Market Name: King crab
Scientific Name: Paralithodes camtschaticus
Common Name: King crab, red king crab, Alaska king crab
Flavor: Mild/Moderate
Texture: Medium

The largest of the commercially harvested crabs, king crabs are characterized by spiny shells and long, spidery legs. Most crabs have 10 appendages, but king crabs have six walking legs, one large “killer” claw and one small “feeder” claw. The best meat is the merus, which comes from the upper section of the walking leg. It is marketed as “fancy.” The crabs grow to 6 feet, from leg tip to leg tip, and from 4 to 10 pounds. Shell color varies according to harvest location. While red is the most common of the king crab species, there are also blue (P. platypus) and brown, or golden (Lithodes aequspina), king crabs. Red is most marketable, primarily because of size, followed by blue and then brown. Kings are found in shallow waters (60 to 100 fathoms) off the shores of Southeast Alaska and in the Bering Sea on flat, plain-like stretches of sea floor. King crabs often march in herds across vast expanses of these plains. They are caught in large, wire-mesh traps that measure 7 x 7 x 10 feet.

Product Profile:
King crab is sweet, moist and rich. It’s a bit firmer and coarser than Dungeness crab meat. The king’s body meat is slightly flakier than the leg meat. The spiky shell of the cooked crab leg is a bright red. The meat is snow white with a scarlet membrane. Almost all king crab sold in the U.S. market has been cooked and brine frozen. However, if processed correctly, the meat should not taste salty. Flavor is best just after thawing.

You Should Know:
It is essential to thaw king crab meat slowly — 24 hours in the refrigerator — or it will become watery and mushy. Remember that you’re dealing with precooked product; don’t overcook.

Cooking Tips:
King crab meat, chunked, flaked or shredded, can be served hot or cold. For hot menu items, gentle heating is all that’s required. Add to soups and stews during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Legs are often served in the shell with drawn butter. To steam, throw legs in a covered pot with an inch or so of water, bring to a boil and steam just until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Broil,Steam

Substitutions: Other crab species, Lobster meat

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Cooked sections, Cooked legs, Cooked claws, Picked meat
Frozen: Cooked sections, Cooked legs, Cooked claws

Global Supply: