Cracking a lobster can take a little work, but it’s worth it to get to that warm, tender lobster meat.
Step 1: Prepare the claws. With your hand, crack the knuckle off the base of the claw and set it aside. Then remove the rubber band and dislodge (and discard) the claw’s smaller pincher by working it back and forth.
Step 2: Crack the claws. Put the claw on a small towel. Strike the claw sharply with the butt of your knife a few times on each side until you can remove the shell. Set the meat aside.
TIP: You can also use lobster crackers to crack the shells of the claws.
Step 3: Cut the knuckles. If you have scissors, clip off the hard base of the knuckle. Then insert one end of your scissors and cut down the side, allowing you to pry open the shell to reveal the meat.
Step 4: If you don’t have scissors, crush the knuckles. Fold your towel over the claw and press down firmly with the heel of your hand to crack the shell.
Step 5: Cut the tail. Insert the point of your knife into the center of the spine, and slice down to cut most of the tail lengthwise in half. Make another cut to finish the job, then remove the meat.
Step 6: If you have trouble cutting the tail, crush it instead. If you don’t want to use a knife, you can crack the tail by wrapping it in a towel and pressing down on it firmly first as it’s curled up, and then as it’s straightened out. Pull apart the shell and enjoy your meat!
FACT: In Reggio Emilia, Italy, it is illegal to boil a live lobster. Violators face an almost $800 fine.