Good seafood is hard to come here in Minnesota. However, during the holidays it’s not uncommon for seafood to be shipped overnight so that we can purchase and prepare for special occasions. In my experience, large shrimp (like the ones used in this smoked garlic and butter shrimp recipe), snow crab and even king crab are fairly common to come across. Dungeness crab, however, is a bit rarer so when I saw them I naturally had to pick them up.
How to Smoke Dungeness Crab
Admittedly, I had to look online for some advice for this smoke. A lot of recipes exist for smoking crab legs but I couldn’t find anything for dungeness crabs specifically. I eventually found a few posts on a smoking forum talking about these crabs that helped build up my confidence for this smoke. It was worth the “homework” time as this recipe turned out amazing.
Cleaning and Preparing the Dungeness Crab
If these crabs were alive, I would first toss them into rapid boiling salted water to get them fully cooked. However, since they were already pre-cooked and frozen I we can jump right into preparing and adding smoke.
After letting the crab defrost in the fridge, I cleaned the crab by removing the apron (belly side) and removed the shell. After removing the shell I removed the gills and ran the full cavity underwater removing anything that wasn’t meat. If all of that sounds foreign or difficult, check out this guide that walks you through the exact process. It’s super easy – don’t let this step stop you from trying this recipe out. It’s 100% worth the effort!
A Quick Smoke & Amazing Eats
As mentioned previously, the dungeness crab was already fully cooked when I purchased it. All it needed was to be warmed up before serving. I turned the Traeger smoker on to 350 degrees. I then added both the crab and a small bowl of butter with garlic and old bay seasoning directly to the smoker.
After the first 15 minutes, the butter was perfectly melted and the garlic/old bay combo smelled amazing! I then grabbed a brush and basted the crab cavity with this marvelous concoction. After about 25 minutes the crab was hot to the touch which is when I removed it from the smoker.
Crab is best eaten when hot so we served them up and they were gone sooner than it took to smoke them up! Enjoy!
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