Every once in a while, Aldi rolls out snow crab legs as part of its Special Buy (ALDI Find) rotation. During one of those events, we decided to pick up some to celebrate a special occasion among a small group of family. We were just a bit nervous about this, through no fault of Aldi. Years ago we bought discounted crab legs from a different local low-inventory grocer and it was a catastrophe; since then, we’d stuck to traditional grocers when we had cause to get crab legs. But we also knew that this was Aldi, not the other store. We also knew that our family would be good-natured if things went wrong, although we hoped all would turn out well.
Aldi didn’t let us down.
Sea Queen Snow Crab Legs come in sturdy plastic pouches in the frozen section of the Special Buy area. When we bought them, they were each 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) and ran about $13 — about $8.66 a pound. That puts them about on par, or maybe slightly less, than crab legs at nearby traditional grocery stores.
This is the most informative bag for crab legs I have ever seen in my life. Most stores I shop at package their crab in thin bags with cost and maybe ingredients. Not this one. According to the bag, they contain crab legs (“Chionecetes Opilio” it proudly declares of scientific name) and salt, were wild caught by pots in the FAO 21 area of the Northwest Atlantic of Canada, and meet standards set by the Marine Stewardship Council for a “well managed and sustainable fishery.”
The bag also contains detailed preparation and cooking instructions, something I don’t typically see on bags of this type. The bag first recommends thawing the crab legs; for best results, it suggests placing them in a shallow pan in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours, but you can also run them under cold water for 3-5 minutes if needed. It warns to eat within three days of thawing and to not refreeze.
From there, the package offers three cooking options: steam, broil, and bake. Steam is the preferred method, and it involves filling a large pot of water 3/4″ deep, heating it to a boil, placing the thawed crab it in a steam basket, covering it, and steaming it for about 4 minutes. Broiling involves placing thawed crab on a broiler rack for 4-5 minutes, while baking involves preheating the oven to 400 degrees and placing thawed crab on a baking sheet and cooking for 4-7 minutes.
We didn’t use any of those three methods, though. We have, for years, boiled our crab legs, and that’s what we did here. We often use a Dutch oven for smaller amounts of crab or a stock pot for larger amounts, although if you go this route you’ll need to allot some time, as it takes a while for the water to come to a boil. We filled a pot with water and some salt, brought it to a boil, then cooked the crab for about 4-5 minutes before pulling it out with tongs. We served the crab with melted salted butter.
We tried out three full packs of Aldi’s crab legs, and all three were sensational. The legs were on the larger end of snow crab legs I’ve purchased — not quite king crab, but nicely sized anyway — and the meat was tender and tasty. If I hadn’t known they were from Aldi I wouldn’t have been able to detect any difference, and in fact they were better than some of the lots I’ve gotten from my local traditional grocery store.
Sea Queen Snow Crab Legs were an absolute winner with us. They were competitively priced, well-packaged, and, most, importantly, excellent crab. We know that every lot of crab legs can be a little different, but if our packs are any indication, Aldi has an excellent crab legs pipeline. Definitely recommended.