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So how do you eat dungeness crab?

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,549
reviews: 38
So how do you eat dungeness crab?

We will be in SF in early December and would like to try some dungeness crab. I've never had this, only snow and king crab legs. Seems it is cooked whole? So do you just pick through it, or is there a specific technique to get the tasty bits??

We can trade green chile recipes for some tips, lol! Us desert dwellers don't have much seafood! Thanks!

Dublin, California
posts: 12,895
reviews: 30
1. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

Dungeness is a meaty crab. You just crack them open and eat the meat. Some people love the fatty part. My cholesterol is too high for that. Some people like to have the meat in some dipping sauce. I just like the fresh unadulterated taste.

When I do it at home, I buy live ones and steam them whole, then remove the outer shell, clean out the lungs, and cut open the rest to get at the meat.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,549
reviews: 38
2. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

So...how do I know what is meat and what are lungs, lol!??? Seriously, I have never even seen a dungeness crab, much less checked out their anatomy! Crab legs I get, lobster tail I get.... Is there a "how to" website? I know, I know ... such a tourist, but I really would like to try this but won't if I have no clue on what to do.

Thanks!

San Francisco...
posts: 3,460
reviews: 123
3. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

If you buy them cooked, they will typically clean it out for you before serving. The crab is hairy, but tasty.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,343
reviews: 42
4. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

If you want the easiest way to try Dungeness crab, you can buy leg pieces only (like at KFC, lol). The leg is all meat, and some people can crack the shells with their molars, but newcomers should probably use a nutcracker. Something like a nut pick or similar sharp object can help you extract the most meat possible.

Most of the meat in a crab is in the body, under the shell. It’s like the leg meat, white and easily flaked. Also under the shell is the “butter,” which many people discard but some consider a delicacy. I think it’s what TSS said is too rich in cholesterol. It has the appearance and texture of soft butter. It’s an acquired taste, but if you like it, spread it on sourdough bread or crackers.

The “lungs” are crab’s gills. They are also under the shell, along the side. They are pointy-looking, white, with a pliable, spongy texture. Discard these. Once a crab is cooked, all the parts are easily separated; the leg joints come off readily, the gills pop right out, etc. It isn’t physically hard, just a matter of manipulating.

Preparing a whole cooked crab from scratch can be a sloppy job, especially the first time. You’ll have shells and parts all over. Unless you have plenty of newspaper, or a kitchen counter in your hotel room, the management may not appreciate your culinary efforts. Sellers will prepare a crab to go, but be sure to tell them what parts you want. They will not assume you want the butter. If you wish, you can have them leave the body intact but just crack the shell, and you’ll be able to see how the crab is put together.

Sourdough bread is the best accompaniment for fresh crab. Some folks like it with cocktail sauce, which is little more than ketchup mixed with white horseradish. Or just buy a couple of lemons and squeeze the juice on the meat.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,343
reviews: 42
5. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

* "The crab is hairy" *

Not sure what this means. A crab does not have fur, a hide, or anything like it.

SF
Destination Expert
for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
posts: 2,557
reviews: 12
6. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

It should be all cracked. If not, you crack. Plain crab is the best w/o any source or dip into melted butter, if you want. Just spread news papers on a table & have with it salad, sourdough bread(famous), wine, etc. Use one of the pointed claws to pull meat out of the legs and the chest cavities which are very porous divided in thin shells, all white & meaty. The best parts are in the big claws. If it fresh, it would have a slightly sweet & salt water taste.

I enjoy poking into it for a long time in between feeding my begging cats.

Afterward, roll up the news papers and you are done.

Enjoy.

San Francisco Bay
posts: 2,931
reviews: 13
7. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

In San Francisco, this used to be the traditional Christmas Eve meal, especially for those raised near North Beach. Che saporito!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,549
reviews: 38
8. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

We don't plan on "eating" in the room!! Thanks for all the info.

Now...if you want to know about how to roast and peel New Mexico chiles...just ask!

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 42,242
reviews: 75
9. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

I've had crab in a hotel room.

Here is a good video of a chef cleaning a crab. youtube.com/watch?v=pEUp-2atU5I&feature=plcp The only difference with our 'family method' is that we're usually at the dinner table, cracking and eating the extracted meat with fresh sourdough. (None of the crab meat ends up in a serving bowl.)

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 26,372
reviews: 131
10. Re: So how do you eat dungeness crab?

If you go to a seafood place such as Swan Oyster depot or any restaurant that serves crab, it will be cleaned and cracked and ready to be eaten. You can crack it further to remove the juicy bits and enjoy. Can't wait for Crab season.

As someone mentioned above, one way to eat them is just boiled and dipped in butter but I do love a good Spicy Pepper Crab or Chilly crab that is served in Asian Restaurants. Crustacean does a good crab and it is on Polk Street

By the way, since you mention chillies, we had the most amazing chilli with I am sure all sorts of roasted peppers at the Coyote cafe, many years ago and I still remember the flavors but I am not sure what roasted chillies were used.