Smoked Crab Legs Recipe

Smoked Crab Legs

Smoked Crab Legs are the best way to enjoy crab and this recipe allows you to make them from the comfort of your own home! Once you try this recipe you will realize this is a whole new level of crab meat. Smoked crab legs with melted butter and seasoning mix are something truly out of this world. This could be the perfect recipe for seafood BBQ, you can enjoy this recipe the whole year and you won’t get tired of it.

Yones Bbq Rubs

Smoked Crab Legs

Smoking these snow crab legs is really simple and easy and takes hardly 30 minutes to make! Since you can buy them pre-cooked before freezing, all you have to do is smoke them. These fancy restaurants do the same with the crabs they just boil them or steam the crab for tender crab meat. Why pay a lot of bucks for something that you can make at home for half the price.

How To Make Smoked Crab Legs

Step 1: Preheat the smoker

First of all, prepare the smoker and Preheat it for indirect cooking. Set the temperature to 250 degrees F, and close the lid of the smoker. Add cherry wood chunks for the smoke flavour.

The reason fruitwood is used Is because it has a mild flavour which is required for seafood. If you are using beef or pork then you can go for strong flavour wood like hickory.

Keep in mind, don’t go for hickory or mesquite as they are too strong and will overcome the flavour of the smoked crab legs.

Step 2: Prepare the butter mixture

Now, as we are done with the smoky flavour it’s time to work on the actual flavour. And for that you will be needing a saucepan to melt the butter, you can either use a microwave oven or a stovetop.

If you are thinking about how much butter you will be needed so there’s a simple rule of thumb for that. For every 10 pounds of crab legs use 1 pound of butter.

As you begin to melt the butter you will see a white foamy layer over it that are milk solids and they change the flavour of the butter. So use a spoon to remove all the white from the butter.

Once you are done with removing all the milk solids from the butter, you will be left with clarified butter, which is going to be yellow in colour.

Now, as you have got the clarified butter, it’s time to add spices to it like BBQ rub, parsley, crab seasoning, and lemon juice.

Mix all these things really well until they are well combined.

Step 3: Dip the legs in the batter

Pour that batter into a baking tray or use some sort of pan for it. Take the crab legs and dip them in the batter. Make sure they are covered really well from all sides, flip them for even covering in the batter. Once the crab legs are completely drenched in the butter mixture it is now time to move on to the next step.

Step 4: Smoke the crab legs

Well, you have an idea that you don’t have to cook the crab legs as they are already cooked and flash-frozen, all you have to do is just give them indirect heat so they get the flavour of the smoke and get heated up.

Set the temperature to 250 degrees F before smoking the crabs. Always make sure the smoker is set to the right temperature before you start to smoke crab legs.

If the temperature is too high you could get them overcooked, So for that reason maintain the temperature.

At 250 Degrees F, it would take around more or less 30 minutes for the crabs to be smoked. Time may vary depending on the size of the crab.

Step 5: Basting the crab legs

As the crab legs are being smoked you can use the reaming butter mixture to baste the legs. After every 10 minutes, use a cooking brush to apply the butter mixture to the crab legs. After it reaches the midway, flip them and repeat the same process.

To check if it is cooked, take a leg of the crab and crack open it. Use your hands to open up the shell, if it is cooked meat will separate from the shell easily.

Step 6: Serve

Now, as the crab legs are smoked it’s time to take smoked crab legs out from the smoker place them on the dish or platter. And serve immediately with some sauce like tartar, diablo, or cocktail sauce.

Tips For Making The Best Smoked Crab Legs

  • King or Snow? If you are thinking which crab is better, the snow crab or king crab? Snow crab is a better option in every aspect. It is easy to find and it is also very affordable. They are smaller in size, but have long legs and their shells are also weak so they can be opened easily.

More Great Smoked Seafood Options:

If you’re looking to try other smoked seafood recipes, then you must give a try to our Smoked CodSmoked Shrimp, or Grilled Salmon recipes. They are healthy and easy to make.

Best Beer To Pair With Smoked Crab Legs

Prepare to delight in the ocean’s bounty with your Smoked Crab Legs! These sweet and succulent delicacies deserve the perfect beer companion to enhance your seafood experience. Let’s explore the top beer pairings that will make your crab legs a maritime adventure.


Witbier, with its light and citrusy character, is like a sunny beach day for your Smoked Crab Legs. The beer’s subtle spice and hints of orange and coriander complement the delicate sweetness of the crab, creating a flavor harmony that’s simply delectable. The effervescence of Witbier refreshes your palate, making every crab leg feel like a breezy taste adventure. This pairing is as easy-breezy as a seaside escape and as tasty as a beachfront feast.


Pilsner, with its crisp and clean nature, is like a refreshing sea breeze for your Smoked Crab Legs. The beer’s clear taste complements the savory flavors of the crab, creating a delightful harmony of flavors. The effervescence of a Pilsner cleanses your palate, making every bite of crab leg feel like a breezy taste adventure. This pairing is as easy-breezy as a picnic by the shore and as tasty as a coastal feast.

Blonde Ale

Blonde ale, with its light and slightly malty character, is like a sun-kissed picnic for your Smoked Crab Legs. The beer’s mild sweetness and clean finish enhance the delicate sweetness of the crab, creating a delightful and harmonious pairing. The beer’s effervescence adds an extra layer of excitement to every bite. This pairing is as bright and cheerful as an outdoor gathering, where the crab legs take center stage.

Smoked Crab Legs

Smoked Crab Legs Recipe

Amazingly delicious Smoked Crab Legs you can try at home.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine American
Servings 4



  • 10 lbs Snow Crab Legs
  • Clarified butter
  • 2 tbsp BBQ Rub
  • 1 tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Crab/Shrimp Boil seasoning
  • Lemon juice


  • Prepare the charcoal smoker. Preheat it to 250 degrees F for indirect cooking. For smoke flavor, use a chunk of cherry wood this will give the crab legs an amazing flavor.
  • Take a saucepan, place it on low heat, add butter to it and melt it. Once the butter is melted, add BBQ rub, Parsely, Crab boil seasoning, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and add the melted butter to it. Combine them well by stirring them.
  • As the butter mixture is ready it is time to drench the crab leg clusters in this mixture. Place the butter mixture in a pan and dip the crab legs in it. Save the remaining butter for basting.
  • It’s time to get the crab legs smoke, place them on the grill, and put them in the smoker box for about 30 minutes. While it is getting smoked use the remaining butter mixture to baste it after every 10 minutes.
  • Take the legs out of the smoker after 30 minutes make sure they are steaming hot. Serve these steaming hot smoked crab legs instantly with cocktail sauce, drawn butter, and lemon slices.
Keyword crab, crab legs

Smoked Crab Legs FAQs

Are crab legs always precooked?

Yes, mostly they are precooked to preserve the richness and flavour of the meat. They are cooked on the boat and then flash frozen. It is always best to buy frozen crabs because the more the crab legs are thawed, the more meat loses its flavour.

How long do the crab legs last in the fridge?

If they are wrapped tightly with aluminum foil and stored in an airtight container, cooked crab legs will last for 3 to5 days in the fridge.

Can you overcook crab legs?

Don’t even think of doing that, As they are precooked, and cooking them or boiling them for a long time will turn the meat colour into yellow. And it will also give the classic fish odour.

How can you tell if the crab legs are bad?

That is really simple, just look for the colour of the meat. It should be white as snow if feel like the colour is a bit off and avoid eating it.

Scroll to Top