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How to Eat a Lobster

Enjoying cooked lobster requires knowing how to eat one properly


If you love freshly cooked lobster, but are stymied when it comes to knowing how to go about getting to all of the succulent, tender meat, then these instructions are for you. It's a primitive and hands-on process, but once you know the easy steps, great lobster eating is a cinch.

1. Freshly cooked lobster

Freshly cooked lobster
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Heads or tails, a boiled or steamed lobster never fails to satisfy. I think that they are best served simply, with just some melted butter. Be sure to provide a large bowl to discard the shells, and you'll need a good pair of lobster crackers, especially if the lobster has a hard shell.

Most lobsters shed annually so they can grow. Once they've cast off the old shell, they quickly begin to grow a new shell that contains enough interior space for the next year's growth. Shedders, or new-shell lobsters as they are sometimes called, sell for less because part of their volume consists of water.

2. Remove claw and knuckle sections

K. Kingsley
To begin, twist off the claw and knuckle sections from the lobster, and separate them at the joints.

3. Crack claw sections

K. Kingsley
Using a lobster cracker or nutcracker, crack each of the claw and knuckle sections. Look for lobster crackers at kitchen supply shops.

4. Remove claw meat

Remove the meat from each part — claw and knuckle joints. The claw meat is easy to get at, but sometimes you'll need to take a pick or small fork to poke out the knuckles. Discard the cartilage from the largest claw.

5. Remove tail

K. Kingsely
Grasp the cooked lobster with one hand on the body and the other on the tail and twist off the tail from the body. There may be a gush of liquid from the body, drain the liquid into the bowl with the shells.

6. Remove tail fins

Twist off the flat fins at the end of the tail section. There is a small amount of meat in the fins. To eat it, pull the fin through your teeth like an artichoke leaf.

7. Split the tail

K Kingsley
You can poke the tail meat out with your finger, or if it's begin stubborn, slice the thin underside shell with a sharp knife - be careful not to slice through the meat.

8. Remove tail meat

K. Kingsley
Pull apart the split shell using your hands, and pull out the tail meat. It should easily come out.

9. There's more...

For the persistent person, there's more to eat in the lobster. You can twist off the legs, which can be chewed and sucked to extract the sweet meat. There's also small nuggets of meat in the joint where the legs meet the body.

And for those who really just don't want to give up, you can find some good things to eat inside the body, too. Remove the body shell by placing your thumbs inside and peeling it off. Then break the body into small parts and remove the meat with a pick. You will also find the soft green tomalley, or liver and of the lobster, and if it's a female, the bright pink roe or coral — all which are edible and to many a delicacy!

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