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Sherry B

I Want to Buy a King Crab

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I was in an Asian market today buying shiritaki noodles, and I realized that it's King Crab season! They have them live in tanks, and they're enormous, and fairly feisty looking.

I'm cool with Dungeness crab, I've cooked lots of them, but I can't fathom dealing with one of these monsters, and I was too shy to ask for help.

Does anyone know if they sell them live? Or do they kill them at the store? If live, how on earth would you get them home?

Any advice would be hugely appreciated, I love crab, but I've never seen Kings live before today. Except on "The Deadliest Catch", of course :raz:

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I was in an Asian market today buying shiritaki noodles, and I realized that it's King Crab season! They have them live in tanks, and they're enormous, and fairly feisty looking.

I'm cool with Dungeness crab, I've cooked lots of them, but I can't fathom dealing with one of these monsters, and I was too shy to ask for help.

Does anyone know if they sell them live? Or do they kill them at the store? If live, how on earth would you get them home?

Any advice would be hugely appreciated, I love crab, but I've never seen Kings live before today. Except on "The Deadliest Catch", of course :raz:

I think normally, Alaskan king crab is cooked and frozen as soon as the ship unloads them, and they stay frozen until they are bought at retail. As far as I know they are available year-round. I may be wrong on the above but I think that's right. Costco has king crab roadshows and it seems to me as though there is no time of year they don't come to sell crabs at Costco. Most if not all of the Costco crabs are from Russian waters. I assume Russian ones are processed the the same way as Alaskan. Anyone know for sure? I have never seen live ones sold down here.

An aside, an Asian market near me sells live Australian crabs. These are much heavier than king, but the legs are proportional to the body. They sell for either 25.00 or 45.00/pound retail (I know, the diff could be a show-stopper) and they must weigh 6 pounds each. They're HUGE. Does anyone know how to cook those daddys?

John S.

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When the new, 80,00 sq. ft. WHole Foods opened here in Austin a couple years ago, they had a tank with live King Crab, an d they were quite expensive, around $25/lb, which would make a whole one well over $100, but they got rid of their 'live tanks'-they caved in to pressure from the PETA types for 'steaming lobsters to death'-go figure.

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in answer to your question ..yes they will kill them and break them down for you ..just ask ..dont be shy ..the folks who run the seafood sections of these markets love to talk about their fish ..even if there is a language barrier they will with sign language and a few words get the point across ...you dont have to carry that big live king crab home in a bag I promise..just say please kill and clean it for me ..and if they have a steamer there they will steam it (usually at no additional charge) as well ...

good luck!

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in answer to your question ..yes they will kill them and break them down for you ..just ask ..dont be shy ..the folks who run the seafood sections of these markets love to talk about their fish ..even if there is a language barrier they will with sign language and a few words get the point across ...you dont have to carry that big live king crab home in a bag  I promise..just say please kill and clean it for me  ..and if they have a steamer there they will steam it (usually at no additional charge) as well ...

good luck!

Ahhh, thank you! I came close to buying one yesterday, but it was Saturday, and very crowded around the tanks, which were very full of these massive creatures.

I'll go back this week when it's quieter, and ask them to kill it for me. One more quick question, is it just the legs that are eaten? And if so, if I were to take them home raw, would they last for the hour or so that it would take me to get them home without going off? I could have a cooler with ice, etc.

I'm just thinking I'd rather transport them raw than hot and cooked.

The live King Crabs at the market (T & T Supermarket) were $8.99 a pound.


Edited by Sherry B (log)

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Keep them on ice for sure bring a cooler and have them give you some crushed ice in a bag ...I dont what is inside that body I have only shared crabs like this and we just ended up with the legs... but ask them to clean it and give you all the parts you can eat.. dont forget you can make stock with the shells and all the other things in there ..I am not very technical about this...you can just prepare them by dropping the legs in salted water or you can put butter fresh garlic smashed and cracked pepper in a pan ..wack the legs into smaller pieces and just cook them in the butter with the lid on the pan ...that is where I would be going with those!!!

cook them as soon as possible after they are killed for you that is so important to get the best taste!

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PS I was just in the T & T market on Thursday ..you are right those are some really nice looking crabs I would be right there with you if I could have figured out how to bring one home!!!

enjoy your score the price was not bad at all for such monsters!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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To my shame....I went to T & T, and came home with a Dungeness. I had picked out (the smallest) King, but it was almost $60.00, and I couldn't justify paying that much, since the hubster doesn't do crab.

I thought of buying it and freezing the legs, etc. but I need to do a bit more research.

The Dungeness was wildly yummy, though, with garlicky butter and nothing else but some white wine.

I so appreciate the help, hummingbird, maybe someday we can get together for a King!

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I think dungeness is a far superior crab to any other including the king crab so you made the best choice in my opinion!!! It is hands down my favorite meal to have one or two ...sometimes I can eat three! :shock:

Next time I come to BC we should have crab on the beach! for sure!!!

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As suggested, a big cooler and lots of ice are required to bring the king crab home alive. There are large ones and some kinds that look smaller.

Anyway don't have the store break it down for various reasons.

Get a pot large enough to handle the whole crab to boiling and cook the crab judging the time like a lobster for weight.

Run under cold water or an ice bath to stop the cooking until cool enough to handle. The shells are useless and DO NOT make a good stock.

Remove the legs and use a shears or special seafood shears to cut and remove the meat.

Remove the apron under the crab body and either remove the top shell from the bottom structure or using a large heavy knife cut the crab in half and remove the parts. White meat is edible and remove from the body cavities. Feathery stuff is gills, discard, and light colored stuff is commonly referrred to a 'crab brains' but is reallyliver/roe. Save and use in a sauce for pasta.

Chill the meat and either eat as is or use in a recipe. If you purchase a standard sized king you will have meat for a couple of meals.-Dick

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And stick him in the freezer for a little while to slow him down. He'll be less intimidating and not notice most of what's happening to him.

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