How to Cook and Clean Dungeness Crab
These directions are for those who prefer to personally cook and clean raw Dungeness Crab or fully cooked Dungeness Crab but not cleaned.
As one might expect, preparing a Dungeness crab can be a daunting task. It's a bit more complicated than, say, preparing chicken or meat in some cases because you need to take the time to carefully clean the crustacean and prepare all of its juicy goodness for your taste buds. Luckily, these instructions will show you exactly how to do it step-by-step.
Now let's get started on cooking these crabs!
Get Your Tools Ready
The first thing you'll want to do is get yourself a few tools.
- Large bowl or bucket filled with Iced water
- A strainer or colander
- A cutting board
- A pair of tongs
- Baking sheet or roasting pan
- A large pot or steamer with a basket
- A cloth or paper towels
- A large Knife
Cook the Crab
For Boiling in a pot, fill your pot ¾ and bring it to boil. Using your tongs, place the live Dungeness crabs in the pot of boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until they're bright red. Make sure they're all facing the same direction so that they cook evenly.
For Steaming only add about 1-2 inches of water so that the crabs can steam properly. Using your tongs, place the live Dungeness crabs in the steamer basket and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until they're bright red. Make sure they're all facing the same direction so that they cook evenly.
Cool off the Crab
Carefully remove the crabs from the pot or steamer with the tongs and place them in the bowl or bucket of iced water for about 2 to 5 minutes. You can also place them in a strainer or colander and place in the sink and rinse with cold water for 2 minutes. Make sure you get the front and back.
Remove the Apron
Once the crabs have cooled, it's time to clean them. Place the Dungeness crab on the cutting board and dab it with the paper towels or kitchen cloth. Place an empty bowl next to the cutting board with the crab. Start by flipping them over, so their belly side is facing up. Grab the center of the crab's belly and remove and break off the abdominal apron, pulling it back. This is the small flap of the triangle type shell that covers the crab's underside. After it is pulled off, place it in the empty bowl. The fangs are very sharp. Be careful as they should also be removed!
Remove the Carapace
With the apron gone, there will be a little hole from the top shell called the carapace and the body of the crab. With your two thumbs, gently separate the carapace from the body and place it in the bowl with the apron. Upon removal there will be a lot of squishy guts.
Remove the Gills
Remove all gills on both sides of the body. It is sponge-like and looks feathery. And if you do not like the crab butter, remove or rinse out with water.
Remove the Mandibles
At the front of the crab, break the pointy mandibles. Be careful because they are sharp. Once removed, place them in the bowl.
Rinse the Dungeness Crab
Once everything is removed, rinse the cleaned crab in water removing any leftover guts. Once rinsed, pat down again with paper towels or kitchen cloth. From the back cut the crab body into two parts.
Now that your crab is cooked and cleaned. Let’s get to roasting with Helen & Faye’s Kitchen Roasting Sauce.