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How to Crack Your Crab Legs Like an Expert

How to Crack Your Crab Legs Like an Expert

We think crab meat is delicious no matter how you eat it: in small pieces, in large pieces, in a crab cake, in a soup, in a dip — you name it, we’re here for it. 

However, we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t something extremely satisfying about cracking open a crab leg and slowly removing the meat all in one large, juicy piece. It’s the cream of the crop. The ultimate bite. The height of decadence.

Of course, achieving this perfect bite is easier said than done. Removing the meat from your crab leg in one whole piece requires some finesse. If you go at it with a claw cracker and don’t have a strategy, you aren’t likely to achieve this expert technique. That’s why today, we’re sharing the step-by-step process to crack open your crab legs like an expert.


Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

While you’ll primarily need just a claw cracker, a tiny lobster fork might also come in handy.


Step 2: Separate the Legs

If not separated already, pull your legs apart from the cluster and set aside the claw. Don’t worry — we’ll get to it later.


Step 3: Separate the Joints

Choose your first leg and pull it apart at the joints or “knuckles” of the leg. The larger section that was closest to the body of the crab is called the merus, and that’s where the bulk of the meat is in each crab leg. When you separate the merus from the tips of the leg, expect to also have some cartilage come out.


Step 4: Crack the Merus

Take both thumbs and push down on the middle of the merus, but don’t crack it through all the way. You want to just lightly crack each side so you can then gently peel back the shell. If you push your thumbs in too hard, you’ll puncture the meat.


Step 5: Remove the Shell

Carefully, remove each side of the shell until you can pull out the center meat. Dip in butter and enjoy!


Step 6: Don’t Forget the Other Pieces

While the merus is the prize meat of each leg, don’t forget to crack open the tips — there’s a little meat in there too! Use the lobster fork to really dig in there if you can’t quite get it all out. And remember that claw that you set aside earlier? Now’s the time to use the claw cracker. Again, gently crack the surface of the shell, but don’t puncture all the way through the meat. Then, pull one side of the claw out in order to separate the cartilage. Now you’ll be able to peel back the cracked shell to reveal the meaty inside.


As with any skill, cracking your crab legs like an expert takes practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get the perfect intact piece of meat every time. The good news? We can promise it’ll still taste delicious.


Practice makes perfect: Stock Up on King Crab!