Succulent Jumbo Maine Lobster Tails from the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Order here »
Learn how to crack and eat a lobster
To get at the meat inside a cooked whole lobster (whether it’s been boiled or steamed), you’ll need a nutcracker. A lobster fork (a small type of fork) will also be very helpful. Once you have those, the most effective way to eat a lobster is as follows:
Grasping the lobster by its back, gently twist the legs so that they come away from the lobster at their base. You can then get little bits of meat and lobster juice out of the legs by breaking them at the joins and biting and sucking on their ends. You may also be able to remove strings of meat using your lobster fork.
As you did with the legs, twist the claws so that they come away from the lobster at their base. You’ll now have what looks like an “arm” with a claw at the end. Break off the arm from the claw at their point of connection.
Use your lobster fork to remove the meat inside the arm. You may have to use the nutcracker to open up the shell further in order to get at the meat fully.
The claw looks like a mitten, with a “thumb” opposing the rest of the claw. First, pull away the thumb from the claw with your fingers. You can usually pull the meat from the thumb by just spearing it and pulling it with your lobster fork.
To get at the meat in the part of the claw, use your nutcracker to crack and remove the tip of the claw. Now the claw will have holes at both ends—at its tip, and at the “wrist” where it met the “arm.” Insert a finger or your lobster fork into the hole at the tip of the claw and push the meat out the hole at the wrist.
With one hand, firmly grasp the top of the lobster’s back. With the other hand, grasp the lobster’s tail in the same way. Twist the two parts of the lobster in opposite directions until they separate. At this point, you have two different ways to get at the tail meat.
The underside of the tail is covered in a white or translucent material that feels a bit like plastic. Using a sharp knife and starting at the end of the tail that was once attached to the rest of the lobster, you can cut down the middle of this material along the length of the tail.Once you’ve cut the underside of the tail so that it splits open, you can remove the meat.
At the tail’s end, you’ll see what look like a bunch of little flippers. Pull these flippers off of the tail, which will create a narrow hole at the end of the tail. Insert a finger or your lobster fork into this narrow hole, and push the tail meat out the hole at the far end (the hole where the tail used to connect with the rest of the lobster). Before eating the tail, peel off the digestive tract, which runs down the middle of the back of the tail.
Each of the flippers also contains a tiny bit of delicious meat that you can get by further breaking open the flippers’ shells with your lobster fork.
Some lobster lovers are much more detail-oriented in their search for meat, and will scour the inside of the lobster for little morsels that they’ve left behind. Some lobster lovers also pull off the shell, eating the head, the green “tomalley,” and the black “coral.”
Other helpful resources:
Cooking a Lobster - Learn how to cook live lobster and lobster tails.
Butterflying Lobster Tail - Learn how to cook a lobster tail just like they do in the restaurants.
Boiling a Lobster - Boiling a lobster is one of the easiest ways to cook a lobster. Learn how here.
Baking Lobster Tails - Here's an easy way to make lobster tails.
Steaming a Lobster - Learn how to steam a whole lobster.