Pacific Northwest Crab Boil

We celebrated my little Sister's 40th birthday with a seafood boil.  It was a hit.  Not only was the dish delishous, "performing" a crab boil is really putting on a show.  We found live crab and live crawfish at Mutual Fish on Beacon Hill in Seattle.  My husband picked up our live crustrations (I had to prep for the party); he had nothing but great things to say about Mutual Fish and their helpful staff.  

We found a giant pot (60 quarts) at the Cash and Carry on Fourth Avenue in Seattle.  The whole event took about an hour once we had the pot on the burner.  This served about 15-20.

Into the pot: 

  • 4 sweet onions quartered
  • 4 lemons halved

  • 1 packet Zatarans crab boil

  • 1 head of elephant garlic smashed with a hammer (next time, I think I'll just do several whole heads of garlic).

  • 1 head of garlic unsmashed (regular–not elephant)

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 6 oz Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1/4 cup of Sea Salt

  • 1/4 cup of red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons of whole peppercorns


Add enough water to have the pot about half full and bring to a boil.  



  • 4 whole artichokes (trimmed, not cut.  They're real easy to cut after they're done cooking).   Boil for 20 minutes and then add to the pot:
  • 2 pounds of sliced kielbasa
  • 1 pound of sliced andouille


Boil for about 3-5 minutes and add:

  • 10 ears of corn broken in halves or thirds
  • 3 pounds of baby potatoes (whole).   


Boil for 8 minutes and then add (drum roll please):

  • LIVE Dungeness Crab.  We did 10 because of all the guest for the special event.   We also removed the artichokes to make room for the crabs.  The crab was boiled in batches (based on room in the pot).


After the crab was done cooking (approx 10 minutes–their shells turn bright orange), we had a "cleaning station".   Clean crab was tossed on our table which was covered in a plastic table cloth along with a layer of butcher paper.  We removed the "chokes" from the artichokes and tossed them on the table too.


Then add:

  • 2 pounds live Crawfishs. (Next time, we'll probably do less crawdfish and more shrimp.  The crawfish are tasty but a lot of work).  
  • 2 pounds of fresh shrimp/prawns (not shelled).   Boil for about four minutes…then add the feast to the table.


Contents are HOT–be careful.


We served with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, melted butter with garlic and bread.  You really could just devour this as is!  We have a little bit of leftovers…I'm hoping there will be enough to make a chowder with the potatos, corn, crawfish and crab.


  1. This was so much fun! We’re actually planning a “bring your own crustacean” boil nieghborhood get together. 🙂

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