Among the different kinds of crab, the three with the sweetest, most flavorful meat are probably blue crab, king crab, and snow crab (though I need to try dungeness again).  While all three are delicious, snow crab has an additional benefit in that it is relatively easy to extract large pieces of crab meat with only your hands.  Snow crab is also more readily available around the country than blue crab, and cheaper in general than king crab.

removing snowcrab meatTo remove the crab meat from a snow crab leg, start by breaking it sharply near either end of the long segments, just shy of the joints.  The first break should be on the end of the leg that was connected to the body.  The motion to use to break the shell is very similar to how one would snap a twig.  You shouldn't twist the leg to break the shell or you will damage the meat.  You also should not need a mallet or nut-cracker.  Simply bend the shell (as if you were snapping a twig) in either direction, and the shell will break cleanly.  The second break is at the other end of the long segment, just before the knuckle joint.  After the second break, gently wiggle the meat out of the shell, which should come off as a tube.  The entire segment of meat should come out whole.

There are a number of places to get snow crab, but three places we would recommend are Todai Lighthouse, Joe's Crab Shack, and Red Lobster.  The Lighthouse is located near the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica and is an all you can eat buffet.  Joe's Crab Shack has locations around the country including Redondo Beach and Dublin, Ohio.  They are garishly decorated and often loud, but they cook their crab in a saltier water, which adds to the flavor.  Red Lobster is, of course, a nation-wide chain.  They are especially worth visiting on Monday nights when they have their snow crab special of one pound for $10.95.