Dungeness Crab

For our new location and contact info please visit our new site at Oak Bay Seafood.

We sell the freshest, healthiest crab around – straight from the dock to our store. We feature a state of the art live tank in the shop – and offer some of the best prices in BC.

Fresh crab is our pride and joy – and we’re happy to provide any cleaning and packaging  of our product. We pack with ice if you are traveling any distance.

Dungeness Crab Info:

The Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister) is light reddish brown on back and sometimes has a purple splotch toward the front. The underside is white to light orange. The shell turns bright red when it is cooked. While a male Dungeness crab can grow to a shell width of 230 mm (9 inches), the minimum size limit for harvest in British Columbia is 165 mm (6 1/2 inches) across the maximum breadth of the shell. Most Dungeness crab weigh between 680 grams (1 1/2 lbs) and 1.4 kg (3 lbs). Dungeness crab is harvested in all months of the year.

Size limits and the restriction on harvesting any female crabs are the primary conservation measures in place in the Dungeness crab fishery. The fishery is considered sustainable and a limited number of commercial licenses are available in BC. Sea Choice lists the Dungeness Crab as a Best Choice seafood.

Dungeness Crab Preparation

The best results are from fresh, live crab. Once the crab is dead, the meat starts to break down and the fats darken, imparting bitter flavours to the meat. Crabs that have been left a long time in the tank will slowly consume their own reserves of fat and then flesh. Only buy crab that is active and obviously still kicking. The fresher the better!

We always recommend either killing or stunning the crab before cooking it. You can do this with a quick, sharp blow to the underside of the crab or by lifting the flap on  the underside and plunging a sharp knife into the abdomen. You then have the option to clean the crab prior to cooking by gently prying off the top shell and removing the feathery gills and the viscera.

Alternatively, we are always happy to clean your live crab for you when you buy it.

To cook your crab,  heat enough water in a stock pot to steam but not immerse the crab. You may want to add fresh herbs or a slice of ginger and a little salt to the water.

When the water reaches the boil, place your whole or cleaned crab in the pot, meat side up. After the water returns to the boil, steam cleaned crab for 7 minutes, or whole crab for 12. Rinse under cold water to halt the cooking process, and clean the crab if you have not already done so. Serve it in the shell (with garlic butter and a nutcracker!), or shuck the crab and save the meat for your favourite recipes.