Tips From The Kitchen: Crack a Lobster Like a Pro

It’s hard to imagine now, but lobster was once considered to be “the poor man’s chicken,” and was frequently fed to goats, pigs and other farm animals in colonial times. Today, lobster is a 300 million dollar per year industry in Maine, and locals and tourists alike will pay a pretty penny for fresh lobster or a perfectly crafted lobster roll.

We’ve shown you the proper method of cooking a lobster, now it’s time to get cracking! (Literally). Follow these steps to crack the tasty crustacean and gather the meat to make the perfect lobster roll at home.


(We adore these Lobster Placemats, made of rugged recycled sail cloth.)

Step 1: Twist off both lobster claws where they meet the body. Break off the knuckles where they attach to the claw.

Step 2: Crack the claws. Use a shell or nutcracker, if you have one, but you can also use pliers. Pick the meat out of the claws. (If you’re looking for the whole kit, try our Maine Lobster Kit that comes complete with all the tools you need to eat lobster like a real Maine-ah!)

Step 3: Use a pick or a small fork to get the meat out of the knuckles.

Step 4: Separate the lobster tail from the body by bending it backward and using a twisting motion. For a bit of extra meat, bend back the flippers.

Step 5: Insert a fork or pick into the end of the tail and push out the tail meat. You will want to remove the black vein that runs down the middle of the tail.

Step 6: Remove the legs attached to the body. You can pick tidbits of lobster meat from each leg.

Step 7: Crack the body apart lengthwise and pick the meat from the body with a fork or pick. Note: the “tomalley,” the lobster’s liver, turns green when cooked. Many consider it a delicacy, but few put it into their lobster rolls.

Now that you’ve cracked your lobster, you’re ready to prepare your lobster roll! Here in Maine, there are two very important aspects of our lobster roll that set us apart. First, it’s our lobster. Did you know Maine requires fishermen to throw back lobsters that are too big or too small? The lobster’s body must be 3 ¼ inches to keep, but can’t be more than 5 inches. Our fishermen ensure that you’re getting the perfect lobster every time.

The second most important part of our lobster roll is the roll itself. No regular hot dog bun will do. We like our rolls New England style and toasted with butter on both sides.

Downeast Lobster Roll



  • 6 New England style hot dog rolls
  • Butter, as needed
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh lobster meat, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons celery, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine lobster meat with mayonnaise, celery and seasonings.  May be refrigerated at this point for up to one day.
  2. Lightly butter each side of the hot dog rolls and grill both sides until golden.  Remove from heat and fill with lobster meat mixture.  Serve immediately.

Think you’ve got what it takes to put together the perfect roll? Give this recipe a shot and send us a photo of your creation on Twitter or Facebook!

Share your thoughts with us

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s