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Culinary Arts: Grilled Crabs or Barbecued Crabs, with Video

Updated on May 19, 2011

culinary arts - crab recipes - BBQ cooking

Good morning, online cooking school students! Today’s culinary art is crab recipes, or more specifically, BBQ cooking or grilled crabs. Some of you refer to this dish as barbecued crab, since it’s cooked on the barbie. In the South, however, “barbecued” usually means something coated in a tomato or mustard-based sauce before being grilled.

I’m writing this hub in response to a request made by Hubpages’ Paul Edmondson. He asked how to barbecue crabs. Yes, it might sound strange, but it can be done, and the results are quite tasty! I have no idea if he meant whole crabs, crab legs, or softshell crabs, so I’ll provide methods for grilling all three. Just be sure that your grill is clean and oiled before attempting to grill crabs – especially the softshell variety.

To season your crabs, use freshly ground black peppr, paprika, red pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper, or cayenne. You can also used a blend like Old Bay.

Grilled crab legs

This method works well for Alaskan king crab legs and for snowcrab legs. The legs have already been cooked when you buy them, so all you’re really doing is heating them and adding flavor when you grill them. Make sure the legs are completely thawed.

We usually pierce the legs in several places with an ice pick or the point of a sharp knife. Next, make a mixture of melted butter, lime juice, and seasonings and allow the legs to soak in the liquid for about 15 minutes. Cook over medium-hot coals, 4-5 minutes per side.

Grilled whole crabs

This grilling process works for blue crabs and Dungeness crabs. You can buy these live, but it’s a lot more fun to catch your own! Learn how here. You’ll need to kill and clean the crabs before grilling. Follow the steps for that here.

Next, mix together ¼ cup melted butter or olive oil, ¼ cup white wine or white wine vinegar, and seasonings in a bowl. Dip grabs in the mixture, then cook on a closed grill over medium-hot coals for about 5 minutes per side.

Grilled softshell crabs

Softshell crabs are crabs that are in the molting phase. Their old shell is gone, and their new one hasn’t hardened yet. In my opinion, these are the best crabs for the grill.

You eat almost all parts of a softshell crab, but before you cook it, you need to kill it. This is generally done by cutting off the face. Do this easily with a pair of kitchen scissors, being sure to remove the eyes and mouth. After that, you simply reach in and remove the sand bag or sac, pull off the apron, and scrape the gills away under running water. (For more information on how to do this, watch the video below.)

Next, dip the crabs in melted butter and sprinkle with seasoning. I like Old Bay for this. Cook the crabs on an oiled grill or in an oiled fish basket, with the grill lid down, over medium-hot coals, 5-6 minutes per side, depending on the size and thickness of the crab.

To read more about culinary arts in my online cooking classes and online cooking school, follow the links below!

Learn to grill crab in my online cooking classes!
Learn to grill crab in my online cooking classes!

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