Watch icn

How to Break Down a Dungeness Crab 04:44

Scott Snyder

Learn how to break down fresh Dungeness crab, just in time for grilling season.

How to Break Down a Dungeness Crab 04:44

Scott Snyder

Learn how to break down fresh Dungeness crab, just in time for grilling season.

Intermediate
Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Serving Size

The Steps

  1. 1. To kill and halve the live crab, place the live crab on its back. With a large knife, cut through the center (or belly) of the crab towards the tail. Then cut through the center of the crab through the head. Repeat as needed for additional crabs. 00:10

  2. 2. Rinse and clean the halved crab under running water. Tear off the crab's top shell and dispose. Remove the gills, loose guts, front antennae and eyes and dispose. Remove the rubber bands from claws and dispose. Rinse the cleaned crab under water. 00:55

  3. 3. To break down the crab further and make grilling easier, quarter the crab. Cut each half portion of the crab in half again by cutting between the claw and back three legs. 03:21

What You'll Need

Equipment

- Large knife
- Cutting board
- Large container

Ingredients

- Dungeness crabs, live

Chef Notes

Dungeness crab is most commonly found on the west coast of North America. They are named after the port of Dungeness, Washington. Dungeness crabs typically grow to be about eight inches across and are prized for their sweet and tender meat.

The technique that Chef Scott demonstrates here is also known as "half backing". This process entails breaking down and cleaning the crab before cooking, is often seen as superier to cooking whole crabs before cleaning. Half backing ensures that the crab's meat is not tainted by the flavors or toxins of the crab's guts.

To learn how to grill Dungeness crab, visit Chef Scott's "Grilled Crab with Z’houg & Burnt Oranges" tutorial located at the bottom of the page.

Comments

Sign up to leave a comment

Taught by

Scott snyder

Chef Scott Snyder

Portland

Chef Scott Snyder grew up in California, but draws inspiration from his family’s Israeli roots while cooking. He ... read more