How to Clean and Crack Dungeness Crab

Sometimes we get crabby when we have to work for our food, but with its sweet, tender innards, cracking a crab is well worth the workout. Make it a family activity, where everyone cracks their own crustacean, for a fun and fulfilling meal that's full of protein!
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Sometimes we get crabby when we have to work for our food, but with its sweet, tender innards, cracking a crab is well worth the workout. Make it a family activity, where everyone cracks their own crustacean, for a fun and fulfilling meal that's full of protein!
Crab Prep Step 1

1. Place crab on a work surface, belly side up. Pull off triangular-shaped belly flap (aka apron); drain, if needed.

Crab Prep Step 2

2. Turn crab over and remove shell by prying off using your thumb or fingers.

Crab Prep Step 3

3. Remove spongy gills and small paddle at front of crab; discard.

Crab Prep Step 4

4. Rinse cavity under running water to remove any dark interior or debris, careful not to remove meat.

Crab Prep Step 5

5. With the crab belly side down, grasp either side of crab and crack in half.

Crab Prep Step 6

6. Inserting your thumb at the joint for leverage, twist off claws and legs, pulling off a piece of body with each.

Crab Prep Step 7

7. For easier meat removal at table, use a small hammer or the flat side of a meat tenderizer to crack crab legs at each joint. Serve crab with crackers and small spoons for diners.

NOTE: Keep a cloth handy, as you may have to wipe your work surface as you go.