Dining out is one activity that brings us closer to normality these days. Intimate conversations, exceptional food, and impeccable service – that’s what you’ll find at AJ’s Steakhouse. When the team at AJ’s came up with their new Friday night feature, they added a little fun to the dining experience – cracking Snow Crab legs! This crab meat’s flavor is sweet with a hint of salty brine and has a firm texture that shreds easily into pieces making it perfect for dipping.
There are so many crab options, we asked the culinary team at AJ’s what are the most popular crab species and how do they differ?
KNOW YOUR CRAB
Snow crabs are found in the bitter cold waters of the Pacific northwest and northwest Atlantic, along the coasts of Alaska, Siberia, Greenland, and Newfoundland. Crab season begins when the ice breaks, around mid-April and runs through early November. Snow crabs are mostly legs, their bodies being short and round weighing between two and four pounds. Males are typically double the size of females and are most likely to land on our dinner plates.
Warmer water is where you will find Blue crabs. They are found throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Chesapeake Bay. The smallest of the crab quartet, Blue crabs can grow up to 10 inches across, including their legs, and size does matter when it comes to their value. Jumbo or #1 are the largest, measuring more than 6 inches across. #2 grade are 5 - 6 inches and #3 are from 4.5 - 5 inches across. These tiny titans are renowned for their flavor – a combination of sweet & salty with the body meat being the most sought after.
The quaint fishing village of Dungeness, Washington is where Dungeness crabs get their name. Found in Pacific waters along the west coast from Alaska to Santa Barbara, California, Dungeness crabs are the bulky hunk of the crab foursome. Their fan shaped shell is sizeable, growing to as much as 10+ inches across. Their meat is sweet, tender, and delicate.
King crab is definitely king in Alaska as it is the most commercially important shellfish species due to its valuable revenue stream for the state. King crabs are divided by region and species, into three different types – red, blue, and brown. They’re called ‘king’ for good reason. These massive crabs can weigh between six and eight pounds, and their bodies average 11 inches across with a leg span of almost five feet. King crab meat is mild in flavor with a nice sweetness.
Now that we know a little more about this yummy shellfish, here’s how to tackle the task of eating them.
HOW TO EAT CRAB LEGS
- Have at the ready a crab cracker, seafood mallet, cocktail fork, and shallow bowl.
- Separate each leg from the cluster with a gentle twist and tug near where the leg connects to the cluster.
- Bend the leg at each joint. This action loosens the meat in the leg.
- Start cracking! Bend the leg between the joints to crack the shell or use the crab cracker at the midpoint between joints to crack it. Beware, juice could spray out when you start cracking. Be ready with a clean cloth for cleanup.
- Once the meat is exposed, simply pull it out of the shell. Use your cocktail fork to get to any smaller pieces.
- Discard the shells in a bowl.
- Dip the meat in your favorite sauce, enjoy, and repeat!
NEW FRIDAY NIGHT FEATURE - SNOW CRAB LEGS
Join us every Friday from 4pm - 10pm and enjoy two pounds of our delicious snow crab legs with a crisp house salad for only $45. AJ’s Steakhouse sources their Snow crab legs from fisheries in Alaska and Russia. The crabs are flash frozen while they are still alive to preserve their freshness and flavor. This process ensures you will have a flavorful crab leg meal every time you dine at AJ’s.
Look for our next blog about purchasing, preparing, and pairing crab legs at home with tips from AJ’s Executive Chef, Carl Eskridge.
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