King crab legs on grill

Boil Crab Before Grilling to Save Time in the Kitchen

With their buttery smooth texture and smoky flavor, grilled crabs are in a league of their own. They’ve been a favorite for seafood lovers who have enjoyed a hint of char on their plate for a long time now. And as they’ll tell you, the best sorts of crabs for grilling are often the larger, tougher crabs like Dungeness and King Crabs. Their size and tougher meat allow them to cook more evenly on the grill without turning mushy or overcooking easily. But there’s a catch — they can take a while to cook, which can be a problem if you’re grilling for a big party.

To speed up the grilling process, you can prep the crabs before they hit the grill by either boiling or steaming them. You don’t have to cook them completely; just a quick five-minute dip in boiling, salted water will do (a five-minute steam over a salted water pot works too). Once they’re on the grill, they’ll only need to be grilled for four minutes on each side rather than the usual five to seven minutes. Keep a close eye on them, however, especially if it’s your first time grilling them pre-treated. You don’t want to go through all the trouble only to end up with overcooked crabs.

Both boiling and steaming are great pre-grill prep methods

Boiled crab legs in pot

Both steaming and boiling will work as pre-grill prep steps as long as you don’t cook the crab fully before it’s grilled. However, each method still has its advantages and drawbacks. Boiling is a lot easier to do since you only need to heat up a pot of salted water and dump the crabs right inside. Additionally, it’s great if you like to infuse extra flavorings into the meat. Just sprinkle the seasoning in the pot and the hot water will deliver the flavorings right into the crab’s meaty parts.

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On the other hand, steaming, while more elaborate, can cook your crab faster (as steam is hotter than boiling water) and it’s a better choice if you want to keep more of the crab’s natural flavors intact. Since the crabs aren’t submerged in water, they won’t get waterlogged. Instead, they cook in their juices in the moist heat, allowing their natural crab taste to be preserved.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference. If you’re dealing with a bunch of crabs or want to add extra flavorings, boiling is the way to go. But if you want to savor the pure taste of your Alaskan King Crab without any dilution, a quick steam before grilling will be awesome!

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