Skip to main content

Catching and Cleaning Dungeness Crab (Live Backing Method)

Today was the first day of crabbing season.  It was also the first time we've taken our boat out since moving here three years ago, and so it was quite an event for us!  Unbelievably, the dock wasn't very busy for opening day.

Catching dungeness crab

It was a cool, cloudy and windy day and the water was a bit choppy. We ended up only spending a couple hours on the water but amazingly still caught just over one limit.  Our five traps had captured about a dozen crab total, but several had to be tossed back due to being either too small or females.

Friends of ours suggested cleaning the live crab before cooking them. (We used to always cook the crab in a big pot first, and then clean and shell them. Cleaning them first while live results in sweeter-tasting crab meat.) To figure out how exactly to clean a live crab, we researched online and chose to follow the steps demonstrated in the video below.

Live backing is demonstrated about 4:30 minutes into the video.  As you can imagine, smashing a live crab's back off on a sharp rock took considerable amounts of gumption, but we managed to do it! Below is our cleaned crab, ready to be cooked.