Lobster consumption - Masterclass

OK, you’re at the dinner table having nearly finished a wonderful meal of whole, steamed Maine lobster. You’ve already shelled and devoured the claws and tail and now you’re left with… what? There is a bit of good meat in the side legs and I’ve seen cooks in the kitchen extract it easily with a rolling pin but how is it best done at the table? Are you better off just letting it go? I’ve heard dark tales of the “tamale” and ostensibly treasured tidbits within the carapace.

What’s the SD on this? After you eat the obvious bits, what’s left?

I break off and suck on the legs as a sort of intermezzo between the claws and tail. The thorax has way too much nasty stuff in it and I leave it alone.


I eat everything possible on a lobster.

Break the legs and suck the meat out, or if you must, daintily extract it with a pick. There can be plenty of meat in the joints where the legs meet the shell, so dig into that also. If the lobster is large enough, there will be meat at the base of the shell on the sides. Just pull off the sides to get at that. I don’t eat tomale and roe straight out of the lobster, but I will use them to make sauces or mix them in the filling for a baked stuffed lobster.

Nice video, many thanks!

I’ve only tried whole lobster a couple of times and I pretty much made a mess out of them. When I eat it now I usually just buy a couple of tails. I may have to take another crack at one now though.

How I eat a lobster:

First, remove the tail and claws. Set them aside. If the lobster is just out of the steamer (and if it isn’t, why are you eating cold lobster?) they’re too hot to eat at this point anyway. If removing the tail revealed roe, eat it. Roe is yummy.

Remove the legs one at a time. Break them into segments, and extract the sliver of meat from each one with a lobster fork. There’s not much there, but I don’t waste lobster.

Separate and discard the upper half of the main body shell from the part of the body where the legs were attached. Discard the upper shell and the ‘face’. Optionally, eat some of the tomally. It’s not my favorite bit, but it is perfectly edible. Discard the gills and stomach.

At the base of each leg is a significant piece of meat encased in shell. Extract and eat each of those with a lobster fork.

By now the tail and claws are cool enough to eat. I like to eat the claws first, then the tail, but that’s a matter of personal choice. The tail meat can be extracted in a single piece if you first break off the little flipper-things at the rear end of the tail, and then bend the tail back against the way it normally curves to detach the meat from the inside of the shell.

In no particular order:

Crack the claws and draw out the meat. Don’t forget the bits leading up to the claws.
Crack the tail and get that meat.
Pick off a leg, chew on it to break it, then suck out the meat.
Eat the roe, if there (it’s red). If not, the tomalley (just discovered that’s what it’s called – it’s green) is also delicious.

I leave the shell and the gills.

You can also split the legs with the side of your fork. Kind of an old-fashioned can opener movement.

That’s how I eat crab legs. Insert tine into space between shell and meat, see-saw down the shell until you can just pluck the whole piece of meat right out. Meat really doesn’t sound like the right word to me when talking about seafood.

Even better than using a fork tine is not having to use a tool at all. I used to buy Alaskan King crab frozen that were “dinner cut”. This meant that the shells were practically cut open for you. Imagine having a Dremel with you at the table, but the cutting was done prior to cooking. You could basically just snap the halves of the shell in two along the length and remove the meat (still sounds weird). I really love lobster, but “dinner cut” King crab wins every time because it’s all still warm while you eat it.

Slight hijack: what do people use to dip the lobster in? Nothing, ghee, drawn butter, clarified butter, ketchup?
[sub]Yes, I was kidding about the ketchup, please do not go apoplectic.[/sub]

Heh! Just had to point out that no two people have spelled it the same.