If you’ve never had soft shell crabs before, you’re in for a treat. Actually, the idea of grilling soft shell crabs may just give you the chills, but if you’re game, here are some tips on how to grill soft shell crabs. Soft shell crabs are smaller and sweeter than hard-shelled counterparts. They can be found in most supermarkets and fish markets during peak season from spring through summer.
They also come in different sizes, with the smallest measuring about six inches long and the largest ranging from 12 to 18 inches long. Soft shells are an extremely popular crab among many people who live along the East Coast of the United States and Canada.
Not only are they delicious, but they’re also inexpensive as well at under $5 per pound. When buying soft shell crabs, make sure that your first purchase is firm with no cracks or signs of decay on their shells. You should also check for small nicks on their exoskeleton (skin) which could indicate an internal parasite that could make them unsafe to eat.
The last thing you want is to get home only to find out that your softshells were infested with parasites and make sure they’re not refrigerated within two days of purchasing them so they don’t spoil quickly if not prepared right away.
How to Grill Soft Shell Crabs
Once you’ve selected your crabs, here are a few tips on how to grill them:
- Keep the grill temperature between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- To grill soft shell crabs over direct heat, make sure you use a grill basket with some kind of nonstick coating. The best option is one with a wire mesh cover so the meat doesn’t stick to the grate
- Don’t overcrowd the grill. You should have about two inches between each crab or they will cook too quickly and get rubbery
- When grilling soft shell crabs, make sure that the outside of their shells is completely dry before cooking. This will prevent any water from getting into their body cavity which could ruin your meal
- Brush on an oil blend that includes both vegetable oil and olive oil (approximately 1/4 cup) before adding them to the hot grill for extra flavor
- If you don’t want to add them at once, cook one side first then turn over and continue cooking until they’re done
- Once they’re cooked through, remove them from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving
Tips for Cooking Soft Shell Crabs
Make sure you have a bowl of ice water nearby before you start cooking your softshells. This will help to keep the body temperature of the crab at a safe level so that it doesn’t cook too quickly and its meat stays tender.
Once you’ve drained the water from your soft shell crabs, place them on a paper towel in order to dry them off and remove excess moisture. This process will also help the shells to firm up more before cooking. Once your crabs are dry, brush on some melted butter or oil along their bodies and mix with some salt and pepper for flavor.
You can also add lemon juice for extra flavor if desired. Next, add a little bit of canola oil in a frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Place your crabs into the pan once it’s heated up and give them about 3 minutes until they turn bright red on one side.
Flip them using tongs and continue cooking for another 2 minutes until they turn bright red on both sides again. Finish by brushing on some melted butter over their bodies then place them on a paper towel to absorb some excess grease from the pan while they cool down for about 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges or cocktail sauce for dipping!
Variations For Soft Shell Crabs
Soft shell crabs can be grilled in many different ways. Some exciting methods of cooking them include skewering and deep frying. They are a versatile crab that can be prepared in many ways so you should experiment with your own recipes and find out what works best for you. Another variation on the softshell is to combine it with another type of crab, such as blue crabs or snow crabs.
What You’ll Need to Grill Soft Shell Crabs
The first step to grilling soft shells is to make sure the grill is hot. You’ll need a charcoal grill or a gas grill with a side burner. If you don’t have one of these, you can also use a stove top heat source such as an electric griddle on the lowest setting. Next, get your ingredients together–some butter, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Butter will give your crust a delicious flavor while adding moisture that soft shell crabs need during cooking. Garlic helps season the inside of the crab while lemon juice adds flavor and extra moisture to keep your seafood from drying out.
Variations for SoftShell Crab Recipes
There are many different ways that you can prepare soft shell crabs. Some of the most popular recipes include:
- Deep frying
- Wrapping in bacon or prosciutto
- Stuffing with cheese or other herbs and spices
Of course, if you’re going to fry your softshells, make sure to use a nonstick skillet and oil so they don’t stick. Just be careful not to overcook them as they’ll become tough and rubbery. Additionally, for a more crispy exterior, when frying them, start with a cold pan and then increase the temperature to medium high before flipping them over.
What you’ll need to make Crispy Fried Soft Shell Crab Recipe
- Soft shell crabs
- Oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- Baking soda
- Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
How to Make Fried Oysters and Shrimp Tacos with SoftShells
If you want to grill a treat while cooking outdoors this summer, try grilling the soft shell crabs. You can make fried oysters and shrimp tacos with softshells.
- 1/2 gallon of beer (or any other beer you prefer)
- 14 ounces of unsalted butter
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons flour for dredging
- 12 large eggs, beaten
- 2 pounds large shrimp (about 24), peeled and deveined
- 4 cups vegetable oil for deep fryer or Dutch oven In a pot or saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the onions and peppers, then add in the salt. Cook until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add in the flour and stir together until it forms a smooth paste that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Slowly pour in one half of the beer until incorporated into the mixture until it turns into a thick sauce. Keep stirring until it is completely smooth and coats your spoon.
Remove from heat and set aside; keep warm so it doesn’t harden up too much. In a separate bowl, whisk together all twelve eggs with two tablespoons of water before adding them to your fondue pot or Dutch oven along with four cups of vegetable oil or enough to immerse your crabs evenly when frying them. Heat over medium high heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit on your
Soft shell crabs are a great way to add a seafood dish to your menu. They are easy to make and require very little preparation time. Plus, the soft shells are great for the grill or oven and can be used to make different dishes like shrimp tacos, fried oysters and crispy fried softshell crabs. Enjoy!