Dungeness Dynamite Sticks

Piggybacking on my last catch-to-cook, the trip continues with our hunt for Dungeness Crab from the kayaks and another recipe for good measure. Reunited with my old kayak fishing partner Spike, we spent the first day in a little nook outside of Bodega Bay, dropping shrimp flies, iron and live bait from the ‘yaks, in search of “crab bait.” What better way to get fresh bait than being able to eat the best parts first? We kept a mixed bag of rockfish and enjoyed the fillets in a dish that I made off the cuff; the crew heavily approved and therefore will make the menu once we hit rockfish season. We spent that evening prepping the hoop nets, lines, buoys, and bait. Like any other heavily anticipated trip, sleep was light for everyone that night. 

We woke to somber weather – gray, drizzly and onshore. That said, it’s virtually impossible to deter Spike and me when we’re teamed up on a mission unless, of course, conditions are threatening. There’s a difference between “a little weather” and hazardous conditions when it comes to kayak fishing, and that could be a 20-page chapter on its own. We carefully chose some protected waters and made it out to a zone where we slowly chipped away. Balance, stability, and awareness are mandatory pulling hoop nets on a narrow craft like a kayak. A day can end very quickly (or worse) without constant attention to detail. With increasing wind and weather, the crab crawl fortunately picked up enough to where we got our share and paddled in with a variety of Dungeness and Red Rock Crab. After stacking our nets as quickly as possible, we changed in the wind and rain and made our way back to the “Ewok Forest” as I like to call Spike’s neighborhood. Back-to-back days took its toll on the body, but the reward certainly outweighed it all.  

Next Recipe: Pacific Rim Crab Cakes with Sweet Chili Sauce

crab hooping from kayaks
dungeness crab in a boiling pot

Honestly, the star of Dungeness is the Dungeness itself. Some drawn butter with lemon, a crab cracker and a bib are really all you need. But I know I’m not getting off that easy, so here’s a fun, creative appetizer you can share with friends, and also to use if you need to make a little go a long way. Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem for us, but if you have to purchase the crab and it’s expensive (as fresh Dungeness could be), that can often times be the case.  

dungeness crab dynamite sticks ingredients
crab dynamite stick ingredients
shishito peppers
crab dynamite stick filling
stuffed shishito pepper dungeness crab
dungeness crab dynamite stick
dungeness crab dynamite sticks with lime and sweet chili sauce


Hungry? View more recipes on the Recipes Forum


  • CRAB:
  • 1-2 live Dungeness crabs (depending on # of guests)
  • Large pot filled with 1 inch of water
  • Colander to fit the entire base of the pot
  • 2 dozen long peppers – I use Shishito peppers because they have thin skin and are pliable; I throw in a few jalapenos for variety.
  • Pack of wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1 TBSP Baker and Olive sesame oil (for cooking)
  • 1 TBSP butter (for cooking)
  • Cooked crab - picked clean of all shells and cartilage
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2-4 TBSP cream cheese, depending on guests
  • 2 long green onions, thinly sliced, plus one for garnish (or cilantro)
  • 1 finger of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • ¼ red onion or 1 shallot, minced
  • Your favorite sweet chili sauce and garlic chili sauce
  • Fresh lime and lemon wedges
  • Additional green onion (or cilantro), minced
  • Avocado wedges, optional (to offset the heat with chili sauce)


  1. Start by filling your large crab/lobster/stock pot with 1 inch of water, place a colander in the bottom of the pot, and bring water to a boil.
  2. Carefully drop the crabs in without tilting the colander over and cover for 17 minutes (for 4 or more crabs I recommend 20-22 minutes, but you should only need 1 or 2 for this appetizer).
  3. During the steaming process, prep your peppers and filling (see #5 on).
  4. When the crabs are done, remove and allow to cool (a cooler of ice will expedite the process). Follow the video of Spike in my last recipe, breaking down the crab. Carefully remove all the meat, while thoroughly sifting through to remove all shells and cartilage - then double check.
  5. Carefully slice one side of each pepper down the middle and also over the top to open up a little window where you can scrape out all of the seeds and create an opening for the filling.
  6. In a large pan add sesame oil and butter and sauté the green onions, ginger, garlic, and onion/shallots for 3-4 minutes, and then add the crab and the beaten eggs. Stir for 30-60 seconds consistently until everything is incorporated and scoop into a mixing bowl.
  7. Once cooled, gently add the mixture and the cream cheese (to taste) to the peppers.
  8. One by one, place a wonton wrapper on a cookie sheet, add a stuffed pepper, roll, and seal with the egg wash brushed around the edges. *Important* the reason these are called Dynamite Sticks is that the stem coming out of the top of the wonton wrapper/pepper looks like a wick, so be sure to LEAVE ALL THE STEMS ON.
  9. Add your preferred frying oil to a clean pan and drop the pieces in over medium heat, laying the pieces away from you to avoid getting burned. Do not over-crowd the pan or they will not cook evenly with a crisp.
  10. Cook until golden brown and cooked through; about 4 minutes a side, turning occasionally to cook evenly. Remove carefully, lay on paper towels to drain and immediately season (lightly) with kosher sea salt.
  11. Plate with fresh lime and lemon wedges, add your green onion/cilantro, and drop a combo of sweet chili sauce and garlic chili sauce.
Let’s just say, Adam Traubman could use a few more hours in each day. “Trout” can’t go more than 24 hours without fishing, surfing, paddling, diving, anything without getting the wiggles. So with a wife, three kids, two dogs, three snakes, an organic garden AND work... the man has his work c...