What's The Difference Between Lump And Jumbo Lump Crab Meat?

When it comes to cooking with crab at home, you'll need to decide whether you want to buy whole crabs or picked meat. While buying whole crabs can be less expensive, it does take more time and effort. Crab has long been considered a luxury item, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the prices to skyrocket, according to NPR. With a decrease in the number of fisherman, truck drivers, and international imports, restaurants and grocers have had to increase the prices of crab as a whole. Although these price increases are affecting many products, NPR notes that prices have increased as much as 50% for crab. 

If crab is something that fits into your budget, when considering the time value of money — picked crab is more convenient but more expensive. Picked crab meat is organized and sold by grade — jumbo lump and lump being two of them. While one may assume that jumbo lump might just be a bigger version of lump meat, it is sadly not as simple as that. So, what is the difference between these two grades of crab meat?

Jumbo lump is more luxurious

Jumbo lump crab meat is derived from the two large muscles that are connected to the crabs' swimming legs, according to America's Test Kitchen. Due to its size and meaty texture, this grade of crab tends to be the most expensive on the market. Lump meat, on the other hand, is a mixture made up of smaller pieces of body meat combined with smaller or broken pieces of jumbo lump meat. Similarly to jumbo lump, it is white in color and delicious, but the main difference is the size of the pieces.

When deciding which crab meat to purchase, it all comes down to what you are making and, of course, how much you are looking to spend. Jumbo lump is the most expensive, around $59/lb fresh, but for good reason (via All Fresh Seafood). If you are looking to make a luxurious meal where crab is the star of the show or you want to simply eat it with butter, go with the jumbo lump. 

On the other hand, The Spruce Eats explains that if you are looking to make something like crab cakes, the price for the jumbo lump isn't worth it. When you are making anything where crab is mixed into other things, lump crab meat, at around $49/lb fresh, is the way to go. Want to give it a try? Make these classic Maryland crab cakes!