The Simple Way To Check If A Crab Is Meaty

Briny and sweet, with delicate yet succulent meat, crabs are a delicious shellfish treat and a favorite of many seafood lovers. Although there are thousands of species of crab out there, some of the more popular and commonly enjoyed types include king crab, snow crab, Dungeness crab, blue crab, and stone crab. Crabs can be enjoyed steamed, boiled, baked, and fried whole, or in crab cakes, chowders, salads, sandwiches, and pasta.

Although crab is readily available in canned form in different grades, canned crab really doesn't compare to fresh crab when it comes to its flavor and texture, notes Southern Living. The downside of fresh crab, if you don't know what to look for, is that you could end up with one that has little to no meat, which is a huge disappointment — crabs are not cheap, and it takes a lot of effort to pick and eat a crab, so you want to make sure you get one that's worthwhile. So how exactly can you tell how meaty a crab is, without cooking it and opening it up? Turns out, there's a really easy way.

Squeezing a crab can help determine how meaty it is

When you're choosing between different crabs of the same species to purchase at your local market or fishmonger (or from your own crabbing efforts), see if you can pick up the crabs and give their shells a squeeze, checking to see how the shell feels. Pick the crab that has a firm shell rather than a brittle one, which could be a sign that it may be immature and contain less meat. You should pick up a few crabs if you can to feel their weight, and pick the one that feels the heaviest for its size, as a heavy body is also a sign of a meaty crab, explains Webstaurant Store. Never pick a dead crab, and go for a livelier one whenever possible.

When trying to figure out how much crab you need, a general rule of thumb is to have ⅔ to ¾ pound of meat per person. Keep in mind that for a lot of crabs, the meat will only make up around ¼ of its total weight. Now that you know how to pick the meatiest crabs, here are 12 tips you need when cooking with crab.