If you have never eaten crab legs before, the task may appear daunting. Others who are enjoying their crab legs and delicious crab recipes make it look easy. So, how do you eat crab legs?

First of all, have patience. It takes time to properly crack open the crab legs and eat the meat from them. And, when you finally do get to the meat, you may look at it and say “Is that all there is?” Even in crabs such as Dungeness that have a high meat to shell ratio, the meat still takes time to get to. If you are enjoying stone crab claws, you will need a mallet to crack the shell because its shell is very hardy and thick. Every restaurant or seafood buffet will carry a tool you can use to crack open your crab legs. A good colloquial name for the tool is a “crab cracker” because it actually looks like a large version of a nut cracker.

Here’s how to eat crab legs:

  • To eat your crab legs, hold the crab leg in one hand. It is best to hold it in your non-dominant hand (e.g. if you are right-handed, hold the crab leg in your left hand). Hold on to the crab cracker in your other hand.
  • Turn the crab leg sideways. You want the sides of the crab leg to fit into your cracking tool. That will give you more leverage. Squeeze the tool until you crack open the shell.
  • Use a long-stemmed fork (most restaurants will have these) to remove the crab meat from the shell of the leg.
  • If you are lucky, you may be able to twist the crab leg at its joints and crack the shell this way. Then simply remove the delicious meat and enjoy.

Some people crack the legs, removing as much crab meat as possible, and then suck the remaining crab meat out of the leg shell.