What is Dungeness Crab?

Dungeness crab, or Metacarcinus magister, is a type of crab found along the West Coast of North America from Alaska to California. They have a hard, reddish-brown shell and can grow up to 10 inches in width. It’s named after the town of Dungeness, Washington where it was first commercially harvested.

Dungeness crabs are a popular seafood delicacy, prized for their sweet and tender meat. They are typically caught using crab pots, which are baited traps that are lowered to the ocean floor and then retrieved after a period of time. They are often served steamed or boiled, and their meat is commonly used in salads, soups, and pasta dishes. They are a seasonal delicacy when their peak harvest occurs during the late fall and winter months.


What Do Dungeness Crabs Look Like?

Dungeness crabs have a hard shell that is reddish-brown in color with white tips on their claws. The underside of the crab is light-colored. They have four pairs of walking legs and a pair of pincers or claws. The front claws are typically larger than the back ones, used for catching prey and defense.

Dungeness crab can grow up to 10 inches wide and weigh between 2-3 pounds. They have a distinct, triangular shape and their bodies are wider than they are long. Overall, they have a spiky, intimidating appearance, but their meat is what makes them a popular food delicacy.


What is the Difference Between Regular Crabs and Dungeness Crabs?

There are a few differences between Dungeness crab and other types of crab like blue crab or snow crab:

  • Size: Dungeness crab are larger than many other types of crab, with a typical size of 6 to 7 inches across the carapace (the hard shell that covers the body). This makes them one of the largest crab in the United States.
  • Flavor: Compared to other crab, Dungeness crab have a sweet, delicate flavor that is prized by many seafood lovers. They are known for their tender and juicy meat, which has a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Habitat: They are primarily found along the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to California. They live in rocky areas and kelp forests, and are often found in estuaries and bays.
  • Shell color: Dungeness crab have a distinctive reddish-brown shell, which is mottled with white or gray spots. This is different from the bright blue or green shells of some other types of crab.
  • Availability: They are typically available seasonally, from late fall through early spring. This is different from some other types of crab, which may be available year-round.

Where is Dungeness Crab Found?

Dungeness crab is primarily found along the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to California. It is especially abundant in the waters off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. The crab is named after the town of Dungeness, which is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, and it is a local delicacy in many coastal communities along the West Coast.


How is Dungeness Crab Used in Cooking?

Dungeness crab is a versatile seafood option that can be used in a variety of methods and dishes. It is a versatile ingredient that is popular with seafood lovers. When cooked, Dungeness crab meat can be taken from the body, legs, and claws, easily removed by cracking open the shell. Some ways that it can be used for cooking include:

  • Steamed or boiled: This method preserves the natural sweetness and delicate flavor of the crab meat.
  • Crab cakes: Dungeness crab can be used to make this popular appetizer or many courses.
  • Salads: Dungeness crab pairs well with a variety of greens and can be dressed with a simple vinaigrette or creamy dressing.
  • Pasta dishes: Dungeness crab meat can be added to pasta like linguine or fettuccine with garlic, olive oil, and herbs
  • Soups and stews: To add flavor and protein, you can add Dungeness crab to creamy chowders of spicy seafood stews.
  • Grilled or roasted: Cooked this way, it gives the crab a smoky and slightly charred flavor, which can be served with a simple herb butter or a spicy dipping sauce.
  • People Also Ask:

    What is Special About Dungeness Crab?

    Dungeness crab is a popular seafood delicacy prized for its sweet and tender meat, which is considered to be among the best of all crab meats. It has a unique and distinct flavor that sets it apart from other types of crab, making it a favorite among seafood enthusiasts.

    Dungeness crab is also known for its availability on the West Cost of North America where it is caught using sustainable fishing methods like crab pots. The Dungeness Crab fishery is closely monitored and regulated to ensure that the grab populations remain healthy and sustainable. 


    Is Dungeness Crab Better Than King Crab?

    Both Dungeness crab and king crab are popular seafood delicacies with their own unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Dungeness crab has a sweet and delicate flavor with a slightly nutty undertone, and its meat is known for being tender. They are smaller than king crabs and have less meat per crab, but the meat is highly valued.

    King crab has a sweeter and richer flavor with a firm, meaty texture. King crab legs are thicker and larger than Dungeness crab legs which makes it easier to eat and more filling. Whether Dungeness crab or king crab is better depends on personal taste, but both are highly prized by seafood lovers for their unique flavors and textures.


    Does Dungeness Crab Have a Lot of Meat?

    The amount of meat in each crab can vary depending on size. Generally, Dungeness crabs are smaller than king crab, so they have less meat per crab. However, Dungeness crab meat is still highly valued for its delicate flavor and texture.


    What’s Better: Blue Crab or Dungeness Crab?

    Blue crab and Dungeness crab are both popular seafood. Blue crab has a sweet, delicate flavor with a slightly briny taste, and its meat is known for being tender. Blue crab are typically smaller than Dungeness crabs and have less meat per crab. When compared in taste, Dungeness crab have a sweet, nutty flavor and tender texture. Which is better depends on personal preference. Both are great seafood options that contain nutritious protein.


    How is Dungeness Crab Sold?

    Dungeness crab can be found in seafood markets and specialty grocery stores. When live, they can be found in tanks or live wells until they are sold and should be cooked within a day or two of purchase. Cooked Dungeness crab is often sold already prepared in seafood markets, grocery stores, and restaurants. The crab is cooked shortly after being caught and then chilled, cleaned, and packaged. It can be purchased whole or as pre-cracked clusters or meat. It is also sold frozen or canned.

    At Premier Catch, our Dungeness Crab Snap-N-Eats are sold in 2-pound bags, crab legs and shoulders, fully cooked and frozen. Our Dungeness crab is sustainably harvested from Alaska, following regulations to ensure we provide the freshest and most premium, wild-caught Dungeness crab. Shop our collection of Dungeness crab and other shellfish.

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