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November 2007

Updated July 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Crab Types & Grades Of Crab Meat

Page 1: Understand Crab Meat & Shop Smarter


CAPSULE REPORT: Crabs are enormously popular in many cuisines around the world— only shrimp are a more popular shellfish in the U.S. But when you go to buy crab meat, the popularity can lead to confusion when you face the choices: jumbo lump...backfin...white meat...claw. Read this article and you’ll know where to spend your money. The NIBBLE editors have developed a comparison of crab meat grades and a “crab glossary” to provide an overview of the different types of crabs. This is Page 1 of a six-page article and glossary. Click on the black links below to see other pages.


When you set out to buy crab, you may not realize that this simple, four-letter word opens up big can of...crab decisions to be made. Unless you live in a coastal town where a particular type of crab is caught and worshipped, you have choices to make—educated choices—based on what you’re going to do with the crab.

  • Are you looking for fresh crab, to be cooked and served in the shell? Then look for the freshest (and meatiest) that your fishmonger has.
  • If you’re looking for picked crab for a recipe, you’re looking for canned crab. The next decision is: fresh canned, which must be refrigerated (and is extremely costly), or shelf stable, pasteurized crab meat.

When purchasing either fresh or pasteurized crab, there are two things to keep in mind:

  • The grade, based on what part of the crab the meat comes from
  • The species of crab, which tells you something about the flavor of the meat

Of course, not all grades and species of crabs are created equal. Even canned jumbo lump blue crab meat from six different brands will vary in flavor appearance. Learn which brands are the best (and read our review of Miller’s Select, a top brand of shelf-stable canned crab).


Continue To Page 2: Grades Of Crab Meat

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