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Cyndi Allison - Grill Girl

How to Grill Snow Crab Legs on the Home Barbecue Grill
Seafood is Easy to Grill and Oh So Yummy

grilled crab legs king crab legs
Grilled Snow Crab Legs

I grilled snow crab legs when my boys were younger, but the youngest kept pointing and calling them bugs. So, he was not keen on trying grilled crab legs. And, the older one tried to be a good sport, but had problems getting the meat out.

The moral of that story is that you may want to toss on some hot dogs too if you have pre-school kids.

Hey! I Had These Crab Legs and . . .

Mine are grown now, and my oldest got to try crab legs at school. He was telling me about fabulous those are.

Well, yes. That’s why I served them up long ago. But, the guys didn’t remember that, so grilling up crab legs was actually a super easy request.

While a lot of people shy away from seafood, it’s actually really easy to grill seafood. I think the confusing part is that you really don’t need to cook it long. It’s not like beef. With seafood, you’re literally cooking in minutes – period.

Thawing Crab Legs (if you can’t get fresh)

You can grill fresh crab legs or frozen snow crab legs. My guess is that more folks will use frozen, because only a lucky few live on the beach and where they have the giant crabs. King crab legs are a foot or longer. Our North Carolina blue crabs have little legs, and you don’t grill those legs.

If you buy frozen crab legs or have frozen them and want to grill soon, then fill the sink with water and put the crab legs (still in the bags) in the cold water. Do not use hot or warm water, or that can start to cook the delicate crab meat and also is a breeding ground for bacteria. It only takes about ½ hour in a cold water bath for the crab legs to be thawed.

Marinate the King Crab Legs

I like to put marinade in with the crab legs. This can be done as they are thawing or can be done ahead in the refrigerator. I use a mild marinade with an oil base. Bottled Italian dressing (oily type and not creamy) works great or homemade is wonderful too. The marinade is not critical, but it helps retain moisture especially on the ends and helps prevent sticking.

If you don’t marinade, then have a little oil and brush the grates before starting and have a brush and put a little on the crabs before turning.

Getting the Grill Ready for the Crab Legs

Be sure to heat up the grill whether it’s a gas grill or a charcoal grill. Cold grates are the main reason for food sticking. So, aim for 10 minutes or so of heat up. With a gas grill, put the lid down for heating.

With charcoal, burn coals down to ash gray and no dancing flames. On a gas grill, go for medium on the heat.

Put the Crab Legs on the Grill

You really want tongs with crab legs. Since they have shells, they are hard to get ahold of without tongs.

I put the colored side down first and then flip, but I don’t think that matters. I just like to have the colored side up when I’m done and people are checking out the crab legs.

Grilling time varies depending on the heat of the grill, size of the crab legs, and outside temperature, but I usually grill crab legs for about 5 minutes on each side with the bigger ends toward the heat and thinner ends to cooler spots or overlapped on top of other pieces of crab leg. These do take up a lot of space, and overlap is not a problem.

One way to check is to look at the thick end. The meat should look a nice bright white when done. You can get a fork and gently pull out a little bite to double check. But, once you do this a time or two, you can eyeball and tell the crab legs are done.

Dipping Grilled Crab Legs

Butter is a traditional dip for king crab legs. Real butter is best. You can add various seasonings if you like. For example, some people like garlic or parsley in the butter. The butter can be melted on top of the stove, on top of the grill in a small pan, or in the microwave.

Myself? I like my crab plain. That’s some sweet meat, and I want to saver every single bite.

Quick Tip

If you enjoy grilled crab legs or the blue crabs, then you may want to buy some crab crackers. My sister worked at a seafood restaurant in high school, and she got the owner to order some for my Christmas gift. Those really do come in handy, and I’m glad we have the crab crackers.



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