Crab Feed 101

Crab feeds are popular for both fundraising and recreational events. They draw a crowd, turn any gathering into a fun memory, and they’re perfect for couples, singles and families alike. Whether you’re planning a fundraiser, a membership drive or a gala, crab feeds are not only a profitable venture, but a great time as well.

About Crab Feeds

Crab free-for-alls have been a part of Bay Area history since the late 19th century. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the idea of a crab feed as a fundraising event began around the 1960s and 70s with the simultaneous rise of spaghetti feeds. And since then, crab feeds have become a much looked-forward-to event during the cold winter months.

So what is a crab feed?

A crab feed is a community gathering where people get together to feast on delicious, fresh-caught crab. Crab feeds are an excellent fundraising opportunity for non-profits and charity organizations. Plus, crab feeds create memorable experiences for invitees.

What type of crab is available?

Dungeness crab. Dungeness crab is native to the Pacific Northwest Coast and our personal favorite. It’s a delicacy and a long-time favorite for crab feeds. The flavor is often compared to Maine lobster, and is described as sweet, succulent and tender.

Plus, Dungeness crab prefer sandy environments. As a result, their shells are softer than other crab species, which means they are significantly easier to crack

When is crab season in California?

Dungeness crab season usually opens the first week of November for the San Francisco Bay Area, and generally mid-December for the entire Pacific Northwest. However, recently we have seen the season begin later and later, sometimes even into the following year.

Crab season typically lasts a few months and ends sometime between April and May.

Hosting a Crab Feed

Is this your first time hosting a crab feed? Don’t worry! It’s a lot less work than you think when you partner with Justin’s Crab Co.

When is the best time for a crab feed?

The best time for a crab feed is when you can source fresh-caught crab. Sure, you can use frozen crab, but the taste and experience won’t be nearly as good. As a result, we suggest hosting your crab feed event during peak crab season: January to April.

How much crab do I need per person?

The average meat-to-shell ratio for Dungeness crab is approximately 1:4. That means for every pound of crab, you get 1/4 pound of crab meat. Therefore, we suggest ordering 3 to 6 pounds of Dungeness crab per person. That comes out to roughly ¾ to 1-½ pounds of Dungeness crab meat per person.

How do I serve crab at a crab feed?

Your bulk crab order will arrive cooked, chilled and ready to eat. Best of all, Dungeness crab tastes best at room temperature which means no cooking, steaming, boiling or warming.

We typically offer our crab cleaned and pre-cracked. The bodies are kept intact and fully cleaned. The legs are kept attached to the body and pre-cracked.

We also offer our crab California (Cal) style on request for an additional fee. Cal style involves removing the legs and serving them separate from the body. Despite the convenience, we do not recommend Cal style because it ruins the integrity and juiciness of the crab.

What should I serve at my crab feed?

When it comes to your crab feed, the Dungeness crab should be the focus of the menu. Great accompaniments to crab include simple fare like bread or bread rolls, potatoes, corn, pasta and/or salad. Or you could go for a seafood-themed menu with other shellfish like oysters, scallops and mussels, which Justin’s Crab Co. also sells.

What do I tell guests to bring to a crab feed?

It’s crab feed 101 for guests to bring their own accoutrements. We suggest encouraging your event invitees to bring their own tools. That means each person should bring their own crab (nut) crackers, seafood forks and pokers. Our crab does arrive pre-cracked, but it doesn’t hurt to have extra utensils on standby just in case.

Crab feed etiquette also encourages guests to bring their own sauces and accessories. That includes your own lemons, butter, cocktail sauce, hot sauce and a butter warmer.

What do I tell guests to wear to a crab feed?

You may also want to consider whether to have guests bring their own bibs or offer them at the event. We do offer bibs to our customers, and we highly suggest every guest have one. Crab feeds are a messy, hands-on event. Wearing a bib is a crab feed tradition and essential for keeping shirts and laps clean during the meal.

Ordering for a Crab Feed Fundraiser

Do you have questions about the logistics of ordering bulk crab for your event? We’ve got you covered. Justin’s Crab Co. has been the #1 crab supplier in the Bay Area for over 20 years. We’re more than happy to share our knowledge and expertise.

Where do I buy bulk crab for my crab feed?

The most important thing when sourcing fresh, bulk crab is finding a reputable supplier, like Justin’s Crab Co. We’ve been in the crab feed game for more than 20 years, so we recognize quality crab when we see it. As a result, we supply only fresh, locally caught crab from trusted fishers.

When should I order my crab?

Dungeness crab availability depends on the season. We strongly recommend checking in with us well in advance of your event so we can be sure to have your order ready to catch the day of your event. Crab season may only run from November to April, but Justin’s Crab Co. is open year-round. Feel free to give us a call to ask when is best to order your bulk crab.

Can I change my order?

Yes, you can make changes to your bulk crab order. However, we ask that you contact us at least 7 days in advance of your event.

Does Justin’s Crab Co deliver?

Absolutely! Justin’s Crab Co. is more than happy to deliver your bulk crab order directly to your event space. Our main area of distribution is Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Valley. However, we can arrange for delivery outside those areas with advanced notice.

Do I need to refrigerate my crab?

We deliver our crab fully cooked and chilled, however, crab is still seafood and should be kept refrigerated until ready to serve. If you decide to have your bulk crab order delivered days or hours ahead of your event or fundraiser, we strongly recommend refrigerating your order until it’s time to eat.

What do I do with leftover crab?

Eat it! Haha. If you find yourself with leftover crab after a successful crab feed, consider bagging and selling the extra to attendees. Or you could raffle it off at the end of the night. Another suggestion would be to send it home with volunteers. Of course, you could pull out your favorite crabcake recipe for brunch the next morning.

Partner with Justin’s Crab Co. for Your Next Crab Feed Fundraiser

Hosting a crab feed is a popular choice for both fundraising opportunities and something to attend. Whether you’re hosting a crab feed for the first time or the tenth time, Justin’s Crab Co. is ready to partner with you. Since 1999, Justin’s Crab Co. we’ve been sourcing fresh, delicious, bulk Dungeness crab to Northern California.