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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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    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Billy, thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Give it a try, Nancy!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      These King crabs sound simply divine - I have never had them grilled either - sounds like it is time to.

    • nancy_30 profile image

      nancy_30 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I love this hub. I've never tried to grill them. Thanks for teaching me how.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hello again, sameerk!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Buckwheat!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Wendy, lucky you!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Sam! Thanks for stopping by!

    • sameerk profile image

      sameerk 

      8 years ago from India

      wow me too

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Niko, I love the bacon-wrapped softshells and have a hub about them, but I haven't posted it yet! I haven't tried them on buns, however!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I hope you're right, Katie!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Polly, I bet those were great!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Good, Pam. Hope you like it!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Give 'em a try, Jim!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Lol, HH - it's the South GA water that keeps me looking half my age!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Veronica, that 100 never stays long! lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Glad you stopped by, Ron!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Eth! I do, too!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, justcandy!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      MPG, I've never tried mud crabs!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Me, too, Chris!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Kaie! thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Oh no, mrpopo! That's terrible!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Sheila, was it a barbecue sauce or more of a honey mustard sauce?? Was it sweet? What color was it?

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Viryabo, let me know how they turn out!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 

      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Looks good, I will have to share this article with my niece too; she loves crab. Good idea, never though about grilling them.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Lovely! I seriously need to revisit the crab issue as I love it. Maybe that would be a good place to start - just the basics!

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 

      8 years ago from Maryland

      We love crabs here (being from Maryland) and eat them all summer. I have never grilled them though. Great ideas!

    • samboiam profile image

      samboiam 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I love crab. Living in east Texas we don't have the opportunity to partake in fresh crabs to often. But it sure sounds and looks delicious.

    • nikonmaven profile image

      nikonmaven 

      8 years ago from Weatherford, Oklahoma

      From my Virginia boyhood: a softshell crab grilled with a slice of bacon wrapped around it, placed on a bun with tartar sauce. Enough cholesterol to stop your heart, but in those days we didn't worry.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      habee, I'm with Pollyannalana, I'm sure many folks will make great use of your fab crabs on the barbie, grilled or barbecued. Great tutorial. Thanks and Peace :)

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 

      8 years ago from US

      Wow girl you should have saved this for the hubbalicious, this sounds like a winner to me! I love crab meat and my husband doesn't although I have serious doubts he has ever tried it, so I never get it. My sister use to live near Ocean City, Maryland (think I got that right) and she made the most delicious crab cakes which is how I found out I eve liked it at all.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from United States

      Habee, What a great way to cook crab legs. I'm tying that very soon! Good hub.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      omg! This looks delicious. I've never cooked anything like this on the grill, but man this really looks interesting.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for another great hub. Habee, you reach 100 and yet you look so young. Well done hahaha Serious, congratulation and you deserved it.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I've never thought about grilling or barbecuing crabs before. What a great idea. Congrats on your score of 100 05/26/2010

    • rprcarz50 profile image

      rprcarz50 

      8 years ago

      Good Morning Haybee,

      Yummy , these type of foods are my favorites. Sounds just absoutley great.

      Nice work , and thanks to you.

      Ron

      As always also a2z50

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Love crab.

    • justcandylover profile image

      justcandylover 

      8 years ago from Nigeria

      so yummy! thanks

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Crab, especially mud crabs, are my favourite seafood and you have given me even more ideas on how to enjoy them, thanks Habee.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Habee: you're killin me, here... I LOVE CRAB!!!!!

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 

      8 years ago

      Love them grilled............ barbequed? might be worth a try!

      Kaie

    • mrpopo profile image

      mrpopo 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I absolutely love crab legs, but unfortunately am very allergic to them :(

      Nonetheless, a great Hub, Habee!

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      I know I'll never pass in your culinary arts school, but I'm enjoying the lessons. You mentioned a mustard based sauce. I sometimes get take-out fried chicken from a soul food place, and the sauce is sooo good. I know it's mustard based, but I haven't been able to duplicate it. Have you published your recipe?

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 

      8 years ago

      Oh Habee, i'm drooling. Crabs! Its crab season where i am now, because of the rains. Cheap at this time of the year, though we dont get the soft shell variety which sounds so sumptuous!

      But im going to try grilled crabs this weekend, as you've succeeded in whetting my appetite.

      Bookmarked to keep the recipe.

      Thanks for this great article.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I think you'll like them, Bpop!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      8 years ago

      All I can say is yum... I adore King crab legs, but I have never grilled them. I can hardly wait to try. Thanks.

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