Pacific Northwest Dungeness Crab
Dungeness crab is a staple seafood in the Pacific Northwest. Seafood Watch (a sustainable seafood advisory list) classifies this crustacean as a sustainable alternative to other, less sustainable or farmed fish.
Before cooking, Dungeness crab have a purplish body and legs with earthier tones.
Male crabs are legal to catch, sell, and consume. Their narrow bellies and size are easy indications between
Dungeness crab offers a large amount of meat in their claws, legs, and bodies with more flavorful meat in the claws and legs. Don’t discount the bodies, however. Their mild meat is great in crab cakes and other dishes!
The Easiest Way to Cook Crab
- 5-gallon pot and lid
- Stovetop/propane crab cooker (easily found on Amazon or other marine retailers)
- 3.5 gal Water (can be reused)
- Salt (to taste)
- Fresh Caught Dungeness Crab (as many as you want)
- Salt cold water to taste (similar flavor to ocean water helps bring out crab’s flavor. Do not over-salt)
- Boil water in the covered pot
- Add crab and re-cover pot
- Wait for water to re-boil
- Cook 10-15 minutes after rolling boil begins
- Remove crab with metal tongs and cool crab in ice water
Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival
Port Angeles hosts an annual Dungeness crab and seafood festival. This acclaimed event has many alternatives for those who enjoy festivals but aren’t sure about crab, and for the outdoor enthusiast, Port Angeles offers many nearby activities including:
- Gift Shopping
- and so much more
2020’s festival has been canceled for public safety, but 2021’s dates have already been posted.
- Start – October 8th, 2021
- End – October 10th, 2021
Admission is free, and with Square POS, carrying cash becomes less of a necessity. Don’t miss out on the crab tent or the Friday community dinner. There is plenty to do for a weekend away from city life.
For more information, go to the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival website: landing.crabfestival.org/#guests
For the Adventurous Types
Interested in going crabbing but don’t know where to start? Before you buy your gear, hop in a boat, and drop your baited pots into the saltwater, here are a few, good things to know.
- The smallest legal catch size – 6.25 inches across the body from inside the points
- Their legs must be “hard” when caught. Testing the front-most legs behind the claws is easiest. There should be little or no give when squeezed. “Soft” crab indicates recent growth and their muscles have not grown fully into their shells. These are illegal, and fisheries law enforcement patrol some of the greatest crabbing locations.
For more information on catching crab, go to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website: https://wdfw.wa.gov/