Monday, August 24, 2009

Cooking, Cleaning, and EATING Crab

After a slow day of fishing, we went out to Chinook, WA to our friend's place for a spagetti dinner. They had all just gotten back from fishing and crabbing... should have gone out on the ocean. The ocean was rough, but they all caught their limit of salmon, then pulled their crab pots. After 3 hours, their 3 pots had TONs of legal crab!

We used to crab alot in WA - out on Hood Canal by Potlatch. A few years ago it used to be really good (except for the old guffers who robbed out pots, regularly) but has slowly deteriorated over the last 6 or 7 years.

Here's a photo from way back then.

The nice thing about Puget Sound is that the water is usually pretty calm for crabbing.

Here's a nice pot with some keepers!

Crabbing is fun for the kids, and it pays off when all the kids have catch-cards! Crab eating is done best in VOLUME!

Here is a pretty good haul.

Anyway, back to the present.

Our friends gave us a few to enjoy at home when we left from dinner... I should have grabbed more but didn't want to get greedy!

I should have been greedy...

Cooking crab is very time consuming, but its easy. Cleaning them is easy, too. To cook the crab, we simply use a big propane burner and 5-8 gallon metal pot. We fill the pot with seawater (or you can heavily salt fresh water) and boil it. Just drop in the crab and keep them boiling for 20 minutes. We've cooked them in fresh and in salt water, and the salt water is WAY better - the crab are much tastier when boiled in their native salt water.

After the 20 minutes are up, take each of the crab out of the boiling water and drop them in a bucket of COLD fresh water. Leave them in the cold water for 5-10 minutes. Now they are ready to clean.

Cleaning crab is fun but messy. Keep a 5 gal bucket handy, and a hose with a spray nozzle. First step is to break off the small, triangular piece of shell from the bottom of the fish. Use your thumb and break it free from the back-end of the crab.

The piece of shell will pop off like shown. BTW, this is the same piece used to tell if it is a male or female crab.

Next step is to take the crab at the back-end again, and pry off the top shell, from the back to the front. It will come off easy, and spill guts and gue all over, so do this over a bucket!

With the top shell off, clean off the gills and most of the gue from inside the cavity and around the outer legs and inner shell. The gills are the longer, squishy white things circling the inner shell of the fish.

Its easy to do, just messy!

Now, take your thumb at the front of the crab and bust off the small feelers and bottom shell, as shown. This is also easy to do.

The final step is to take the hose and carefully blast the rest of the gue out of the inner shell. Be careful not to blast out meat - there isn't much to start with!

It is easiest to angle the nozzle to blast from the back to the front of the channel between the legs and inner shell. Most of the gue comes out easily with a couple short blasts from the hose. Here is the final crab, cleaned out.

Now its time to EAT! Eating crab is a social affair - and should NOT be the main course of the meal. After everyone is done eating, it is great to sit around for an hour or two, eating crab.

This crab was fantastic. We sat around eating as the kids got home late from a church dance, and ate and talked with them until WAY too late Saturday night.

Yumm. Time to get out crabbing again. We haven't done it since moving to Oregon, but its time. Besides, the freezer is full of salmon-heads and fish parts for crab bait - the freezer needs to get cleaned out!