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Nov 13, 2011 05:57 PM

Dungeness Crab

Crab season opens Tuesday. Santa Cruz, CA. I will be picking up some live crab from the harbor and will be cooking mine the way I always do. Steamed with a little old bay seasoning in the water along with some sea water. Plunge in ice water when finished steaming. Crack and eat. I know there are more ways to cook these, just stuck in my way. Ideas or recipies, maybe garlic crab, or some great crab cake recipies. How do you prepare your crab?

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  1. Personally, I can't think of anything better than what you do! I never even used the Old Bay, just a bay leaf or 2 and some peppercorns. Instead of messing with the basic concept, maybe you can try some different dipping sauces, like an aioli, maybe some chimichurri, at least for the legs and claws. For the inside meat, you could do crab cakes. I envy you. Growing up in Oregon, one does develop a taste for Dungeness and no other crab will do. And then if you move to México, you really are out of luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: MazDee

      I now enjoy good seasonal access to live dungeness crab thu the asian markets ($3.60/lb). Like most, I prefer to dine on them right out of the pot (nothing better than cracked sweet crab and cold beer). I use every part of the crab but the "oink" as they say, as all (except the lungs) go into another pot to flavor fish chowder. I do this after I'm done consuming the meat from the shell. After the shells exract all the flaver they can give, they are burried in the garden to feed the plants.

      My question is - Which is best - to steam or boil them? . . . and how long to steam or boil? I am told never to cook more than two crabs at a time as this may affect proper timeing.

      1. re: jbermo

        I put about an inch of water in the bottom of a pot, heavily seasoned (I find crabs need more seasoned water than shrimp or lobster) with salt, bay leaf, allspice, cilantro and coriander seed, and hot pepper. I don't use Old Bay, unless in tiny amounts. Too overpowering. I generally find 10 minutes is enough for 1 crab, about 2-2.5 lbs. No more than 15. I've never steamed more than 2 Dungeness, so I wouldn't know about timing them.

    2. Same as you and MazDee, let the crab be the star. I just like to have a little mayo and a plentiful supply of lemon wedges, and some extra sour sourdough bread with butter. Everything else that gets served with it is where I play with flavors if I ever want to.

      Being stuck in your way with dungeness crab is really not a bad thing at all ;)

      2 Replies
      1. re: mlou72

        You are correct. Don't ruin a good thing. They are the star. Yea , I like to eat them placed on a sheet pan next to the kitchen sink with a large bowl for discarding the shells. Cracking the shells and eating them over the sink. Maybe some melted butter to dip. It's hard to walk away. Crab cake recipies ?

      2. Hi, emglow:

        I'm 90% a purist like you and the others so far, but I confess my fav breakfast dish of all time is biscuits & crab gravy.

        BTW, this year's Dungeness in Puget Sound were the sweetest meat, fullest shells I can remember (53 years of eating, 43 of fishing), and other "crabheads" here have said the same thing.


        3 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          I just ate some last Thursday. Brought over by my neighbor. The sport crabbing has been unbelievable so far. Fat and sweet. Crab gravy ? Is it the butter from the crab. Sounds delicious.

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Okay, really. Recipe required now. Is it the one you got from Bad Albert's?

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Crab gravy or butter. How do you prepare your's ?

            2. I was skeptical of this recipe, but it was delicious. Four out of five times, I eat crab unadorned, but this is fun for that fifth time.


              1 Reply