How to Crack a Cooked Lobster: Cracking Open a Maine Lobster to Eat (for Beginners)

How to Crack a Cooked Lobster: Cracking Open a Maine Lobster to Eat (for Beginners)

Unless you grew up in Maine cracking lobsters each summer over a picnic table with family and friends, you may not feel confident opening and eating a whole lobster.

The good news? Eating a lobster is far easier than you think and, with a few pro tips, you’ll be eating your fresh Maine lobster like a local in no time.

Here’s your beginner’s guide to cracking open a cooked lobster.

1. Remove Lobster Claw Meat

Twist off the two large claws. (Here you can use personal preference by saving the claws for later or enjoying them now!)

Bend the “thumb” back and forth to crack open the claw. The meat may stay attached or come off with the shell. To remove the rest of the meat from the claws, use a lobster cracker (or your hands if the shell is soft enough) to break the shell. 

Use your fingers or a fork to remove all the meat from each claw and knuckle.

How to crack a lobster - claws
Remove the meat from the lobster claws.

2. Remove Lobster Tail Meat

Next you’re going to remove the biggest chunk of meat in your Maine lobster: the tail!

Separate the tail from the rest of the body by grasping the body (called the carapace) in one hand and the tail in the other; then twisting. The tail should easily separate from the rest of the body.

Then, remove the fins at the end of the tail by simply bending and pulling them off by hand. 

To remove the tail meat, insert a fork (or your finger) where the fins were and push the tail meat out in one piece.

Discard Lobster Parts

There are certain parts of a lobster – just like all seafood – that we simply don’t want to consume. Whether it’s not healthy for your body or it’s just not quite as tasty, here’s what you should discard:

  • Remove the long black vein (or digestive tract) that runs down the lobster tail.
  • While some enjoy the green tomalley (green substance in the body of the lobster), the FDA warns against consuming it, as it can be high in natural toxins. Discard or rinse off your lobster meat with water. That being said, don’t be concerned if you have a little bit – we know many who have made tomalley sandwiches their whole lives. 🙂
  • Discard the remainder of the head and body.

Enjoy Hidden Lobster Meat

Even regular lobster connoisseurs don’t get every ounce of meat from the lobster. Some lobster lovers simply don’t want the hassle of digging through all the tiny shells, while others don’t know they exist.

Here are some places to get hidden lobster meat:

  • Use a small fork to pull out meat from the fin at the end of the tail.
  • Remove meat from all the small legs along the body of the lobster by breaking or twisting them off, then extracting by biting on the leg and squeezing meat with your teeth.
  • Check the body at each point where there is a leg joint. Sometimes, there are areas where meat got stuck when you removed the legs.
3 Ways to cook Live Maine Lobster

That’s all there is to enjoying your whole lobster! Use this guide for cracking open your fresh cooked Maine lobster and you’ll be able to teach your friends and family in no time.

Ready to enjoy Maine lobster and crack one open yourself? Order today or come into our Scarborough, Maine location to purchase fresh caught Maine lobster.

SCARBOROUGH’S LOCAL, FRESH SEAFOOD AND PRODUCE MARKET SERVING SOUTHERN MAINE AND AVAILABLE FOR ONLINE ORDERING