Not everyone knows how wonderful it is to buy Dungeness crab online. If the east coast of the United States has claimed the Maryland blue crab, the west coast has the Dungeness: a leggy, heart-shaped crustacean with delicious meat. The Dungeness is so important to west coasters that it gets its name from a Pacific coast town, Dungeness, Washington. This crab’s season starts in the late autumn, making the crustacean an excellent lean option for holiday meals, warm crab cakes, or for enjoying on its own. If you’re looking to order Dungeness crab legs online for your next special meal, the guide below explains all you need to know.
Remember that the Dungeness crab market price today might not be the same as the Dungeness crab delivery you order next month. Prices are always subject to change, so if you see a deal, we recommend jumping on the opportunity. But, in our opinion, wild Dungeness crab is always worth the cost.
Prices for Buying Dungeness Crab Online
|Global Seafoods||$23||10 lbs||4.6|
|Lummi Island Wild||$24.83||6 lbs||4.8|
|Seabear Smokehouse||$32.50||2 lbs||5.0|
|Cameron’s Seafood||$43.99||3 lbs||5.0|
|Tanner’s Alaskan Seafood||$32.95||1 lb||4.8|
Dungeness Habitat, Sourcing, and Features
These crabs have been a fixture of Pacific Northwest shores for hundreds of years and remain the most commercially important variety in the Pacific Northwest (and the western United States, generally). Dungeness crab price is highly subject to industry fluctuation and the size of the year’s catch. The season runs from December through March, so this is the only time to find live Dungeness crab online and in seafood markets.
Most Dungeness live in depths between 30 and 300 feet, making them a relatively easy catch for most experienced fishermen. Adult Dungeness crabs can reach a width of around ten inches, though 7 inches is more common when you go to buy Dungeness crab online. Their legs are often short and thick, and the claws are small and narrow. This is an excellent alternative to the sought-after king crab, which is often much more expensive. The Dungeness has a sustainable seafood rating of ‘Good Alternative,’ so you can feel good about your purchase.
What Does Dungeness Crab Taste Like?
Dungeness crabs often have a moderately sweet flavor and a medium texture, making them an excellent option for eating either whole or in other dishes, such as crab cakes. Be aware that Dungeness meat has a higher natural oil content than other meats. If you order Dungeness crab legs online, they will spoil in the refrigerator faster than a dryer crab.
While prized for their delicate flavor, the Dungeness crab’s taste will depend on a variety of factors, such as the saltiness of the water where it was caught, how it was processed, and how it will be cooked. The claw and leg meat will have a more intense flavor than large body pieces, so ask your provider about sourcing dates and harvesting methods before you buy.
Dungeness Crab Clusters
Dungeness crabs have four sets of legs and two claws on either side of the carapace. When you order Dungeness crab legs online as a cluster, you are ordering one side of the crab which includes four legs and one claw. Clusters are a good option to buy if you do not want to cook a live crab or do not want to worry about cleaning the crab. Dungeness crab clusters come fully cooked, so you only need to heat them before cracking the shells and enjoying the meat with drawn butter or on their own.
The price of clusters has a large range when you are looking to buy Dungeness crab online. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $40 for a pound of Dungeness clusters. Each cluster weighs between ⅓ to ⅔ of a pound. You should plan for 1 ½ to 2 pounds of crab per person or four to six clusters. Online sellers typically sell the clusters in large bags given the amount of clusters in a serving size.
Most Dungeness crab online in clusters ship frozen, so you may need to thaw them before eating. You can let the clusters sit in the fridge before you plan to cook them. When preparing, set up a pot to steam the clusters for four to six minutes until the crabs give off their own steam. Cool the clusters briefly before you get to cracking.
Whole Dungeness Crab Online
Whole Dungeness crabs are not as common to find online as clusters are, but you can buy Dungeness crab online from some online seafood stores. Since most of the meat comes from the legs and claws, the main body of a Dungeness crab does not offer much in terms of meat yield. As is the case with clusters, online seafood stores sell whole Dungeness crab pre-cooked and frozen. A whole Dungeness crab runs from 1 ½ to 2 pounds per crab. Some sites give you the option to buy a certain quantity of whole crabs while others offer a specified poundage.
When you buy Dungeness crab online, you can often get a better price per pound if you buy in larger quantities. The going rate for a Dungeness crab ranges from $30 to $50 dollars, but you can find discounts and free shipping. The benefit of buying whole, pre-cooked Dungeness crab is to have more of the shell to make stock and for presentation value. Plus, if you are squeamish around live crabs, you do not have to face that fear since the crab is already cooked. To prepare the whole crabs for a meal, all you need to do is steam the crabs to warm them and break off the legs.
Live Dungeness Crab Online
Select online stores sell live Dungeness crabs. If you have trouble finding them online, you can check your local seafood market to see if they carry live Dungeness crab. You will often have to buy Dungeness crab online in larger quantities to make the shipping worthwhile for the company. Each crab costs from $35 to $40.
You should pay attention to how the seller processes their Dungeness crab online orders to make sure that you know when to expect your shipment and process the live crabs quickly. The live Dungeness crabs should arrive alive in refrigerated packing. Keep the crabs cool and use the original packaging to keep them contained. Cook the crabs within 12 hours of their arrival to ensure the crab remains fresh.
Cooked Dungeness Crab
If you’d rather skip the steps of cooking and deshelling your Dungeness crabs, you can always buy Dungeness crab online as pre-picked crab meat. The Dungeness crab meat is great for recipes, like crab cakes or salad. In these, the crab is an ingredient, not the main course. Just as you would order Dungeness crab legs online, you order lump Dungeness crab meat by the pound. Online sites generally charge more for picked meat since it requires more processing on their end. The average price for a pound of Dungeness crab meat is $60.
Best Dungeness Crab Cooking Methods
The Dungeness crab’s natural sweetness makes it an excellent candidate for boiling and steaming. There are easy tips for cooking crab which makes the process less daunting. After you buy Dungeness crab online, here’s how to steam a whole crab:
- Bring a pot with enough water to cover the crabs to a boil.
- Plunge the crabs into the boiling water and cover the pot.
- Allow the live Dungeness crab to boil for 15 minutes for crabs between 1 ½ and 2 ½ pounds or 20 minutes for larger crabs.
- Remove the cooked crabs from the pot and briefly submerge the crabs into ice water to stop the cooking.
Once you have cooked the whole Dungeness crab, you’ll then need to clean and pick the meat from the shells. You can watch this step-by-step video, which shows you how to cook and clean live Dungeness crab and follow the steps along the way. If you are preparing frozen Dungeness crab meat, do your best to avoid overcooking, as it will alter the naturally sweet flavor. The trick with frozen crab is to heat the meat just enough to be pleasant. This means you should keep a close eye on the crustacean while cooking. In most cases, steaming or boiling frozen crab should take around 5 minutes or less.
Order Dungeness Crab Online
If you want to buy Dungeness crab legs online, you’ll need to be aware of a few industry tricks and scams. Crab processed in early December will typically have a lower meat yield. This is because they have not likely filled out after molting. Crabs landed in January often have higher meat yields.
Remember that Dungeness season runs through the winter. If you find fresh Dungeness crab online for sale from March through November, know that you’re likely buying last season’s catch. While this is not the case for all providers, we recommend asking questions about sourcing if you’re feeling skeptical.
If you want to buy Dungeness crab, do your best to ensure they are active and responsive. Fresh crabs should be clean with most parts intact. They should also have a bright orange-red shell and no fishy or unpleasant smell. Dungeness crabs are usually sold as fresh clusters, live, fresh Dungeness crab meat, fresh sections, whole Dungeness crab cooked, and frozen (parts, meat, and whole). At a 25% yield, Dungeness crabs have a lower meat content than other crustaceans of comparable size. Use this metric when buying for your next meal.
- Learn more about cooking the different types of crab on our main page for buying crab.
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