Chapter 7: How to Crack a Lobster
Once your lobster has been cooked, savoring the flavor of it is the next order of business. Understanding how to get the most from each part of the lobster will increase your enjoyment.
Keep in mind, you’ll need a few tools nearby as you dine on whole lobsters. Here are a few tips to crack a lobster:
A bib will help you have an easier clean-up after your meal, and they can be thrown away when you’re finished with your meal. The bibs from Maine Lobster Now are wide enough to cover guests’ shirts and low enough to cover their laps.
Lobster Crackers & Picks
You can also order lobster crackers and picks. Eating seafood with traditional flatware can be a challenge, but lobster picks can help you reach more meat with less effort. Lobster crackers make it possible to open the hard shells to access the meat inside.
Have a bowl on the table to hold discarded shells.
Lobsters have meat all throughout their bodies, too. Here’s a quick rundown of how to crack a lobster, depending on which part of the lobster’s body you’re dealing with:
Remove the claws by separating them from the body and then pull the lobster’s “thumb” off. Use a lobster cracker to break the shell, and pull out the meat with a lobster pick. The claw meat should be about the size of the shell around it.
The lobster will have cartilage throughout its body. To dislodge the cartilage connecting the tail, slide your finger between the shell of the tail and the meat of the tail. To remove cartilage in the claw, twist the claw off before cracking it. That should allow the cartilage to loosen.
Head & Thorax
There’s meat in the head and body cavity that’s sometimes overlooked. Peel off the outer shell and split the body down the middle with your thumbs, and pick out the thin shells separating the rib meat. You'll end up with about half a cup to three-fourths of a cup of lobster rib meat.
The first step to access this meat is to break the top knuckle — closest to the claw — in half, remove the shell and peel out the meat. The middle piece will now be exposed. Remove the middle piece of meat with a knife, then break the other two sections. The connections between the claw and the body have sweet meat inside of them.
Break off the six small legs, separate them into sections and suck the meat out. You can also extract the meat by rolling it out with a rolling pin or pressing down on the legs with your finger.
A lobster’s liver and pancreas are light green when cooked. Many people like to mix it with breadcrumbs, but tomalley can also be eaten alone. Some people consider it a delicacy. If it doesn’t sound appealing to you to eat tomalley, discard it.
If the tail you’re eating is attached to a whole lobster, pinch near the top of the tail and twist to pull it from the body.
To crack open the tail, split it down the center with a knife or squeeze the edges of the tail shell together and then pull them apart. Push the tail meat out of the shell in one piece by sticking your finger in the base of the tail at the smallest opening.
Cut the meat in the center of tail about halfway through — if you have the tail facing forward with the fins facing you. Cut it top to bottom about halfway into the tail, depth-wise. Then pull off the sections of the tail fan at the tip for small pieces of meat.
It’s Time to Enjoy Some Delicious Lobster
There you have it. Throughout this guide, you’ve picked up tips to help you find and prepare one of the greatest seafood delicacies around — lobster. It’s something we at Maine Lobster Now are passionate about, of course, and we have lots of experience with it.
Give our tips a try and tell us what you think.
To get you started on your next lobster dining experience, look at everything we have to offer on our website. From the whole, live lobster to lobster tails and seasonings to utensils, we’ve got you covered.
Our convenient online system makes it easy for you to place an order that will be delivered fresh and promptly to your door.