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Apr 2, 2007 05:03 PM

What do the fishermen do with King Crab bodies?

Everyone knows what happens with the legs and claws - they are cooked, and we devour them!! : ) But I was just seeing a documentary about "The Deadliest Catch", and I just wondered, what do the fishermen do with all the bodies of the crabs? Do they keep them for themselves? Shouldn't there be a lot of good meat left there? Does anyone know? Just curious --

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  1. I'm sure it's not wasted, especially since the boats got paid ($6 plus) a pound in recent episodes. I'm guessing the meat is steamed off the carcass and canned perhaps or included in chowders and bisques. In the 18th Century, here in the U.S., lobsters weren't eaten, but were thrown whole into fields and used as fertilizer. Perhaps the carcasses are polverized into fertilizer. Does anyone out there know? Great question, aurora50.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      it's a misperception they were not eaten. they were so astonishingly plentiful however, they were considered poor man's food.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        It would be great to see a timeline displaying when lobsters actually began to become irresistible (to all walks) and thusly effect their usage and numbers.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Very interesting. Nice work, hotoynoodle ... !!! : )

      2. re: Cheese Boy

        I remember seeing a few minutes of Worlds Dirtiest Jobs, or something- cant remember the name of the show. But they were working at a crab factory and the "trash" parts of the crab, shells, guts, etc, were ran through an emulsifier. I didn't watch long enough to see what they did with the emulsified product, but the jest was that it was sold for something. 100% of the crab brought in money- probably fertilizer- my uneducated guess.

        1. re: Spencer

          Some of the "remains" can/are used to produce "crab flavor" extracts. It is also possible to process the shells and extract "chitin" for other applications - I am not sure if that is actaully done in the US. As such, crab bodies do not make great fertilizer since a lot of what's left is hard to digest by the bugs (i.e. chitin).

          1. re: Pollo

            Thanks for the replies, everybody, but I still have questions - like, when you pull apart a Dungeness crab, there's still good meat there in the body - can you imagine what is left in the bodies of King Crabs??? What happens to all that good meat???

            1. re: aurora50

              Friskie's Mariner's Catch?

              Seriously ... from the NY TImes ...

              "The body of the crab has a little meat, but it usually goes to canners. "

              So canned or frozen crab meat.

              Interesting ... I found out there are three types of king crab ... red, blue and golden or brown and we only eat male king crabs. They are relatively new in terms of seafood use.

              Seems like there is an Asian market for whole live king crabs. I wonder how they are eaten usually. If you should ever find yourself in possesion of a whole live king crab .. .here's a recipe ... gee ... I thought killing a lobster was a big deal ... I can't imagine tangling with a live king crab ... the stuff of a horror movie, eh ... the attack of the king crab.

              1. re: rworange

                I was having dim sum at Zen Peninsula a week ago and noticed they had a good number of live king crabs in the tank. I think they were $20/lb. I recall the restaurant was offering the live crabs cooked three ways to use the whole thing: 1) steamed legs appetizer; 2) what looked to be the roe/brain/misc made into a soup; 3) stir-fried bodies for entree.

                Their website mentions a two-way prep (can't read Chinese but there are references to a salty egg prep and a noodle prep):


                1. re: PekoePeony

                  Wow!!! Thanks everyone, especially rworange - I really enjoyed reading that stuff - who ever knew there was that much to King Crabs!! Makes you respect them a little more while you're eating them. ; )