Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
How-To

How to Extract Lobster Meat

Learn how to get the most meat from a lobster without a lot of fuss

Sarah Breckenridge, videography by Gary Junken and Mike Dobsevage, edited by Cari Delahanty
Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note

Cooking lobster is easy-you just drop it in the pot and steam it. The part that intimidates many people is extracting that delicious lobster meat from the shell. But it’s not that hard as long as you have the right tools including some good kitchen shears.

For this demonstration, we’re using 1-lb. lobsters that have been steamed for about 10 to 12 minutes so they’re fully cooked. That means the meat will separate easily from the shell. 

You’ll want to get the lobster meat from three sections: the tail, the knuckles, and the claw.

Remove the two front legs from the lobster by twisting them off. If they don’t come off easily, use kitchen shears. Then separate the claws and the knuckles.

To crack open the shell on the claws, you can whack it with the back of a heavy chef’s knife or mallet, or an even easier way to get at the meat is to simply cut away the shell with some sharp kitchen shears.

A lot of chefs like to extract the claws whole for fancy presentations or garnishes. It can be a little tricky to get the hang of, but it’s worth practicing even if you’re going to dice up the lobster meat for, say, a lobster roll.

Start by bending the small pincer back and forth until it breaks off. Pull the shell away gently and the meat inside should stay attached to the rest of the claw. If this “thumb” stays inside the shell, you can remove it separately with a bamboo skewer.

With shears or the back of a chef’s knife, crack open the large claw shell and remove the meat in one piece.

If you don’t see a wide fin of cartilage attached to the small shell you took off before, that means it’s still in the claw meat. Pull or cut it out.

For the knuckles, it’s easier if you break or cut them into sections, and then use a bamboo skewer to push the meat out.  You can also use a skewer to extract some meat from the skinny legs-it’s not a lot of meat, but it makes a good cook’s treat while you’re working.

Now for the tail: Bend the tail backward and give it a slight twist to separate it from the body. Then use kitchen shears to cut open the shell on the underside-this is softer than the top of the shell-and remove the meat.

Just like shrimp, lobsters have their intestine running through their tail. Remove it by cutting down the center of the tail with a sharp knife, and then carefully pulling out the intestine, just like you would do to devein a shrimp.

And that’s all there is to it. Now your lobster meat is ready for whatever you want to make―a lobster roll, a salad, or just dipped in a little drawn butter.

More lobster how-to: Watch our How to Kill a Lobster video for step-by-step instructions on the most humane way to kill a lobster.

Cooking lobster is easy-you just drop it in the pot and steam it. The part that intimidates many people is extracting that delicious lobster meat from the shell. But it’s not that hard as long as you have the right tools including some good kitchen shears.

For this demonstration, we’re using 1-lb. lobsters that have been steamed for about 10 to 12 minutes so they’re fully cooked. That means the meat will separate easily from the shell. 

You’ll want to get the lobster meat from three sections: the tail, the knuckles, and the claw.

Remove the two front legs from the lobster by twisting them off. If they don’t come off easily, use kitchen shears. Then separate the claws and the knuckles.

To crack open the shell on the claws, you can whack it with the back of a heavy chef’s knife or mallet, or an even easier way to get at the meat is to simply cut away the shell with some sharp kitchen shears.

A lot of chefs like to extract the claws whole for fancy presentations or garnishes. It can be a little tricky to get the hang of, but it’s worth practicing even if you’re going to dice up the lobster meat for, say, a lobster roll.

Start by bending the small pincer back and forth until it breaks off. Pull the shell away gently and the meat inside should stay attached to the rest of the claw. If this “thumb” stays inside the shell, you can remove it separately with a bamboo skewer.

With shears or the back of a chef’s knife, crack open the large claw shell and remove the meat in one piece.

If you don’t see a wide fin of cartilage attached to the small shell you took off before, that means it’s still in the claw meat. Pull or cut it out.

For the knuckles, it’s easier if you break or cut them into sections, and then use a bamboo skewer to push the meat out.  You can also use a skewer to extract some meat from the skinny legs-it’s not a lot of meat, but it makes a good cook’s treat while you’re working.

Now for the tail: Bend the tail backward and give it a slight twist to separate it from the body. Then use kitchen shears to cut open the shell on the underside-this is softer than the top of the shell-and remove the meat.

Just like shrimp, lobsters have their intestine running through their tail. Remove it by cutting down the center of the tail with a sharp knife, and then carefully pulling out the intestine, just like you would do to devein a shrimp.

And that’s all there is to it. Now your lobster meat is ready for whatever you want to make―a lobster roll, a salad, or just dipped in a little drawn butter.

More lobster how-to: Watch our How to Kill a Lobster video for step-by-step instructions on the most humane way to kill a lobster.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Moveable Feast Logo

Season 4 Extras

Durham, North Carolina (412)

From rooftop to rain in North Carolina, Moveable Feast host Pete Evans is joined by the Lantern restaurant co-founders and siblings Andrea & Brendan Reusing to create an amazing local…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks