dungeness crab feast

dungeness crab

Drop your crab pot overboard in about 30 feet of water, wait an hour or two, and you just might pull up a feast. Fishing for dungeness crab is one of the few ways I can count on for a successful seafood harvest. These sweet and tender crabs are best freshly boiled, served with a cold beer, an ear of corn or a simple salad. Invite the neighbors for a spontaneous dinner.

Dungeness crabs inhabit eel grass beds, muddy or sandy bottoms along the west coast of North America and get their name after a five mile long spit on the Olympic Peninsula that can actually be seen from space—which is so cool.

dungeness crab feast

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  • ½ crab per person (average uncleaned crab is about 2½ pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 8 quarts of water, bring to a boil
  • seafood cocktail sauce or melted butter



Prepare a large (8 quart) stock pot of salted boiling water. You can use seawater if you are a purist.


Cook live crabs by dropping them into the boiling water, wait for the boil to return, and continue boiling for 15 minutes.


Rinse with cold water and allow to cool prior to cleaning.


I prefer to clean the crabs before cooking them which means flipping the live crab upside down and chopping it in half so that the guts and gills can be removed. I do this at the water's edge, pealing back the halved top shell and rinsing the crab in the salt water to remove the guts and gills. You then can cook the crabs the same way as you would live crabs and don't have the cleaning task ahead of you.


Serve with seafood cocktail sauce or melted butter for dipping.


My father's way to serve dungeness crab was with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread and a cold beer. I think that still stands the test of time.




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