What Is the Difference Between White Crab Meat & Lump?

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Crabs contain several different grades of meat.
Crabs contain several different grades of meat. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of José Antonio Gil Martínez)

Different categories of crab meat can serve different culinary purposes. Some grades work well as an elegant main ingredient, while others are perfect for blending into complex dishes.

Crab Meat

There are four main grades or types of crab meat. While jumbo lump, backfin and white crab meat all share similar coloring and flavor, the darker-colored claw meat has a bolder, more pronounced crab flavor than the other grades.

Lump

There are two different kinds of lump crab meat: jumbo lump and backfin lump. The latter sometimes goes by the catch-all name of “lump.”

White

White crab meat comes from the front part of the crab’s body and tends to flake on removal instead of keeping its form.

Uses

Lump crab meat offers both fine flavor and attractive visual appeal, making it a good central ingredient in dishes. White crab meat’s flakier texture and more affordable price make it a good choice when mixing crab meat into dishes with other ingredients.

Category Variations

Sometimes, crab meat is categorized into six different grades instead of four, with the majority of crab meat defined as “white” meat except for the claw meat. Under this classification system, the crab meat types include lump, backfin, jumbo lump, special (the equivalent of "white" in the four-category system), claw meat and culinary jumbo.

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