About Stone Crabs
Most Delicious Types of Crab | A Complete Guide
Are you hosting a special event? Do you want to impress your guests with a special delicacy? Consider crab dishes.
However, there are different types of crabs to consider, such as stone crabs, blue crabs, and Alaskan king crabs, among others. Crab is fairly easy to cook, but you can use crab delivery services that cook and prepare the meat for you.
From there, you can incorporate the prepared crab into your favorite recipes. This article will highlight the best crab meat that you should try. Read further to know more.
In general, many people consume stone crab claws cold, and they're a quality delicacy. You're more likely to find these types of crabs in fine-dining establishments. They're known for their hard shells. You can find them in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida coast.
You can also include them in complicated recipes. Many people describe the stone crab claws meat as flaky and a mixture of lobster and shrimp.
The meat is also very sweet. They're one of the more expensive forms of crab due to the taste of the meat and the harvesting methods. The harvesting methods are different because these crustaceous are under legal protection.
To prevent extinction, the government restricts how fishermen harvest them. For example, fishermen will catch the crabs, cut off one claw, and release them.
This release method allows them to reproduce, and they can grow back the appendage in a year. Also, fishermen can only harvest them from October to May.
In terms of texture, snow crabs have a briny flavor, and the meat texture is firm. The meat also has a slightly salty taste, and it's a great meat for dipping with your favorite sauces.
Additionally, you can shred the meat in the same manner as corn beef. It's also one of the more affordable crab options.
You can find this type of crab in many places, such as Siberia, Greenland, and the Pacific Northwest.
Dungeness crabs are known for their sweet meat. However, it has thinner and smaller legs compared to snow or king crabs. When it comes to cooking, preparers usually steam or boil them. For boiling, chefs usually include salt, spices, herbs, or seasoning in the water.
The blue crab is among the best types of crab due to its sweetness and quality flavor. Many describe the flavor as rich and buttery. The taste of the claw meat also has a nutty flavor. You can eat the softshells, and the cooked shells turn an orangish-red.
The meat of the body is white and flaky. The claw meat has a brownish color. The pasteurized versions are darker than the fresh variety. You can find this type of crab in the Gulf and Atlanta areas of the United States.
In particular, blue crabs are great for crab cakes and soups. However, they're suitable for many other recipes. If you hear someone ordering jumbo lump crab meat, this means they're getting the full parts of the crab. You can make jumbo lump crab imperial if you want the jumbo lump option.
Overall, preparers cook blue crab in the following manner:
- Filling a pot with two-thirds water and boil
- Adding one tablespoon of salt and two to four of seasoning to the water.
- Adding each crab one at a time. Leaving the claws attached. Cooking for eight to 10 minutes.
- Draining the crabs in a colander, and placing the crabs on a cloth-covered table.
From there, they use a metallic nutcracker to access the meat. In general, this cooking method is usually how the chefs prepare all types of crab.
That said, you don't have to go through the trouble of cooking crab if you use a crab delivery service. A prepared crab will save you time and money.
Overall, soft-shell crabs are just blue crabs in molted form. This means they shed their old shells, and their new shells haven't developed fully.
Chefs generally don't boil softshell crabs, as they'll disintegrate when cooking. One way to cook them is to drench them in seasoned buttermilk, dip them in flour, and fry.
Alaskan King Crab
Alaskan king crab also has a sweet and buttery flavor. They're known for their large size and long legs. They can weigh around six to eight pounds, and some of them can grow as large as 20 pounds.
You can eat this type of crab on its own or use it for clam chowder or crab cakes. They're a premium form of crab meat due to their limited habit, and harvesters have a limited window in the season to catch them.
You can find them mostly off the Alaskan coast. This crab is a stable revenue source for Alaska. For Alaskan Red King crab, preparers must either cook or freeze the meat as soon as possible.
Crab lovers can cook them in a variety of ways, such as:
When buying the crab legs, you can unfreeze them by allowing them to thaw overnight. However, don't defrost the crab legs and refreeze them, as it will diminish the flavor.
Japanese Spider Crab
Japanese spider crabs are a sight to behold with their incredibly long legs and massive size. Found in the waters around Japan, particularly in the Pacific Ocean, they are known for their delicate and sweet meat. The leg meat is particularly prized for its tender and flavorful qualities.
While not as commonly found in Western seafood markets, they are a delicacy in Japanese cuisine, often prepared through boiling or grilling and sometimes served with a light dipping sauce to enhance their natural flavors.
Maine Rock Crab
Maine rock crabs, hailing from the cold waters of the North Atlantic, especially around Maine and the East Coast of the United States, offer a different crab-eating experience. These crabs are smaller than king or snow crabs, but their meat is incredibly sweet and succulent.
The claws are the main source of meat and are often used in crab cakes or simply served with a side of melted butter. Rock crab meat is also excellent in hearty seafood stews or bisques, making it a versatile choice for various culinary creations.
Often overshadowed by the more famous king crab, queen crabs are a hidden gem in the crab world. Found in the cold waters of the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, queen crabs have a similar structure to king crabs but are slightly smaller.
Their leg meat is known for being exceptionally tender and flavorful, with a subtle sweetness that makes them a great alternative to their larger cousins.
Queen crabs can be prepared in the same ways as king crabs — boiled, steamed, or even grilled, and they pair wonderfully with a range of sauces, from classic garlic butter to more adventurous spicy or tangy concoctions.
Maximizing the Flavor of Your Crab Feast
Indulging in a crab feast is not just about the type of crab you choose. It’s also about how you bring out the best in these delectable crustaceans.
Enhancing the natural flavors of crab can transform a simple meal into a gourmet experience. Here are some expert tips to elevate your crab dining adventure:
Choosing the Right Cooking Method
Each crab variety has a cooking method that best suits its texture and flavor. For instance, steaming is great for retaining the delicate flavors of snow crab, while grilling can bring out the richness in Alaskan king crab legs. Experiment with different methods like boiling, steaming, grilling, or even broiling to discover what works best for your chosen variety.
The secret to a flavorful crab dish often lies in the seasoning. While crabs are delicious on their own, the right blend of spices can enhance their taste.
Consider using classic seasonings like Old Bay, a mix of garlic powder and paprika, or even a simple combination of salt and pepper. For an adventurous twist, experiment with herbs like dill or tarragon.
Perfect Pairings With Sauces and Butters
Dipping sauces and flavored butter can add an extra layer of flavor to your crab. Melted butter is a traditional favorite, but you can also try garlic butter for a richer taste.
For a tangy kick, a lemon-butter sauce or a homemade aioli can be delightful. Even a simple mustard sauce can offer a nice contrast to the crab’s sweetness.
Complementary Side Dishes
The right side dishes can complement the flavors of crab without overpowering it. Opt for light and simple sides like a fresh salad, steamed vegetables, or a tangy coleslaw. If you’re serving rich crab varieties like king crab, balance it with sides like roasted potatoes or a creamy risotto.
The Art of Crab Cracking
Enjoying crab involves getting hands-on, and knowing how to crack them open efficiently can enhance your dining experience. Invest in a good crab cracker and learn the technique to access the meat without shredding it.
Remember, the effort put into cracking the crab is part of the fun and charm of a crab feast.
Wine and Beverage Pairings
The right drink can elevate your crab meal to new heights. White wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc pair beautifully with most crab varieties, complementing their flavors without overwhelming them.
For beer lovers, a light lager or pilsner can be refreshing. And, of course, a glass of sparkling wine can add a touch of elegance to your crab feast.
Keep It Fresh and Simple
When it comes to crab, freshness is key. Freshly caught and properly stored crab will have the best flavor and texture.
Avoid overcooking, as this can make the meat tough and dry. Let the natural, sweet flavors of the crab shine by keeping seasonings and sauces minimal and complementary.
At George Stone Crab, we emphasize the importance of choosing crabs harvested in an eco-conscious way. We support and work closely with local fisheries committed to sustainable practices, ensuring our seafood delights are delicious and responsibly sourced.
Being mindful of the crab season in your region is crucial to prevent overfishing, helping preserve marine life for future generations.
Creating a Stone Crab Feast To Remember
After learning about the different types of crabs and their unique flavors, you're probably excited to host a crab feast that leaves a lasting impression on your guests. At George Stone Crab, we're all about creating memorable seafood experiences.
Here's how you can turn a simple crab dinner into an unforgettable culinary event.
- Selecting the Perfect Crab Varieties: Variety is the spice of life, and this holds true for a crab feast. Mix it up with a selection of stone crab, king crab, and Dungeness crab. Each offers a unique flavor profile, from the sweet nuttiness of blue crab to the buttery richness of Alaskan king crab.
- Serving With Style: How you present your crab feast is almost as important as the cooking itself. Arrange your crab varieties on a large platter, perhaps on a bed of ice for the cold ones, with wedges of lemon and dipping sauces like our signature mustard sauce or a classic garlic butter.
- Finishing With a Sweet Note: After a savory feast, a light dessert can be the perfect ending. Consider something quintessentially Floridian, like a key lime pie, to complement the oceanic flavors of the crab.
The Bottom Line
At George Stone Crab, we understand the art of a perfect crab feast. It's not just about the food — it's about the experience, from selecting the finest crab varieties to pairing them with the right sides and wines.