How to Crack the Perfect Lobster

Follow these tips and get the most meat for your money.

Ordering whole lobster can feel a little intimidating. With a little help from Dave Nevins, VP and executive chef at Siegel Bros. Marketplace in Mount Kisco, you’ll be bib-deep in claw meat faster than a native New Englander.

1. Remove the Tail

Bend the tail backward and twist apart. Using a lobster-cracker or nutcracker, break off the flippers on the end.


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2. Push Out the Tail Meat

Pop your finger or a fork in through the tiny hole where you removed the flippers. Push the tail meat out in a single piece.  Discard the black sand vein that runs through the tail.


3. Twist Off the Claws at the Shoulders

Separate the arms from the claws and the smaller claw piece from the larger. Crack the shell over each part at an angle and pull out the meat.


4. The Little Legs

Pull out the smaller legs on the underside of the body. Use your lobster fork to dig meat out of each shoulder joint. You can even scrape or slurp the meat out of each leg (think edamame).

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5. The Head

When you pulled off the tail it left a tiny, tender morsel of meat back in the head cavity.  Chef Nevins calls this the “oyster of the lobster.” Dig it out with your fork and enjoy!

A Note on Tomalley

That green goo in some lobsters is called tomalley (as in “hot tamale”) and is basically liver. Like liver from a chicken or goose, some people love it; others hate it. If you’re feeling squeamish but still want to try it, Nevins recommends adding it to a soup or bisque for an enhanced flavor.


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