How to Steam Dungeness Crab Safely

Have you ordered or picked up live Dungeness crab and are ready to cook it? 

You can cook Dungeness crab multiple ways: bake, broil, grill, boil, fry, or steam it. When you go to a seafood restaurant and look at a menu, they may have it specially made one way, and if you go online to a chef’s website, they may prefer it another. To each his or her own! There will obviously be pros and cons along with personal opinions on which way is best no matter who you speak to about it or on what page you’ve Googled; but no matter how you cook your Dungeness meal, safety must come first. There are safety measures you must take when handling your live Dungeness crab all the way through the process until you work on getting the meat out of the shell. 

This article will direct you through the process which includes handling a live Dungeness crab, steaming your Dungeness crab safely, as well as what tools to use to get the meat out without harm. 

Safety Measures to Take When Handling Live Dungeness Crab

Once you get your crab in the mail, which by-the-way you can receive within 24 hours of ordering if placed by Fathom Seafood, or once you pick your live crab up at your local seafood market, you are ready to roll. 

But first, understanding how a crab should be acting and how you should handle them are key. 

As stated in a previous article about cooking live crab, live Dungeness crab should show signs of activity and should react to stimulation. If you have a lethargic crab or one that isn’t moving around, these are signs that it may be unwell or hurt. If your crab is not moving, poke it gently with something to get it moving again, hopefully. 

Crabs have quite powerful crushing strength with their claws, which is why safety measures should be taken while handling them.

If the claws have not been rendered shut, do so by binding the pincers together using tape or ties, or you can use cooking twine if you are placing the crab directly into the water live. You can also wear a thick pair of gloves if you are still concerned; however, that won’t save you from the crushing power! 

This will ensure that it doesn’t snap at and injure you.

Steaming Dungeness Crab

Safety Measures to Take When Steaming Live Dungeness Crab

Spring and summer are coming around the corner and people are interested in their health to look and feel good for the warm-weather activities. Steaming food is one of the healthier ways of cooking. When steaming, you are saving calories by not including all of the extras that you may typically use when cooking another way, such as oil, butter, and other fats. Steaming helps to keep much-needed nutrients in the Dungeness crab itself, instead of it washing away into the water or cooking liquid. Another pro of steaming is that it is a gentle process and does not agitate or break apart the crab like another method of cooking might. It is also a fast way to cook your meal.

What is steaming? Jessica Gavin, “culinary scientist” gives us a simple explanation: 

"Steaming is a moist-heat method of cooking that works by boiling water which vaporizes into steam; it is the steam that carries heat to the food, cooking it. Unlike boiling food submerged in water, with steaming the food is kept separate from the boiling water but comes into direct contact with the hot steam. Water boils at 212 degrees, so the highest temperature the food cooks at is 212 degrees."

One important thing you want to keep in mind when steaming is to keep the water level below the steaming basket and your Dungeness crab, otherwise it’ll just boil instead! 

When steaming your live Dungeness Crab, there are a few precautions to take:

  • Remember that steam is dangerous and will burn you; don’t underestimate the temperature
  • When opening the lid of the pot, open it away from you, as to not let steam out on your arms, hands, and face. 
  • Make sure you use hot oven mitts while you open the lid in case the steam comes toward your hands and arms, and keep them on when handling the pot. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that you can steam your meal using various steaming tools?

  1. Stockpot with Glass Lid
  2. Stainless Steel Steamer
  3. Instant Pot Steamer Basket
  4. Universal Steamer with Lid
  5. Microwave Steamer
  6. Bamboo Steamer Basket
  7. Instant Pot

Safety Measures to Take When Cleaning Your Dungeness Crab

Once you’ve successfully steamed your live Dungeness crab, surely you are hungry and ready to eat! still have some work to do. 

Cleaning and cracking steamed Dungeness crab requires a few tools. You can go the “proper” way or you can really do it with whatever you want. But please be safe!

  • Ensure your tools are in shape
  • Ensure your tools are sharp
  • Ensure your tools are strong

What tools do you need?

  • Crab knife
  • Crab mallet
  • Seafood cracker
  • Seafood pick

All of which you can easily order online or find in some grocery stores and/or specialty stores. When searching online, you can actually find numerous brands and even deals where everything is packaged altogether for your convenience.

When cooking anything, safety should come first. The last thing you want is an injury or unnecessary kitchen disaster to take place. The next time you are cooking live Dungeness crab, which Fathom Seafood has delicious choices for you to purchase online, be sure to review these important safety measures. 

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