The Best Way to Cook Dungeness Grab

Here on the West Coast, Dungeness crab season is well under way.  The crab season peaks at the start in December and runs through June.  Here are more Dungeness Crab Season Facts.

Some people lament on how dry Dungeness crab meat can be, but they may not be doing it right.  I’ve experimented with cooking live crab at home and I found the perfect method to yield totally cooked but very juicy meat.  I prepared crab for a picnic party of 10 and made dipping sauces.  The crab meat was so good on its own that no one used the sauces!


Recipe after the jump! 🙂

Before we get into cooking, I have to say it is amazing how much prices for crab can me marked up when you eat out at a restaurant.  The price can be marked up even double when you buy them cooked at a fresh seafood stand at the pier.  I was able to nab 2 live crabs for $16 at the local asian supermarket.

I try to pick crabs just under 2 lbs each to shave off some extra cost and I find that this is just about the perfect weight for easy handling and cooking.

My perfect method is ridiculously simple – fill large pot to about 2 inches in water, bring to a boil on high heat.  You can add salt to the water, but it’s not necessary.

Once the water is boiling. grab each crab, one at a time, with a pair of tongs and place in pot.  Cook for exactly 6 minutes, cooking 2 at a time. The shell color should turn totally pink/red.

Some recipes recommend running the cooked crab in cold water to stop the cooking process once they are removed from the pot but this is unnecessary if you cook for 6 minutes.  Even if the crab cooks in its own shell for longer, it will still be juicy.  Crab is also best served warm.

If you’re looking for a different sauce than melted butter, try Vietnamese style dipping – lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.  It’s quite refreshing.

For those of you that think there isn’t much meat in crabs, this how to video will convince you otherwise:

Happy eating!


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