How to De-shell a Lobster
Lobster parties are enjoyable, but the preparation can be stressful if you don’t know how to de-shell a lobster efficiently.
This step-by-step guide is especially suitable for beginners and will show you how. Prepare yourself and get a large cutting board, a chef’s knife, sturdy scissors and a kitchen towel ready.
The first time might be a little messy because the cooked lobster will release some of its cooking juices. As always, practice makes perfect!
Related: Best way to poaching lobsters
Step by step guide
- Twist gently and pull the head from the tail. Keep the head aside.
- Use scissors to cut the soft, pliable shell on both sides of the belly over the length of the tail.
- Peel away the soft belly shell and carefully extract the lobster tail meat.
- Use your scissors again to cut the thin legs from the head.
- Twist the large pincers gently and pull them away.
- Break the pincers at the joints.
- Use your scissors to cut the softer part of the leg and extract the meat easily.
- For the big claw, wiggle the smallest part of the pincer and pull carefully. The shell should come and extract the feather-like internal bone at the same time.
- Use a rolling pin, a meat pounder or the back of a chef’s knife to crack the main claw shell on both sides, but don’t crush it.
- Remove small bits of shell, if any, and gently pull the whole claw meat from the shell.
- Use the rolling pin to squeeze the meat from the thin legs.
Parts to remove
- Each lobster has an intestinal tract which is similar to shrimp. Make a shallow cut along the back to remove it or cut the tail in the middle to remove it easily.
- There is the grit or stomach behind the eyes and mouth which needs to be removed.
Parts to keep
- The lobster meat!
- The shells from the body, the claws and legs can be used to make stock or bisque. Use it directly or freeze for later use.
- Roe or coral is not found in every lobster, but if this deep red delicacy is there, use it to colour and flavour a sauce or you can pan fry it and serve with the lobster meat. It can be eaten cold but it usually doesn’t look very nice.
- The liver is the greenish part of a cooked lobster. It is also seen as a delicacy and can be scooped out, but personally we are not fans.