There is just one crucial difference between buying clusters and crab legs: Clusters remain connected, while crab legs are individually portioned. King crab clusters consist of a whole side of a crab, which has three legs and a claw with its arm. All of the pieces are still connected at the shoulder area of the crab.
The number of legs per cluster will vary, depending on the variety of crab. The most common clusters for sale are from snow crabs. Snow crabs tend to be smaller, making the cluster a more practical option than selling individual legs. You might also find Dungeness crab clusters available online. King clusters are harder to find, but they are sometimes available via specialty retailers.
How Much Will I Pay for a Cluster?
Clusters tend to have a lower price-per-pound than individual legs. They cost less since fewer processing steps are required of the supplier. Not taking the extra step of removing the legs from the body makes the crab ready to ship quicker.
Alaskan king crab clusters are very common amongst online seafood retailers. Because of this, it is hard to pin down a price. Snow crab clusters are a more popular option. Snow crab clusters fall in the range of $50 per pound, and we guess that king crab will be more expensive.
How Does Cluster Shipping Work?
Crab clusters arrive at your door fully cooked and frozen. Whether you get king crab clusters or snow crab, any cluster will need to be refrigerated until thawed. Freeze any crab clusters you are not ready to use right away.
Many online stores offer free shipping if you meet an order minimum on the site. This is easy, as most people buy seafood in bulk. Plus, overnight shipping can be pretty pricey. Ordering more than you need to get free shipping is probably worth it. Crab can last a long time while frozen, so stock up if you can.
Tools Required for Preparing Leg Clusters
If you order crab legs, we recommend first investing in the tools you’ll need to enjoy them. Take note of these kitchen utensils and other crab eating accessories. With these, you will be able to conquer even Alaskan king crab clusters with ease.
Steamer Basket: Steamer baskets are insertable into whatever pot you use to steam the crab. This collapsible option makes for easy cleanup and holds a lot of crab, even when you choose to steam large king crab clusters.
Mallet: Seafood mallets help the crack open crab claws. They are designed to not shatter the shell leaving you with pieces of shell on the meat. Instead, it creates clean breaks.
Cutters: This relatively inexpensive crab eating accessory is a must for cutting through the shells on crab legs. They are especially useful for keeping the meat intact within the shell.
Butter Warmer: A butter warmer might be a bit excessive, but they make for a holistic crab experience. Butter warmers like this one keep the butter always warm and at the ready.