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Nov 17, 2004 03:50 PM

What is Jonah Crab?

  • m

I ordered some of this at a beachfront place on Tybee Island last week after the kid waiter told me it was similar to stone crab. I never got to taste it though because as soon as he set the claws in front of me I could smell that they were bad. They reeked of ammonia and crab-stink. But they didn't look all that appetizing anyway. They were kind of a gray-green with some hair-like stuff going on in the pincher part.
So what do they taste like when they aren't rotten? Is this one of the trash fish now foisted upon us as fod since we've have sucked all the good stuff out of the ocean?

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    here's a good link about jonah crabs...I have not tasted them, but the photos I have seen of them, they should be a reddish color when cooked, and their meat is white, and supposedly similiar in taste to stone crabs. Doesn't sound like you had a good version there, but I'm surprised because Savannah, GA is a crab town, and I don't think they would serve you something rotten like that. Blue crab is mostly what you get there...

    1. Jonah crabs are species Cancer borealis, which is closely related to Cancer irroratus, the more common rock crab of the northern Atlantic. They are related to, but quite a bit smaller than, the Dungeness crab (Canger magister) - which is of course a West Coast species - and they're not particularly closely related to stone crabs. Because they're not swimming crabs, like the blue crab, they don't have the nice large lump of "backfin" meat, which is actually the muscle that blue crabs use to operate their paddle-like swimming legs. I believe that many of them are taken by lobstermen as a by-catch; at least I know that most lobster traps I've pulled usually seem to have a couple of rock or Jonah crabs in them. I find the meat to be somewhat bland, especially compared to blue crab.

      1. You must have had something other than "Jonah Crab Claws"; they are sweet and delicious. Give them another try somewhete else; if you like crab you'll love them made properly.