Picking a Lobster

The Foodie Family roots run deep in New England. Maine, to be exact. Home of the best lobsters in the world. Hands down. No question about it! Spending every summer vacation in the Land of Lobster means we all learned to pick a lobster before we even liked to eat them! And we have noticed that not everybody possesses these skills. So, today, we are generously passing on the secrets!

First things first. Pick your spot. A view of the ocean where you can watch the fisherman come in at the end of their day, is perfect!


The next thing: pick your lobster! One that is lively and waves “hello” fits the bill.


As you see, lobsters are not red, when they are alive. But after a bit a steam bath, they are! Now, I haven’t actually steamed a lobster myself in a very, very long time. So please look elsewhere for recipes and follow them because if you overcook the lobster, it will get tough and then all the work to pick it out of the shell will really seem like a chore. However, when your lobster is cooked just right, picking it out is a delight! So, let’s get started!

We don’t prescribe to use of the lobster bib, particularly because we always go to a casual, outdoor harbor-side restaurant to eat our lobster. Notice the only tools needed (and not even that, if the shell is soft) is the nutcracker.  The paper bowl container is great for catching all the juice that will pour out once the shell is cracked.


Pull off a claw, with a twist.


Break off the claw pincer to reveal your first piece of meat! But wait, you’ll get more when you open the claw.


You can use the cracker to break the shell of the claw leg and claw.  Some people poke their finger through the leg to push the meat out. Repeat for the other claw. Savor the claws, these are very tender and special to the Maine lobster.  You don’t get claw meat in the spiny Caribbean lobsters.


Now that you’ve eaten the claws, time for the tail!  This is the biggest portion of the meat. Bend the tail backward from the body to break it off.


Then hold it between your hands and use your hands as a vice to squeeze and break the tail shell.


Then place your thumbs over the ridge of the tail shell and pull the tail apart.


Next, pull the tail meat out! Wow! That’s a hunk of lobster!


But wait! It’s not ready to eat yet. You have to peel it apart to expose the dark vein (a nice term for the lobster intestine) and remove that before you eat it.


You can also pull the fins off and find some tender morsels.


Breaking into the body is definitely worth the effort. Pull the body up, leaving the head intact. You do not eat the head. However, if you see the red eggs, they are wonderful to eat! As is the green tamale.



Then pull the body apart in half. This is where the rib meat is located and there’s a lot more of it than you would think!


Last, are the legs. Pull them off, and one by one, just suck out the meat and juice.  Lobster legs are how we all started eating lobster.  None of the adults would be bothered picking a lobster for us, so we sucked on legs until we were big enough to learn how to pick a lobster for ourselves!




You can see, Robin has the technique down!

So, happy lobster picking, A Foodie Family style!


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