Boiled Dungeness Crab in the Pacific Northwest

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.

uncooked crab color
Before cooking, Dungeness crab have a purplish body and legs with earthier tones.

 

cooked crab color
Cooked crab become a similar, brick red to lobster. Crab takes little effort to prepare and taste great right out of the shell.

Male crabs are legal to catch, sell, and consume. Their narrow bellies and size are easy indications between

male crab stomach shape
Male Crab

 

female crab stomach shape
Female Crab

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

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.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Resting Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 5-gallon pot and lid
  • Stovetop/propane crab cooker (easily found on Amazon or other marine retailers)

Ingredients
  

  • 3.5 gal Water (can be reused)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fresh Caught Dungeness Crab (as many as you want)

Instructions
 

  • 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

Notes

If you want to enjoy fresh Dungeness Crab but aren’t ready to prepare it yourself, reach out to our Seattle personal chefs about our weekly meal service!
Keyword Boiled crab, Dungeness Crab

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:

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • 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

how to size crab

  • 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/

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