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Everything You Wanted to Know About How to Eat Lobster Tails

(But were just too afraid to ask)
How to Eat a Lobster Tail
Photo: Tasting Table

Whether you're attending an end-of-the-summer clambake, donning a cheesy bib at your favorite chain restaurant (don't forget the cheddar biscuits) or steaming a pair for date night in your own kitchen, breaking open a freshly steamed lobster tail is a rite of passage. 

Unfortunately, learning how to crack open a crustacean wasn't really one of those life skills they taught in school, which is why we're breaking down the art of busting open this popular seafood staple. So you can get the most for your money (and avoid any dinnertime embarrassment).

 

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 Separate the Tail from the Body

If you're tackling a freshly steamed, whole lobster you're first going to need to play the role of serial killer and separate the tail from the body. Luckily, once a lobster's been properly cooked, all you have to do is twist the two halves apart to detach its tail.

You might encounter a green substance known as the tomalley, which essentially acts as the lobster's liver. Though some view it as a briny, sought-after delicacy, it's something to eat with caution as its job is to filter out various toxins. Luckily, it's easy to just brush off. 

 Crack Open the Shell

If you have a pair of shears on hand, flip the tail over exposing the underside, where the softer membrane is easier to pierce versus the hard outer shell. Cut through the skin, pull away the shell and lift out the meat.

 

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But what if you don't have a trusty pair of kitchen scissors on hand? Another option is to just tear the tail fins off, so there are openings on both sides of the tail. You can then simply use a fork to push the meat through to the other side.

 Remove the Black Vein

One last thing before you take a dip into a pool of clarified butter: Remove the black intestinal track running through the tail. (It's not going to kill you if you keep it in, but it's not exactly delicious either.) While some lobsters come with the vein already removed, if it's still in your tail you can usually pull it out with your fingers.

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