Poll: Steamed vs. Boiled Crab Legs?

Which do you prefer, boiled or steamed crab legs (not whole crab) and Why? Doing 30lbs of stone crab legs this weekend, I was planning on steaming but am getting a little backlash from a few guests. Thoughts appreciated before Saturday!:)

Jennifer W


Jennifer W. November 5, 2019
No not stone crabs (Im a dummy) LOL Im doing Snow crab legs! Im nice but Im no philanthropist haha. But.. principle stands. It was a few of my southern friends who were complaining- southern boils are spicy with submerged seafood. Northern boils steam in beer and vinegar and dipped in butter- Am I correct on this?? With the cost of the legs, I feel it would be a shame to douse them in all that spice because I want to taste the sweet crab meat! My southern born friends will need to expand their horizons lol
Lori T. November 5, 2019
I agree with you- steam is the way to go, not boiling. The southern style of seafood boil generally is done with shrimp and whole crabs- not snow crab legs. That's fine for a shrimp, it does nothing for the crab. I'd stick with the steam, and supply the Old Bay seasoning in butter on the side. Your southern friends will survive, and they might actually discover the sweet taste of crab that's not been overwhelmed by the spices.
Gammy November 5, 2019
Haha, Jennifer! Snow crab legs are still good and I would still steam to heat as they are also cooked before being sold. Blue Crabs, I steam whole in a mix of water, beer, lemon and a little bit of Old Bay sprinkled on before serving (hey, grew up on the DelMaVa peninsula!) and eat myself silly. In Florida, I have seen Blue Crabs boiled in garlic oil (I can barely bring myself to type these words)... such an affront to the delicate crab meat inside those beautiful swimmers.
Gammy November 5, 2019
Lori T.'s post reminds me that Stone Crab claws, when served hot will typically have plain melted butter on the side, maybe with some lemon slices. Stone Crab claws when served cold will be accompanied with a cold mustard sauce. My preference is hot, with butter, and I can eat at least a pound!!!
Lori T. November 5, 2019
I second Gammy's opinion in favor of steaming. There isn't any point to putting any sort of seasoning in the water, because it's not going to penetrate the shells. However, a pot of water will certainly leach flavor from the claws- and you won't be drinking it afterwards, so that's flavor lost. I just wish I were an invited guest at your house this weekend. Stone Crab claws are a rare, once a year(maybe), treat at my house. I'd also recommend putting the seasoning in a compound butter to serve on the side, so you don't overpower the delicate flavor of the crab. When I eat crab, I want to taste crab. I don't want to be looking for it beneath the garlic, parsley, and cayenne pepper. The other thing I want to mention is to consider saving those empty shells to make stock with. There's still a lot of flavor in those, and you could use the stock as a tasty base for seafood bisque or soup.
Gammy November 5, 2019
Wow! Stone Crab claws!! You are truly a great friend, as large stone crab claws cost around $35-40/pound where I live in Florida. Anyway, I would definitely steam, not boil, and stone crab claws only need to be heated, as they are already cooked when purchased. Why steaming vs boiling? If you boil them, you lose a lot of the flavor to the boiling water. FYI... Stone crab claws can also be served cold.
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