The Ultimate Alaskan Guide: King Crab and Beer Pairing

The Ultimate Alaskan Guide: King Crab and Beer Pairing

One of the best things about life in Alaska? All of the awesome food we get to eat along with our beer. Alaska has some of the world’s best seafood – wild-caught, sustainably harvested, and delicious as hell. We’re seriously spoiled. A lot of our employees won’t even eat seafood outside of Alaska because it’s just not as good #seafoodsnobs.

What’s one of everyone’s favorite meals? Alaskan King Crab. For the past few years, Juneau’s personal use king crab has been closed, to help low stocks recover. In 2017 and 2018, though, short seasons (just a few days!) have been opened, offering us a chance to throw some king pots and bait into the deep water near to Juneau – several hundred feet deep, in fact – and hope that when we pull ’em up, there will be a mess of king crab waiting for us.

The most recent opener was over the past weekend. Does that mean every self-respecting Juneauite’s social media feed is full of king crab pictures? Yes. Does this mean we’ve got king crab on the brain (and in the belly)? Also yes.

Crabbing is the hard part.  You need a boat, a pot, at least 300 feet of line, a buoy, good weather, for the fishery to actually be open… it’s a whole thing.

Cooking king crab, on the other hand, is easy. You need:

  • King crab
  • Water
  • A big-ass pot or crab cooker (like, 20 quarts, minimum)
  • Butter
  • Lemon
  • Scissors (or crab crackers… in a very unofficial, un-scientific poll of our office, none of us ever use or have ever used crab crackers. So…)
  • Obviously, Alaskan beer – we’d recommend Alaskan White

Put some water into the bottom of your pot, maybe about 6-8 inches. Bring it to a boil. Put your crab in. Cover the pot. Open an Alaskan beer. Take a sip. Let the crab steam for 6-10 minutes, depending on how much crab you’ve got. DON’T OVERCOOK IT! Test a leg at the 7  minute mark – if the shell is bright orange, and the meat is firm, opaque, and white with bright red on the outer layer, it’s done. If it’s mushy or transparent, it needs a little bit more time. Continue enjoying your beer. When your crab is done, remove it from the pot using tongs (the shells will be hot and are very pokey). Cut down the underside of each leg to remove the meat. Serve with melted butter, lemon, and a(nother) cold Alaskan White, and lots of napkins. Enjoy! Bask in your accomplishment, comparing crab shell battle wounds with your dining companions and dripping butter down your wrists and onto your slippery White bottle. You’re one of us now.