dinner, then you might want to consider 2-3 pounds per person so your guests can enjoy seconds (and maybe thirds!).
Since crab legs are on the pricier side, you'll want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. In this article, we will discuss choosing the right crab legs for your boil, the importance of properly seasoning them, and how many pounds you should buy per person. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about cooking crab legs, so read on!
How Many Pounds Of Crabs Legs Should I Buy For A Boil?
Even if you live on the coast, the cost of crab can add up quickly. The good news is it's always worth it. Crab is not only delicious, but it's also a healthier seafood option. Crab is low in mercury and high in protein and omega-3s.
If you want to host your own crab leg boil, you'll need to purchase enough crab legs to feed your guests. Depending on how many people you are inviting, this could be a lot of crabs! So, how many pounds of crab legs should you buy per person?
The answer really depends on how much seafood your guests eat and whether you are serving other dishes. On average, 1-2 pounds of crab legs is enough for one guest. However, if your guests love crabs legs, then you can up the amount to 2-3 pounds per person.
It's always better to have too much crab than not enough. No one will be upset if there are leftovers, but your guests will be disappointed if they don't get their fill of crab legs.
To get the most out of your purchase, choosing the right type of crab legs is important. Not all crab legs are created equal! You'll want to make sure you select crab legs that are plump and full of meat.
The claw of the crab is the most popular part because it contains the most meat. If you want to save some money, you can purchase "sections" which are simply smaller pieces of crab legs. These are great for appetizers or if you are feeding a large crowd.
When selecting your crab legs, make sure to avoid any that are discolored or have broken shells. These crabs are not as fresh and will not taste as good.
How Do You Boil Crab Legs?
Boiling crab legs is pretty straightforward, but you still need to do it right to ensure that your crab is cooked properly. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Fill a large pot with enough water to completely cover the crab legs.
- Add in any aromatics or seasonings you want. Common additions included bay seasoning, vinegar, garlic, and lemon. You can also buy crab boil seasoning at most grocery stores.
- Turn up the heat and bring the water to a boil.
- Add the crab legs to the pot and let them cook for 3-5 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pot, or the crab legs will not cook evenly.
- Once the crab legs are cooked, remove them from the pot with a pair of tongs, and let them cool.
- Serve with melted butter and garlic, and enjoy!
It's important to note that frozen crab legs are typically precooked. So, be sure not to overcook them, or they will be rubbery.
How Do You Know When Fresh Crab Legs Are Done Boiling?
Fresh crab legs will take longer to boil than frozen crab legs. Depending on the size, they can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes to cook through.
You'll know the crab legs are done boiling when they turn a bright red color. At this point, you can remove them from the pot and let them cool before eating.
If you want to be extra sure that your crab legs are cooked through, you can use a meat thermometer. Fresh crab legs should be heated to an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep in mind that the crab legs will continue to cook a little bit after you remove them from the pot, so don't overcook them!
Is It Better To Steam Or Boil Crab?
While it's a matter of preference, most people think boiled crab tastes better. This is because the boiling process helps to infuse the crab with all of the flavors from the seasonings and aromatics you've added to the pot.
Steaming crab is a healthier option because it doesn't require any additional fat or oils. However, some people find that steamed crab lacks flavor.
If you want to steam crab legs, the process is similar to boiling. Simply follow these steps:
- Fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the crab legs and add in any seasonings or aromatics.
- Bring the water to a boil, and then place the crab legs in a steamer basket.
- Cover the pot, and let the crab legs steam for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the crab legs from the pot and let them cool before eating.
Should I Put Beer In My Seafood Boil?
It might seem crazy, but adding beer to your seafood boil can actually improve the flavor of your crab legs! The beer will help to infuse the crab with a subtle hoppy flavor.
You choose a beer of your liking and do a 1:1 ratio of beer to water. So, if you're using 1 gallon of water, you'll add 1 gallon of beer.
Like a normal boil, add your old bay seasoning, lemon, garlic, and any other aromatics. Then, bring the mixture to a boil, and add in the crab legs.
After boiling for 3-5 minutes (for pre-cooked crab), remove the crab legs from the pot, and let them cool. Serve with melted butter, and enjoy!
Can I Bake Crab Legs Instead Of Boiling Them?
Yes, you can bake crab legs instead of boiling them. Baking is a good option if you are afraid your crab legs will get waterlogged from boiling.
- To bake crab legs, preheat your oven to 370-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the crab legs on a baking sheet, and brush them with melted butter.
- You can also add garlic, old bay seasoning, or any other seasonings you like.
- Bake the crab legs for 10-15 minutes or until they are heated through.
- Remove the crab legs from the oven, and let them cool before eating.
Baking crab legs is an easy way to cook them without having to deal with a big pot of boiling water. However, some people find that baked crab legs lack flavor.
It's worth experimenting with both methods to see which you prefer!
How Long Do Crab Legs Last In The Fridge?
Crab legs will last in the fridge for up to 2 days. After that, they will start to spoil and should be thrown out.
If you're not planning on eating the crab legs right away, you can store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just be sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil so they don't get freezer burn.
Thawing frozen crab legs is a quick and easy process. Just place them in the fridge overnight, and they will be thawed and ready to cook the next day. You can also thaw them in a bowl of cold water. Just be sure to cook the crab legs within 24 hours of thawing.
If you let them thaw too quickly, the crab legs will become dry and tough. So, it's best to thaw them slowly in the fridge.
How Do You Know When Crab Legs Have Expired?
Crab legs don't hide the fact that they've gone bad. You'll know as soon as you open the package.
Crab legs that have gone bad will have a strong fishy odor. They will also be slimy to the touch and may have started to turn brown or black. If you see any of these signs, throw the crab legs away immediately.
It's also important to check the expiration date on the package before you buy crab legs. If the date has passed, don't buy them! It's not worth the risk of eating expired seafood.
As you can see, preparing crab legs for a boil is a simple process. Just be sure to add seasonings or aromatics to the water for extra flavor. Just be sure you have enough crab legs for everyone because they tend to go fast!
Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful: