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smoked crab legs on a grill

Smoked Crab Legs with Clarified Cajun Butter

Crab legs rolled and basted in a cajun clarified butter and then slow smoked over indirect heat on any grill or smoker.
These smoked crab legs are easy to prepare, whether you are using a pellet grill like a Traeger, Camp Chef, or Pit Boss, a propane or electric smoker like a Masterbuilt, or just a conventional grill like a Weber. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine American, Australian, barbecue, BBQ, Keto, Seafood, Smoked
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 350 kcal


  • Large Saucepan
  • Mixing Bowl and Large Spoon
  • Large Aluminum Foil Pan
  • Basting brush
  • Grill, Pellet Grill, or Smoker
  • Pellets, Wood chunks, or a pellet tube smoker with pellets or a smoker box with wood chips
  • Grill Tongs
  • Grill Basket or Phat Mat (optional)


  • 6-8 lbs Frozen Crab Legs Thawed

Cajun Clarified Butter

  • 2 lbs Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Zatarain's Liquid Shrimp and Crab Boil
  • 2 Tbsp Minced and crushed fresh garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 Lemons Juice of 1 Lemon (Save the other lemon to cut into wedges to squeeze on fresh when serving.)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Melt the Clarified Butter

  • Place the butter in a large saucepan and melt slowly over VERY LOW heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted
    melting butter in a pot
  • Remove the butter from the heat and gently skim off the solid milk fat solids floating on top with a large spoon and discard.
    skimming milk fat off of drawn butter
  • Transfer the clarified butter from the saucepan to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
    pouring clarified butter for smoked crab legs into a bowl

Prepare the Grill or Smoker

  • Light or turn on your smoker or pellet grill and set up the temperature to 225°F. If using a grill, set up the burners or charcoal on only one side for indirect cooking.
    setting the traeger pellet grill to 225 degrees F
  • Add your wood chunk(s) directly to the firebox or on top of the charcoal of a smoker, or use chips in a smoker box, or pellets in a tube smoker on a gas grill.

Prepare the Cajun Butter and Season the Crab

  • Add the liquid shrimp boil, garlic, parsley, cajun seasoning, and the juice of 1 lemon to the clarified butter. Stir gently to incorporate.
    adding parsley to clarified butter in a bowl
  • Set at least half of the cajun butter aside for dipping later, pour the remaining half into a large aluminum foil pan.
    pouring seasoned clarified butter for smoked crab legs into a pan
  • Roll the thawed crab legs in the pan of butter to coat on all sides and then place on a tray until ready to smoke.
    seaosning crab legs in a pan before putting on the smoker

Smoke the Crab Legs

  • Once smoke is being produced, put your crab legs in the smoker, or on the grill AWAY from the direct heat.
    smoked crab legs on a smoker
  • At the 15 and 30 minute marks, brush the smoked crab legs on all sides with more cajun butter from the foil pan. Do not use the butter you set aside for dipping.
    basting butter on smoked crab legs on a pellet grill
  • After 45 minutes, remove the crab legs from the smoker or grill and place on a large serving platter.
    a finished plate of smoked crab legs
  • Serve with a lemon wedge and individual cups of the cajun butter you set aside for dipping for each guest. Enjoy!



Recipe inspired by and video courtesy of Armadillo Pepper.


Calories: 350kcal
Keyword alaskan king crab legs, barbecue, bbq, Butter, cajun, Camp Chef, clarified butter, drawn butter, electric smoker, Masterbuilt, pellet grill, Pit Boss, shellfish, smoked crab legs, smoked seafod, snow crab, traeger, Weber
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