Three cooked sea crabs lined up on a white surface
The Correct Way To Humanely Prepare Crab For A Meal
Studies have shown that crabs feel pain, which means a quick death is the most ethical choice when cooking them. To do this, first set your crabs in the freezer for 15 minutes.
The freezing will numb them and reduce the amount of stress they feel. They also won't fight back while being handled, allowing you to hastily and ethically incapacitate them.
Then, flip each one over, lift its tail flap, and swiftly stick a knife into its thorax, which is in the center of its body, stopping and twisting it when you reach the top shell.
Repeat the process in the depression behind the crab's eyes. Make the first insertion at an 85-degree angle and a second at a 60-degree angle, tilting the knife away from the head.
This technique, called spiking, quickly disables both centers of a crab's nervous system. Be sure to complete it as fast as possible — hesitating will only cause the crab pain.
Alternatively, you can slam a crab against a sharp corner. Freeze the crab for 15 minutes, then secure its back legs with your hands and place your thumbs firmly on its shell.
Line the tip of the tail flap up with the edge of a counter or table, then quickly and forcibly hit the crab's underside against the corner to disable the crab’s nervous system.
A fast, sudden death is the most peaceful way for a crab to go. If you, understandably, can't bear to end the life of a crab, you can use pre-cooked frozen crab meat options.