Whack, Back, and Crack!

Tuesday, May 15, third entry.  With 15 or more legal Dungeness and Red Rock crabs, the Biological Oceanography students at Florida Tech settled in for a crab feast.  There are two easy ways to prepare –

Red Rock Crab boiling in a pot (I think it is staring down the camera with disdain…).

… boiling them whole and alive…

Dr. Johnson demonstrates the “whacking” of the crab (split it in half on a narrow edge.
… and demonstrating the “backing” technique that removes the internal organs and gills, leaving mainly just meat to be plucked from the shell.

… or the “whack, back, and crack!” method advocated as a slogan on Abbie’s sweatshirt. We tried both ways. Both were good, although the “whack” method was perhaps easier, and either way, the butter and garlic sauce was excellent! The Dungeness crabs are one of the world’s most popular crabs for a reason – their back, claws, and legs have quite a bit of meat in them. The Red Rocks have big claws, but not as much meat elsewhere. Also, their exoskeleton is much harder to crack! It is not surprising that Dungeness are the ones which are commercially harvested. Not all of the Florida Tech Biological Oceanography students were crab-eating, or crab-killing, fans, but that is understandable.


The crab preparation and feast took over the entire kitchen, and even the whole apartment!


Things did get a little crazy, and the apartment took several days and several scrubbings to not smell like crab and garlic. It was a pleasure to study these creatures up close in the kitchen as part of our Biological Oceanography!

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