Crabs can be difficult to eat due to the effort required to open them, but their succulent taste is reward enough for the trouble. While some restaurants serve crab meat that has already been picked clean from the body, other establishments (particularly those along the West Coast) serve crabs unopened. Dungeness crabs are popularly served whole, and are treats worth savoring—if you can crack them open.
To open a Dungeness crab, first turn it over belly-side up and pull out the crab’s rear belly flap. Once this is removed, you can then turn the crab back up and pull apart the top shell from the rest of the body; the trick to doing this easily is to insert a thumb through the hole where the flap used to be for a secure grip. The limbs of a crab can be removed simply by twisting them off from the body. After the limbs have been removed, you can then crack them open with a nutcracker or similar other tool for the meat inside.
Only select parts of the Dungeness crab are edible. If you split the crab’s body in half, you can find delicious white meat in the center. Take care to remove the inedible feathery lung parts before doing so. The limbs also house meat within, but they can take some time to pick out with a crab fork. Perhaps the most delectable parts of a Dungeness crab are its roe and the meat within its claws.