Dungeness crabs are a famous seafood delicacy from the United States West Coast. Their legs with mild, natural sweetness have driven food lovers crazy. And you can get the most out of them by steaming them.
But how to steam Dungeness crab legs: There are only three steps to turning those crab legs into your favorite dish. Let’s see how you can do it!
What Are Dungeness Crabs?
Dungeness crabs live in water bottoms and eelgrass beds on the west coast of North America. Their name gets inspiration from the town of Dungeness in Washington, where people first harvest them for commercial purposes.
Dungeness crabs have a sweet and delicate flavor. Their meat is firm with a briny taste that enhances their natural sweetness.
Dungeness crab legs are often sweeter than many other types of crabs. Even when they contain less meat than King crab legs, you won’t mind sacrificing it for the sweetness with a slightly salty touch.
How to Steam Dungeness Crab Legs
With some crab legs, you can easily make a tasty dish for your dinner. There are many cooking methods to try, but steaming must be the best as it allows you to enjoy the sweet flavor of your seafood.
So, this section is about steaming Dungeness crab legs using a steamer. Let’s see how you can prepare them in three steps.
Step 1: Clean the Dungeness Crab Legs
You can use store-bought Dungeness crab legs, so you won’t have to break the legs yourself. However, if you have a fresh crab, place the live Dungeness crab in the freezer for about 15 minutes before breaking its legs.
Before cooking the crab legs, remember to clean them carefully to ensure the meat is free of debris and dirt.
Step 2: Boil Water
Pour about four cups of water into a big stockpot and boil it. You need to fill one to three inches of water in the pot. The general rule is to keep it low enough not to hit the steamer basket.
Then, insert the steamer basket inside the stockpot. If you don’t have one, use a metal colander instead. Ensure that your colander rests securely on the pot’s lip.
Step 3: Steam the Crab Legs
Now, arrange the Dungeness crab legs inside the basket in a single layer. In this manner, the heat can cook the crab legs evenly.
Then, put on a tight cover. This part is important as it helps trap the steam inside the pot to cook your crab legs.
Depending on their size, it often takes about five to seven minutes to steam the crab legs. Use your nose instead if you can’t estimate the correct steaming time. They should be almost done once you can smell the pleasant fragrance from the crab legs.
To check the doneness of your Dungeness crab legs, pick one of them with tongs. Then, check if the meat has turned white.
How to Steam Dungeness Crab Legs without the Steamer
What if you don’t have a steamer in your kitchen? Do not worry; you can still steam your Dungeness crab legs with a skillet. Here is how you pull it off:
Step 1: Boil Water
After breaking the crab legs and cleaning them, set them aside by preparing the water. You need to fill no more than one inch of water in the skillet. Then, add salt and lemon wedges.
In this method, you just need a little water to generate steam. If you add too much, then the steaming will turn into boiling.
Step 2: Steam the Crab Legs
Arrange the Dungeness crab legs in the skillet and cover it with a lid. You can use aluminum foil rather than the lid to promote a tighter seal.
You will need around five to seven minutes to steam your crab legs. Once they become fragrant, you can take them out. Don’t forget to check if they are well done.
How to Serve Steamed Dungeness Crab Legs
Now you have tasty steamed Dungeness crab legs. But it’s not the end. YOu should learn how to serve them properly to enjoy their best.
- Steamed crab legs are at their peak when still hot. So it would be best to serve them right after steaming.
- If you don’t like the seafood odor, serve the steamed crab legs with butter, lemon wedges, and salt. These ingredients will reduce the ocean-like smell in your food while enhancing its flavor.
- Steamed Dungeness crab legs have soft shells. Hence, you don’t need crab crackers to pull the meat out. In this case, kitchen shears can do a better job.
- If you have guests to your dinner, consider removing the shell or cutting a tiny slit into each crab leg before the meal starts.
- Choosing side dishes is also important. You can try green salad or coleslaw in this case.
- Since the crab legs are still hot, you should wear gloves to protect your hands. Also, have hand wipes on the table so you and your guests can use them after eating the crabs.
- Steamed seafood tastes best when paired with dipping sauce.
Tips for Choosing Dungeness Crabs
One secret to the success of the two recipes we have shared is high-quality Dungeness crab legs. The tips below will reveal how to buy good ingredients for your food.
Find Fresh Crabs
Live Dungeness crabs taste much better than dead ones, as they will give you the juiciest meat. So, purchase or catch live crabs to get their legs instead of buying frozen crab legs.
Choose Heavy Crabs
You can easily feel the weight of Dungeness crabs. The heavier crabs mean that they contain more juice and meat. On the other hand, light crabs are mostly dead or not healthy.
Check the Seasonal Availability
Dungeness crabs are most active from November to June. During this time, they have the freshest and most flavorful meat.
Choose a Reliable Source
If you are not confident about your shopping skills, at least make sure you buy Dungeness crabs from a reliable supplier. You can ask your friends for help. Alternatively, check the customer reviews before you come.
You can easily steam Dungeness crab legs with a steamer. After five to seven minutes of steaming in salted water, you will have tasty food.
Please check the tips we have shared to bring out the best of the crab legs you have made.
Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you want more recipes to try with the Dungeness crabs next time, do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you for reading!