Cooking

How to Break Down a Lobster

Learn how to extract every morsel of buttery lobster meat
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table
How to Break Down a Lobster

No matter if you like your lobster grilled, boiled or steamed, the tricky part is knowing how to crack open the tough red crustacean and extract and enjoy every morsel of meat you possibly can. Although it requires a little bit of strategy, there is no need to get surgical here.

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So when you're presented with a beautiful whole lobster, here's how to spend more time eating and less time wrestling with those claws.

First thing's first: Once your lobster is cooked, let it rest. This is not a race. As soon as the lobster is cool enough to handle, you're ready to get started.

  • Remove both claws by twisting the points where they meet the body.

  • Break off the knuckle where it meets the main part of the claw.

  • Remove the "thumb" of the claw and discard. Repeat with the other claw.

  • Using kitchen shears, cut up either side of the claw.

  • Lift the shell to expose the claw meat and remove the meat. Repeat with the other claw.

  • Separate the tail from the body by pulling the tail back and using a twisting motion until it cracks.

  • Using kitchen shears, cut either side of the tail.

  • Lift the shell to expose the tail meat.

  • Pull out the chunk of tail meat.

  • Using a knife or kitchen shears, cut the tail meat in half.

  • Remove the black vein that runs the length of the lobster tail.

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