How to Eat a Lobster

  • 01 of 04

    Start With a Whole Lobster

    Whole Cooked Lobster
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    Fresh, local lobster is a great ​summer treat, whether you live at the seashore or just get to visit in the summer. Here, the process is outlined so you get every morsel out of the shell, which will make you feel all the better about that lobster dinner. 

    This part is obvious, but you want to start with a whole cooked lobster. Make sure you know how to buy a lobster and then follow the tips on how to cook lobster to avoid disappointing or overcooked specimens.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Twist off That Tail

    Pulling Lobster Tail Meat from Its Shell
    Jerry Young / Getty Images

    Grab the tail at the top, towards the body. Twist and pull away from the body to separate the two. Use a knife to cut the tail down the center (splitting it lengthwise) or squeeze the edges towards the bottom together until they give a bit and then pull them apart to break the shell.

    You should be able to remove the tail meat in one piece. Don't forget to pull off the tail fan sections at the tip for the bits of meat that hide at the end of the tail.

    If you're lucky, the tail will have had a row of bright red roe (lobster eggs) along the tip of the shell where you split it. Eat the roe straight-up or save and stir into part sour cream and part cream cheese for a delicious spread or simply stir into seafood soups.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Cracks Those Claws

    Eating Lobster Claw
    Jeff Kauck / Getty Images

    Pull the claws with a slight twist away from the lobster body to separate them. Pull the smaller, thumb-like part of the claw as far as it will go away from the rest of the claw, then pull it a bit more to break it off. With a cracker or a heavy knife break the claw shell and pull out the meat, this is where small forks come in handy.

    If the claw meat doesn't pretty nearly fill the shell around it, it was held too long with a rubber band around its claw. Find another source for your lobster.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Get at the Knuckles and Beyond

    Lobster Dinner in Progress
    GMVozd / Getty Images

    Next up: the knuckles. They are those things that join the claws and the body. They hold some very sweet and tender meat. Use a cracker or heavy knife to break them into pieces and use a seafood fork or similar utensil to poke the meat out.

    You'll notice light green stuff found in the body cavity where you broke off the tail. That's the lobster tomalley, or the liver and pancreas, to be exact. Some people love it, some people are too squeamish to try it, and other people prefer to mix it into other dishes.

    Whether you down the tomalley or not, there is some meat at the front of the body cavity worth seeking out. Split the body down the center (your thumbs should do the job) and use a small fork to pick out the meat.

    Finally, dedicated lobster eaters will break off the six little "walking" legs and suck the meat out of them. There's not enough in there to fill anyone up, but it's something to do and will definitely make you feel like you ate all of that lobster!