Delicate and sweet crab meat is taken to a whole new level when it’s introduced to the magic of the grill.
The crab is clearly the star of this dish, with the other ingredients being supporting actors. So, it’s important to use really quality crab. Snow crab, King crab and Dungeness legs all work for this recipe, and most of them will actually come cooked, so you’re really just warming them through. The beauty of the grill is that you also impart some charred flavor during the warming. It basically acts like adding an extra special smokey ingredient. The crucial point here is that the crab taste is going to be front and centre, so you want to purchase the best stuff you can. I recommend trying Fulton Fish Market – they’re a New York based online purveyor who cherrypick sensational quality seafood and then deliver it to you overnight.
Now, let’s talk about butter. Isn’t it delicious? I’m a huge fan of promoting European style butters – they have a higher fat content (which means more flavor). But, European butters are also cultured, which adds and extra layer of tang and taste. I guess what I’m saying is, your crab purchase deserves better than the cheapest butter (and usually the cheapest butter doesn’t really taste like much). So level up your butter game. Also, there’s a major secret weapon I have with my seafood butters. It’s a seasoning called Hardcore Carnivore Amplify, and it’s basically a mega-umami flavor bomb. Packed with chicken fat, soy sauce powder and a host of other salty and savory flavors, Amplify itself is fairly neutral. BUT, it works wonders when combined with other foods. I use it on veggies, in guacamole, when I wrap my ribs… you can even mix it with other seasonings for a savory boost. It’s really special when you add it to butter – trust me, you just have to try it because it complements the crab perfectly.
Now, let’s continue the conversation about butter. Because I want to discuss the elephant in the room, which is the method I’ve seen in SO many grilled crab recipes: basting the legs in butter during cooking. I CALL SHENANIGANS! Here’s the deal – unless you are using split crab legs, OR cutting a slit in the shell of every piece of the leg, the butter is dripping straight off the shell and going to waste. Not entirely to waste, as it will help get a nice brown color, but you can bet 95% of it is burning up with no good reason. PLUS, in nearly every case, you’re going to be serving your crab with a big ol’ bowl of butter, so THAT’S the butter you’re gonna be tasting. So, my solution is to use a quality spray oil to coat the outside of the shells – this will allow them to develop a bit of color AND it coats way more evenly than basted butter, without all the flareups.Print