Who doesn't love succulent lobster meat served with butter and lemon? Despite being one of the most delicious culinary recipes in the world, helping yourself to a whole lobster can be intimidating. Read on for more information on how to prepare to eat a lobster and take advantage of the creature's claws, tail, body and legs.
Method 1 of 3: Choosing a Lobster
Step 1. Choose between a hard shell or a shelled lobster
If you go to a restaurant that offers you the opportunity to choose your own lobster, staff may ask you to choose between shelled or peeled.
- Lobsters with shells have grown so much that their shells have become somewhat tough. However, the meat inside them is firm and tasty.
- The scaly ones have softer husks, as they have just changed their husk. Their flesh is sweeter, and it's relatively easy to break their shell. However, they are usually smaller, offering little meat.
Step 2. Choose between a male and a female
If you like the tail meat, choose the female lobster. Female tails are usually larger to accommodate egg transport.
Step 3. Choose one that looks healthy and very alive
Now is not the time to look for a rickety or weak lobster – choose a lobster that moves its antenna and walks through the pond. Her color should be bright (not reddish though - this happens after she's cooked), with bright eyes.
Avoid lobsters that look lethargic or sick. Lobsters with visible shell damage or cloudy eyes may be contaminated. Lobsters with tails curled in are probably dead – avoid them
Method 2 of 3: Preparing to Eat Lobster
Step 1. Dress appropriately
Lobsters are usually served in fine restaurants, but the experience of eating them can make a mess. Small pieces of lobster can fly off your fork during consumption and you even have a chance to spill drops of butter on your shirt. Bibs are usually provided, but you may want to wear something that doesn't stain easily just in case.
Step 2. Be prepared to use your hands
It is very difficult to eat a lobster without handling its various parts. Expect to touch the lobster's shell, legs, claws, tails and interiors with your fingers. By the end of the meal, you'll get to know a lot about the lobster's anatomy.
Step 3. Know the tools
The lobster is served with the following equipment, used to facilitate your experience with this meal:
- A lobster claw cracker, which is similar to a nutcracker. Without this, you would have trouble breaking the lobster's hard shell and reaching its meat.
- A lobster fork, which is a small metal fork used to dig meat into the animal's crevices.
- A bone dish, used to store the pieces of lobster shell.
- Hand wipes are usually provided after a meal so you can remove lobster juices from your fingers.
Step 4. Eat while breaking it or take it apart first
Some people like to eat the lobster piece by piece, eating the meat from each piece separated from the animal's body. Others prefer to take the whole lobster apart and enjoy the meal at once, after work is out of the question. The choice is yours – both are equally acceptable when it comes to etiquette.
Method 3 of 3: Eating Lobster
Step 1. Twist the claws
To remove the claw, pull it down and away from the lobster body. Twist the base of each claw to get two “arms” of clawed lobster.
- Eat the meat from the arm. Use the lobster fork to remove the meat from the arms. There's not much in the arms, but it's worth removing that meat.
- Remove the loose part of the claws. Break the claws at the joints. You'll see a handful of meat inside the smaller sections of the claws; use your fork to remove it.
- Crack the largest part of the claws. Use the shell breaker to reach the meat. Then use your fork to remove this meat. The claw meat is large, and may require you to cut it into smaller pieces using a knife.
- Discard pieces of husk and cartilage in the meal.
Step 2. Remove the lobster legs
Remove the meat in a similar way to the claws. Remove the skin to reveal the meat. You can also use a toothpick to soften the meat, then suck it up.
Step 3. Cut the tail
Pull back the tail shell and remove the large piece of meat from it. Remove the "fins" from the meat and take out the small handfuls of meat inside them.
Step 4. Produce cuts on the lower body
Remove the shell so that the main body opens. Remove any pieces of white meat you can find.
Step 5. Eat the tomalley
Tomalley is lobster liver, avoided by some, but loved by true fans of the dish. Tomalley is a gray substance found in the lobster's body, between its interiors.
Step 6. Find the coral
If you have a female lobster on hand, you may see red eggs, or roe, inside the body. They are edible, but they are not the most delicious part of the lobster.