A question about a recipe: All-American Crab Cakes

I have a question about the recipe "All-American Crab Cakes" from thirschfeld. Can I substitute canned crab?c

  • Posted by: ktr
  • May 2, 2016
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Recipe question for: All-American Crab Cakes


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ktr May 2, 2016

I live in a rural area and have checked my local grocery store and food co-op and have not found pasteurized crab. I routinely order groceries online so I am considering ordering canned crab for this recipe. Will I be wasting my time and money? Or, does anyone know of a reliable source to order crab from online?

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Uncle Jess
Uncle Jess May 2, 2016

I think you would be wasting your time and money. Most of the delicate flavor of fresh crab is lost in the canning process. I hope someone out there knows of a canned crab that tastes great. I would love to be wrong on this one.

ktr May 2, 2016

That was my fear. Oh well, I'll just have to try to remember to stop at the grocery store the next time I drive to a larger city.

Sam1148 May 2, 2016

While it's not technically "Crab". The "Krab" sticks imitation crab is more textural like crab than the canned crab stuff when used in a crab cake.

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scruz May 2, 2016

i live in west coast crablandia with dungeness crab for the taking (when they let us). our local seafood restaurant has what we consider the best value in crab louies. we got to know the bartender who also ordered supplies for the restaurant and she told us it was canned, refrigerated crab. we were totally surprised as it was sweet and juicy and had big pieces of claw meat in the salad. so, there are good brands out there. you can see on youtube how they process it and it is good and fresher than many places. i'm sure it is pricey.

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702551 May 3, 2016

You can and your enjoyment of the final product will be dependent on your taste buds.

I typically buy Dungeness crab live from fisherman at Half Moon Bay's commercial pier. I take these home and cook them the same day: the flavor is matchless.

Without a doubt, the same crabs are going to commercial processing plants and end up in restaurants within a day or two, as scruz describes. This isn't really "canned crab" but more freshly cooked crab meat. The key here is distribution: yes, you can cook and distribute crab meat locally. You can't do the same nationally without instituting quality-sapping processes that make the product shelf stable.

The stuff scruz is describing is likely temperature controlled through the entire process including delivery/distribution, so is little drop in quality. I've had store-cooked crab and I will attest that it is not the same as cooking the live ones at home.

Ultimately, this comes down to YOUR taste buds. What are you used to? What will you find acceptable to put on your dinner table. No one here can answers those questions for you.

For sure, living in Dungeness Crablandia, I can get decent processed fresh crab meat commercially, but it will never be as good as the stuff I buy from the fishermen and cook myself. Trust me, I've bought live crab from local grocery stores, they aren't even as good.

For me, the main joy of crab cakes is FRESH CRAB. That's the point.

I make this stuff at home. I also do things like crab ravioli, etc. If I'm not the one cooking the crab, it probably won't be as good.

Anyhow this is your call. It's entirely about what you are willing to put on the table qualitywise.

Good luck.

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