What are Crab Forks?

Diane Goettel

Crab forks are special utensils that are used to extract meat from the interior of crab leg shells. As these areas are very long and narrow, crab forks are also very narrow. The forks have one or two tines and, while the forks are quite thin, the end tapers a bit so that they are easier to grasp. Crab forks are usually sold in sets and may also come along with a few other utensils used for eating shellfish such as tools that are used to crack and break shells.

A crab fork might be used to dig the meat out of a stone crab claw.
A crab fork might be used to dig the meat out of a stone crab claw.

The tapered area on the end of the fork that is opposite the tines is also sometimes used to extract crab meat from crab leg shells. In some cases, this section is even slightly curved like a spoon so that the meat can be scooped out. The tines are first used to help dislodge the meat from the interior of the shell. The tines are also sometimes sufficient to draw morsels of meat out of the shell. When the tines are insufficient to get all of the meat out of the shell, the spoon can be used.

Sometimes the spoon on the end of the fork is used to ensure that the meat is not picked to shreds while it is still inside of the shell. If the meat becomes shredded by the tines of the crab forks, it can be difficult to pull out of the shell. Many crab lovers have their own special method of extracting morsels from the insides of crab legs. Some people have difficulty using these utensils gracefully because they are so small and delicate. Just like learning to use any new kind of utensil, such as chopsticks, learning how to use crab forks takes a bit of time and practice.

Seafood restaurants that serve crabs legs almost always offer crab forks to their guests. Those who enjoy cooking crab at home can also purchase these utensils for use in domestic dining. These utensils are usually priced similarly to other utensils. Their price is based on the materials that are used to make them and which company produces them. In addition to newly-fabricated crab forks, there are also antiques on the market. Some of the finer varieties — those that are newly fabricated and antiques — are made out of silver.

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