Looking for recipes to smoke crab legs!

Discussion in 'Non-fish Seafood' started by trevcunn, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Wanting to smoke crab legs and scallops on my yoder pellet smoker this weekend but have no clue where to even begin. Any recipes or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'll let others be more specific because I have not Smoked Crab or Scallops(YET!) but I have done 16/20 Shrimp in the Smoker at 225*F for thirty minutes, with just Rub and they are always perfect. Crab Legs need to be split so smoke can get to the meat. I would suggest a good brush down with melted Butter and a sprinkling of Old Bay or Cajun Seasoning. The crab is just getting reheated since outside of Alaska they are cooked and frozen on the boat. I would expect 30 minutes at 225*F would get these done nicely as well. The average Large 10/20 per Pound Scallop should only be cooked to Med/Rare or Medium, 130-140*F max or they will be Rubbery. I think the same time and temp will be good here as well. For flavor I would go with melting a stick of Butter in a pan with a Clove or two of minced fresh Garlic and the leaves from a couple of sprigs of fresh Thyme and/or Tarragon. Heat over low flame until all is bubbling and smells great then brush the Scallops, add a little S & P and go in the Smoker. I would use a Q-MAT and place a Drip pan under the seafood. Add any remaining Butter, Garlic and Herbs to the Drippings, heat to a simmer and use it for dipping the seafood or put the Flavored Butter over Steamed Rice or Noodles. One Half Pound of Butter should get the whole job done for 4 people...JJ
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  3. Thanks JJ! I will start with that and see what happens! I've never had crab so I'm not even sure what it's supposed to taste like and what texture it should even have. This might be interesting.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    trev, morning.....  If you have never tasted crab, try it with melted butter so you know where the starting taste is...  maybe add a little garlic and onion powder for the second bite....     I'm a believer in tasting stuff "naked" before I start adding stuff to it.....

    Seafood has a delicate flavor and adding stuff must be done sparingly, or the stuff can overpower it.....

  5. Ok thanks Dave. I'm worried about over cooking the scallops. It seems the best way is to wrap them in bacon. What would be the best temperature and time if im going to cook crabs and scallops at the same time?
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Scallops should be a bit translucent color and turn white/white when cooked...  stopping cooking at the time when the last bit of translucent color is still in the middle of the scallop and let the heat in the rest of the scallop finish the cooking process is the only way I know how to describe the perfect finished temp... probably about 135 IT....  

    Since you have crab legs and I'm pretty sure they are cooked..  JJ has covered this.... they will get rubbery with overcooking as the scallops will..  Do a light smoke as JJ suggested and give them a try...   I have had lightly smoked shrimp/prawns at a restaurant and done it at home also...  I really like a very very light mesquite on shrimp....  but then shrimp aren't as delicate as crab or scallops...  I would use apple, peach, pecan, alder or Pitmaster's Choice for a first go-round.... for maybe 15-30 minutes, depends on how smokey the smoker is....  dry the seafood first, then put in the smoker...  with full air flow through the smoker...   time and temp, I have absolutely no idea....  make your best guess, take notes for next time...  maybe smoke 1 or 2 each for a test and adjust from there....   seafood is pricey and no point screwing it up, if at all possible.....   this test could take you all day and be a total success for the next time...

    Sorry about being so vague but, now you know everything I know.....   Feel any smarter ??  I doubt it.... you are as confused as I am....   shoot from the hip and hope you hit the target..... I hope you get really lucky with this, and can then let us all know how to do it, and be a success.....

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Bacon wrapped Scallops start out with precooked Bacon then are Baked at 500*F to finish cooking the Bacon, never really gets crisp, and quickly cook the Scallop. There is no way you are going to do this in a Smoker! Stick with 30 minutes and 225*F then cut the biggest one open. I like them with the center still slightly med/rare, barely translucent as Dave said, but 150*F is absolutely as far as you want to go with any delicate seafood or it will get tough and dry The texture of Crab Legs will be similar to String Cheese Sticks. Bite through but tender and they are supposed to be Stringy if you pull them apart. As I said, other then East Coast Blue Crabs and West Coast Dungeness, all Crab Legs are in the stores Fully Cooked and Frozen. They are to be Just Heated Through and are easily over cooked. Scallops are more forgiving and are still good even if slightly over done. Since you have never had Crab Legs, go with daves suggestion and skip the Old Bay or spinkle some on at the table...JJ
  8. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    A better answer in my direct experience is to smoke your butter and use it to dip the crab. That will produce the same effect without the risk.

    Scallops should be almost raw to be at their best. We often eat them raw dipped in soy sauce and wasabi. They are spectacular that way. Fine restaurants usually grill them very briefly, very hot. Just enough to produce grill marks and firm up the outside. The inside will remain translucent.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I think that is a good idea but it is a bit hot in Kansas this time of year to smoke Butter even with Ice or frozen bottles of water in the smoker and an AMNPS loaded with dust. I too enjoy Scallops Rare or Raw but I figured a first time eater would be put off by the suggestion...JJ 
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    AKhap........  Teach us how to smoke Ghee....crab dipped in smoked Ghee would be awesome......
  11. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    I do not fire up my big smokers for butter or cheeses... A box of appropriate size with a grate to hold the butter is needed and a long piece of metal pipe for smoke conduction. Packing it in bags of ice for as long as possible will cool the smoke dramatically. A wad of fiberglass insulation about midway along will filter the nasty hot spots out... and a tiny and smoky fire will produce all the smoke you need. After smoking the butter gets wrapped in saran wrap to allow the flavors to work their way through the butter for a couple weeks.

    Nothing like a big bowl of popcorn with smoked butter, IMO...
  12. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    The times I have had ghee were not special for me... I spent lots of time on dairy farms as a kid and remember dipping the big aluminum cup directly into the milk tank and scraping off big curls of milk fat that had stuck to the agitator paddles. Drinking the whole cup at once always gave you a "brain freeze"... but it was worth it!

    I understand there are lots of subtle things about ghee, but I am 6'4" and 240... subtle is often lost on me!
  13. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    I know lots of folks that do not like scallops raw or even rare... but you gotta give them the chance to do it right first! If they do not like them raw it is easy to change that with a few calories... hard to go the other way.

    When the scallop boats first came around to Alaska and were selling in Kodiak the scallops were available right off the boat. We sent our wives to do the buying because they got FAR better deals than we could manage! My wife had red hair that literally reached below her knees. When she combed it out and went scallop prospecting we ate very well, indeed! At the time (late '80s) hairy-backs would get them for $5 a pound... Redheads got them for $5 a pound, but the pounds weighed at least 5 pounds each! They came frozen in 5# muslin bags.

    A good friend and I once sat and ate a bag of scallops raw while sampling different scotch whiskys. So we opened a second bag when the first emptied too quickly. It did not last long either. Is actually a spectacular memory...

    Same friend came fishing with me in Kodiak one time and on his first drop ever while looking for halibut hooked a good fish. John brought it to the boat and I stuck the harpoon through it and tied it off to "relax" a bit. We dragged the fish over the rail and dropped it on the deck, about 6' of fish.

    "How big do you suppose that is, John?" says I.
    "70 pounds???"
    "Try 175" says I...

    I set the boat up for another drift and found myself alone on deck... John was having a beer in the cabin.
    "You going to fish?" I asked.
    "Nope, I'll never fish halibut again!"
    "Don't want to ruin my average!"

    His next time fishing halibut he actually caught an 80# and a 125# fish on the same day!
  14. hotnspicy

    hotnspicy Meat Mopper

    You guys have my wheels turning upstairs.  I really like making different things using smoked meat.  Smoked up a bunch of $0.99  lb split chicken breasts for dinner the other night & made chicken salad with it the next day for lunch.  Its nice how the smoke flavor comes out so I was thinking a smoked crab & corn chowder might be on my list soon.
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I make a smoked seafood chowder. Smoked salmon, mussels, crab, clams and oysters. Even add smoked corn sometimes. Super good!
  16. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit

    I have thrown some grab legs on the smoker before ( 225*  CC temp) in theory all you are doing is heating the legs (which are frozen), in the short time in the CC they thaw out, and the shell takes on a great color... pointless cause I never tasted smoke in the crab meat itself.. but its crab... its already good. Now I do like the idea of Smoked butter, cause that would iZJnfuse the taste of smoke... cause smoked butter is the bomb.... 

    Just dont over cook it.... rubber crab is what it is even with smoked butter... rubbber :) 

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