Eating lobster, cracking the shell and searching for the sweet, prized meat is a New England ritual. Eating live Maine lobster can be a little intimidating. Don’t worry; you’ll be eating a Maine lobster like a native in no time!
What to Serve With Lobsters?
Steamer clams, New England clam chowder and coleslaw are perfect accompaniments. Lemons are a great garnish, and they also help remove the slight seafood odor from your fingers. Make sure that you put extra plates on the table to collect the shells. Hot lobsters should be served with hot, melted butter. If you really want to get fancy, whisk in a little lemon juice. Serving butter in a pre-heated, ceramic ramekins or butter pot kept heated with a tea light will keep the butter hot.
You will notice the claws of your Maine lobster have been banded. These should be removed before the lobster is eaten, but not before the live lobster is steamed. The bands are placed on the lobster for two reasons: The first is to protect whoever handles the lobster from the powerful claws. The second is to protect the lobster from other lobsters. Lobsters are traditionally cooked by steam or boiling water. Some folks believe putting a bottle of beer or other special ingredients in the water makes for a tastier lobster. For cooking instructions be sure to review our seafood cooking and handling guide.
Lobster meat is found within the claws (large front claws and side body claws), the tail, and within the body where the claws are joined to the body.The tail offers the most meat and is saved until last by many lobster lovers. Remember, the smaller the piece of meat, the sweeter, so it is often worth the extra time to find the little morsels! Knuckle meat tastes extra sweet and is a natural for lobster salad. Claw meat can be used in salads, too.
Save Your Shells
And don’t throw out the shells. They can be used as a flavoring for soup or to make lobster bisque. Note: The greenish-gray “stuff” inside the lobster’s head is called the tomalley. Some people consider it a delicacy. The “red stuff” that you sometimes see inside a lobster are immature, unfertilized eggs. Although red after cooking, before they are cooked, the eggs are black. The eggs are also called spawn, roe, or coral. It’s caviar to lobster enthusiasts.
Get Ready. Crack. Eat Lobster!
Now take the plunge and don a lobster bib and get ready to crack, eat and enjoy one of the most wonderful food experiences ever. Tools to use: You will need a nutcracker or shears, seafood fork or a small fork, bibs and plenty of wet naps.
1. Twist off the claws. Separate the pieces of the front claws at each of the joints.
3. Separate the tail from the body with a twisting motion.
5. Using a fork or your finger, force the tail meat up and out of the other end. Beneath the outer top layer of meat is the digestive tract which should not be eaten. Remove the meat covering from this tract (which looks like a vein) and discard the tract. The outer meat may be eaten.
7. Remove the smaller claws from the body. There is meat in the body at the points where each claw was attached.
2. Crack the claws and claw pieces with the nutcrackers. Use the pick as needed.
4. Break the tail flippers from the tail.
6. Unhinge the body shell from the body. Remove the “tomalley” (green substance) which is actually the lobster’s liver.
8. There is some delicate meat in the smaller claws. This can be obtained by breaking apart the claw sections and squeezing out the meat with one’s teeth.