Chapter 3: Get to Know the Parts of a Maine Lobster

Many parts make up a lobster, and some parts are not all as well known as others. Actually, once you take a closer look at a whole lobster, some of what you see might be a mystery.

In this section, we’ll walk you through the major lobster parts you’ll notice when you handle, cook or eat your lobster:

Claws

Cold-water lobsters, such as those we sell at Maine Lobster Now, have two large, distinct claws that contain meat. Claw muscles are softer because they aren't used as much as the tail. The crusher claw, the larger of the two, breaks shells and helps the lobster crush things. The finer-edged ripper claw is used to tear flesh.

Lobster Tail

The tail is a popular part of the lobster for people to eat because it is the easiest to handle and is usually the meatiest part. The meat of a Maine lobster tail is chewier than the claw meat due to the way and how often lobsters use their tails. When needing to get away in a hurry, lobsters flap their tail rapidly to scoot out of harm’s way. This makes the tail more muscular and more fibrous.

Head, Body & Shell

The tail and the claws are not the extents of what can be eaten from a lobster. The body and head both contain edible meat. A good amount of rib meat is located between the thin shells of the body as well.

What’s This Inside the Lobster?

There are components of a lobster that aren’t as easily identifiable as the tail or claws. Inside your lobster, you might find:

Roe

If you have a female lobster, you’ll see red balls inside a cooked lobster. These are immature eggs called roe and are naturally black. If the eggs are black and not red when you are ready to eat your lobster, that means the lobster needs to be cooked further. Once the eggs are red — meaning they’re cooked — they can be eaten. Roe is tasty on its own, but it is also used in sauces, bisques and stocks.

Congealed blood

When you cook your lobster, you may notice a white substance covering the meat. This is how the congealed blood looks when cooked. It is clear when the lobster is alive. Eating it once cooked is harmless.

Tomalley

This is the green substance on the meat when cooked, and it’s basically the lobster’s pancreas and liver. Some people consider it a delicacy.

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