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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Properly De-shell a Lobster

by Kacey Bradley

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The seafood industry is a powerful one because it’s widespread across the globe and enjoyed by many nations. People rely on it for everything from jobs to food. It keeps the lights on in communities and creates wonderful dinner atmospheres for loved ones to enjoy together.

That said, while many people who fish know how to cook what they catch, it’s not always easy for those who are newer to the world of seafood beyond salmon and tilapia.

Many beginners struggle to know how to get a lobster from the store to their dinner plate. The shell creates confusion and it’s not always clear which part of the lobster is actually edible. Even people who consider themselves both seafood lovers and experts sometimes need to brush up on the proper way to de-shell a lobster! Whatever part of the lobster-connoisseur spectrum you find yourself on, there’s no need to stress.  Essentially, you don’t need to be an expert chef to learn how to make lobster properly. Here’s my simple step-by-step guide that will help you to do so: 


fresh lobster on a plate

Image credit: Simplyrecipes.com


1. Remove the Claws


Every recipe is going to be a little different, so make sure you read the directions for the meal you have in mind to know how long to cook your lobster for. Once your lobster is cooked to perfection, remove it carefully with tongs and set it somewhere to cool. A baking rack would be perfect for this step, or you can put the lobster on a large plate and place in the fridge for a few minutes.

Once the lobster is cool enough for you to handle, hold the body in one hand and use your other hand to ear the claws back towards the tail, underneath the body. It should happen in one quick motion. You can set the body aside and keep the claws in front of you.


2. Take Out the Claw Meat


cracking lobster claw

Image credit: Order411.com

Separate the knuckle from the claw and tear the thumb and claw apart. You can remove meat from inside the thumb with a pick.

Once you’ve done so, you would need to crack the claw, which can be done with claw cracker. Sometimes claws are extremely hard, so you can change out that cracker for a hammer instead. To make sure you’re doing it right, you can watch someone else do it first and then try it on your own. You can then continue to remove the meat from the knuckle with your claw cracker or hammer.


3. Prepare the Body Meat


Hold the body of the lobster and the tail in two hands and pull apart. Then take the meat part of the tail and twist off any tail flaps. A fork can then be used to take the meat out. Using the same fork, insert it where the tail used to be and push the body meat out through the front. Make sure to locate the digestive tract underneath the outer meat. Forgetting to remove this is one of the mistakes everyone makes when cooking lobster. Once it’s thrown out, wash the meat part of the body and set it aside.


4. Clean The Remaining Lobster Pieces


What will remain at this point is the body and the head. You can throw the head out, but keep the body one! You can find flat meat along the shell, which some say is the easiest to locate. Pull the spongy gills away from the body. Then, pull off the legs and use a pick to take out the little meat that is in them.


Final Notes


Cooked lobster

Image credit: Wikihow.com


Learning how to properly de-shell a lobster isn’t as difficult as it might seem at first! If you watch a couple videos and read some tips, you’ll be a lobster expert before you know it. Just know what you can and can’t eat before you put anything on your plate! Good luck!


Are you a lover of lobsters? Treat yourself to a culinary vacation in the US. From Maine to the Keywest to California, discover some of the world’s best destinations for fresh and delicious lobster in the good ol’ US of A!

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