How to prepare a cooked lobster

Expert advice on how to get all the meat from the shell of a cooked lobster.

  • Start by removing the claws from the lobster by twisting them at the point where they meet the body. Remove the rest of the legs in the same way. 
  • Separate the head from the tail by twisting the two sections in opposite directions.
  • To prepare the claws, snap them into their separate sections but keep the large part of the claw and both pincers whole. Pull back the smallest pincer until it snaps off then pull it back. Don’t forget to save any pieces of meat, which are attached. To extract the rest of the claw meat, give shell a sharp, gentle tap with a heavy item like a rolling pin. You just want to crack it, not smash it. Do this on both sides then peel the shell away.
  • Use a lobster pick or skewer to pick out the last pieces of meat from the shell.
  • To take the meat out of the legs, use a rolling pin to firmly push it out.
  • To prepare the tail, either split it in half or, using a pair of kitchen scissors, snip down the length of the shell on either side of the legs on the underside of the lobster. Peel away the shell then remove the digestive tract by cutting the tail in half lengthways and using a skewer or lobster pick to lift the vein out.
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TIPS
EQUIPMENT NEEDED

You’ll need a large bowl for the shells, a lobster pick or skewer, kitchen scissors, something heavy, like a rolling pin or handle of a large knife, plus lots of kitchen paper.

LOCATE THE LIVER

The liver or tomalley is located inside the head of the lobster. It’s quite strongly flavoured but 100% edible and you can add it to dressings and sauces if you like.

USE THE SHELLS

Don’t throw away the shells as they can be used to make delicious stock. The shells freeze really well so don’t feel you have to make the stock straight away.