The Perfect Grilled Snow Crab Legs – Cooking Times and Techniques for Grilling Success

There’s nothing better than these crab legs on the grill! If you want to cook your own crab legs at home, use this recipe for seasoned garlic butter. They’ll be the best grill crab legs you ever have. I guarantee it.

Grilling snow crab legs is a delicious way to enjoy this tender sweet shellfish. With their iconic long, slender shape and bright red shells snow crab legs make for an impressive presentation. However, achieving the ideal cook on the grill can be a bit tricky. Undercook them and you’ll end up with cold, chewy meat inside. Overdo it and the crab can become unpleasantly rubbery. No one wants tough, overcooked crab!

So how long should you grill snow crab legs to get them cooked to tender perfection? Read on for everything you need to know about grilling times techniques and tools to help you master cooking snow crab legs on the barbecue.

How Long to Grill Snow Crab Legs

The exact grilling time can vary a bit depending on the size and thickness of the legs, but as a general rule of thumb, plan on grilling snow crab legs for 7-8 minutes per side. For legs that are on the thicker side, extend the time to 9-10 minutes per side. It’s important to grill them slowly over medium-high heat to allow the heat to fully penetrate the shells.

Here are some more snow crab leg grilling times to keep in mind:

  • Smaller legs: 6-7 minutes per side
  • Medium legs: 7-8 minutes per side
  • Larger, thicker legs: 9-10 minutes per side

You’ll know the crab legs are done when the meat along the edges of the shell turns opaque and the meat in the center of the leg is hot. Use a knife to slice into a leg and check that the interior meat has lost its translucent appearance.

Be careful not to overcook the crab. It can quickly go from tender and juicy to rubbery and dry if grilled too long. If in doubt, err on the side of slightly undercooked since the residual heat will continue cooking it a bit more off the grill.

Tips for Grilling Snow Crab Legs Perfectly

Follow these simple tips for grilling snow crab legs flawlessly every time:

1. Thaw Properly

Never throw frozen crab legs directly on the grill! They must be completely thawed before cooking. Thaw legs overnight in the refrigerator or for a quicker method, place them in a colander under cold running water for 30 minutes to 1 hour until thawed through.

2. Preheat and Oil the Grates

Preheating ensures the grill is hot enough to properly sear the exterior while gently cooking the interior. Oil the grates well to prevent the legs from sticking.

3. Grill Slowly Over Medium-High Heat

The key is using a medium-high temperature, around 400°F. Too high and the outsides will burn before the inside cooks. Too low and the crab won’t get hot enough.

4. Grill With the Shell Side Down First

Lay the legs shell-side down on the grill first. The shell protects the delicate meat from direct heat while allowing steam to gently cook the crab.

5. Flip Halfway

After 7-10 minutes (depending on size), flip the legs over using tongs and cook the other side.

6. Check for Doneness

Check for done-ness before removing from the grill. The meat should be opaque along the edges and hot in the center when fully cooked.

7. Watch Carefully to Avoid Overcooking

It’s easy to overdo it, so stay close and watch them carefully. Err on the side of slightly underdone.

How to Prepare Snow Crab Legs for Grilling

Proper preparation is key to delicious grilled snow crab legs. Here are some tips:

  • Clean the legs by rinsing under cold water and scrubbing with a stiff brush. Pat dry.

  • Season with Old Bay, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika, or cajun seasoning.

  • Coat with oil – Brush lightly with olive oil, vegetable oil, or melted butter before grilling. This helps prevent sticking.

  • Slice – Use kitchen shears to cut slits along the bottom side of each shell. This allows heat to penetrate better and makes it easier to access the meat after cooking.

  • Soak – Some people like to soak the legs in beer, wine or seafood broth for added flavor.

With just a bit of prep, you’ll be ready to sizzle those legs on the barbecue grill.

Grilling Tools for Perfect Snow Crab Every Time

Having the right grilling tools on hand makes achieving snow crab leg perfection much easier:

  • Tongs – Essential for safely flipping the legs halfway through grilling without burning your fingers. Look for ones at least 12 inches long.

  • Basting brush – Use to coat legs with oil or melted butter before grilling. Silicone brushes withstand heat well.

  • Instant-read thermometer – Takes the guesswork out of doneness by checking the internal temperature of the thickest part of the leg.

  • Kitchen shears – Makes prep easy by allowing you to snip shells before grilling.

  • Grill tray – A perforated grill tray or grill basket provides an easy way to maneuver and flip the legs while grilling.

  • Insulated mitts – Protect hands from burns when handling hot crab legs.

  • Crackers and picks – Must-have tools for getting at the sweet crabmeat inside the shells after cooking.

With the right gear and proper technique, you’ll be rewarded with tender, deliciously grilled snow crab legs every time. Don’t be intimidated to put these long-legged beauties on the barbecue. Just follow the tips above for foolproof, crowd-pleasing results. Enjoy that sweet, smoky crab meat straight off the grill or pair it with melted butter, lemon wedges, or your favorite dipping sauce. Grilled snow crab makes for a spectacular meal that feels luxurious but is easy enough for any weeknight. Get ready for your new go-to summer tradition!

how long to grill snow crab legs

How to Grill Crab Legs

These crab legs make the perfect holiday meal or anytime you’re looking for a fancier meal. It’s definitely our go-to special occasion recipe. Here’s the 411 on how to grill crab legs:

  • Split the legs. Start by cutting the crab legs in half along their length. Your fishmonger may sell the legs already split, or they may be happy to do it for you. If you have strong hands and good kitchen shears, you can also split the legs yourself. For the best flavor, split the legs before putting them on the grill. It lets the flavors of the fire and the seasoned butter get into the sweet crab meat.
  • Season. Melted butter, chopped basil, garlic, lemon juice, and Sweet Rub are all things that you need to make the seasoned garlic butter. Spoon the butter over the exposed crab meat. Set the rest aside to serve with the grilled crab.
  • Grill. Once your gas or charcoal grill is hot (225 degrees F), put the crab legs on the grates with the shell side down. Cover the grill and cook for about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy. Move the crab legs from the grill to a serving platter. Serve right away with the seasoned garlic butter that you saved and another bowl of melted butter. Dig in!.

Can You Grill Crab Legs?

Most folks are familiar with boiling or steaming crab legs. This method works fine, but grilling them with garlic butter that has been seasoned will change the way you think about crab legs.

Yes, you can most definitely grill crab legs. The char from the grill imparts amazing flavor, and the process is easy and straightforward.

Grilled Snow Crab Leg with Buttered Corn


How long to grill crab legs at 400 degrees?

Preheat your grill to medium heat (about 350°F-400°F). Grill crab legs for about 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until hot throughout. Let cool enough for you to handle before serving.

Can I cook frozen snow crab legs on the grill?

Remember to thaw the crab legs before grilling, season them well, and cook them over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. With a little practice, you’ll be grilling snow crab legs like a pro!

Can you grill crab legs in foil?

Season each crab leg with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover each crab leg with remaining sheets of aluminum foil; roll top and bottom edges together to create sealed packets. Cook packets on preheated grill until crab legs are bright pink on the outside and the meat is opaque, about 20 minutes.

How long to grill thawed king crab legs?

Place thawed crab legs on tin foil and double wrap. Once grill is heated, place legs in the center in direct heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Cut open to feel for temperature.

Can you cook crab legs on a grill?

Grilled Crab Legs is such a treat in the summer, this foolproof recipe is so easy and works with king crab legs, Dungeness crab legs and snow crab legs! Heat grill to medium-high. Spritz crab legs all over with olive oil spray and place on hot grill. Cover and cook about 7 minutes on each side, or until the meat in the center is heated through.

How do you cook snow crab legs?

To cook snow crab legs, heat them through and lightly char the shells on the grill. Grilling snow crab legs is simple: remember to thaw them beforehand, season well, and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.

Can snow crab legs be grilled?

Snow crab legs can be grilled. Grilling them is easier than you think, and with these simple tips, you can get perfectly cooked crab legs every time. Remember to thaw the crab legs before grilling, season them well, and cook them over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side.

How should you thaw crab legs before grilling?

Before you start grilling, make sure your crab legs are fully thawed. This can take several hours in the refrigerator, so plan ahead. Step 2: Prepare the Grill Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 375°F. Brush the grates with oil to prevent sticking.

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