The Effortless Way To Remove Crab Leg Meat From The Shell

Those who agree that things taste better if you work for them might enjoy cracking walnuts with their bare hands and deveining shrimp before a garlicky scampi recipe. Those who relish their time eating and don't get more joy out of the arduous prep work to get the tasty morsels just can't relate. 

Though there is no right or wrong here, steamed crab legs are probably one of the most difficult foods to eat gracefully. To get to the sweet, tender meat, one must somehow hack through the crab's hard shell (usually with fingers, shellfish crackers, mallets, or a combination thereof) to get to the meat. That often means picking it out in long, thin strands. It's almost unheard of to get the whole piece of leg meat in one fell swoop, and by the time the meal is over, you're likely to have accidentally left more crab in the legs than in your belly — unless you use the flakeysalt TikTok hack to remove the meat with nearly no effort.

Get grabby with the crabby

Joshua Weissman, the chef and cookbook author behind flakeysalt, reveals that the "little cracker things destroy the meat inside" the crab legs, which makes sense. After all, the whole mechanism involves cracking through a shell so hard that it must absolutely annihilate the delicate meat inside. According to Weissman, all you need are scissors, your hands, and the will to eat all the sweet, tasty crab inside that shell.

Weissman says the key to this trick involves separating the crab legs from the body. Use a pair of sharp kitchen scissors to cut each crab leg at the joint, creating a hole through which the crab meat can slide from the shell to the table. After completing those steps in the video, he then holds the crab leg over a cutting board and bangs it hard with his free hand until the meat slides cleanly out of the shell. That's it.

Steam and serve

Now that you know how to separate the crab meat from its shell, let's take a step back and make sure you know how to cook it. In this case, simple is best. Steam the crab legs (after defrosting if they were bought frozen) for about five to six minutes per three pounds. Then, it's time to eat. 

Serve these juicy, sweet morsels of the sea with drawn butter, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and little else if you prefer. Some like to add Old Bay seasoning directly to the steaming water for an extra kick of spice and flavor. Whatever you do, keep the sides simple with vegetables like corn on the cob and boiled or baked potatoes. You want to make sure to let the crab shine. Even better, Weissman says this trick to getting the meat out easily works well with nearly any crustacean. This makes us think lobster could be a delicious next experiment. After all, now that it's this easy to enjoy these delicious shellfish, it would almost be a sin not to do so as much as possible.