5 Easy Steps to Extract Lobster Meat

Daunted by a whole lobster?   It can be messy but it isn’t too hard to get at the meat. This method for extracting the meat from the lobster works for meat you use in a recipe or salad.

 It is not designed for table dining…although I guess it would work for that too but there are other presentations where you butterfly the tail that are more appealing at the table.

Be prepared – part of the messiness when extracting the meat from the lobster is from the liquid that is released as you break apart the lobster.


You are going to need some lobster crackers and a fine seafood pick.  You can also use a nutcracker and a nut pick. I actually used a fine 3 prong pickle ‘fork’.

Step 1.   Twist off the two front legs where they meet the body of the lobster. You can either use your hands or a large sharp knife.  Twist off the other tiny legs.

Whole lobster with all legs removed

Step 2.  Separate the ‘thumb’ from the larger claw by pulling it back as far as it will go until it breaks off.  Using a lobster cracker (or a nut cracker works too) Crack the both the thumb and the  larger claw open at the widest point and gently separate.  You should be able to use a tiny fork or pick to gently pull out the claw meat pretty much intact.  Break the other joints apart and gently tease out the meat in the leg segments with a pick.

It isn’t easy to get the meat out of the really skinny legs. You can try cracking them and inserting a pick (a nut pick works well for this).  If you can’t get it you can reserve the legs as they are if you intend to make stock from the carcass.



Seafood ford extracting lbster claw meat

Step 3.  Using a really good chef’s knife, slice the lobster in half lengthwise. Lay  the lobster on its stomach and start at the base of the head and work to the end of the tail. Discard the head section.

Lobster halved lengthwise

Step 4.   Discard any green matter (tomalley) that you find near the head end of the lobster.  The bright orange matter you see in the picture  is roe, which can be a bonus.  I scraped it out and added it  to my sauce and soup to up the flavour quotient.

Remove any black vein you see that runs the lengthy of the tail. Using a sharp pick or fork, tease the tail meat out of the tail shell. It will release cleanly in one direction once you get it started.


Tail meat and roe extracted from lobster carcass

Step 5.  Discard the tomalley and any other black vein matter you see. You want to end up with only the white/pink meat and possibly roe if there is some. Once the meat is extracted reserve the remaining shell/carcass if desired to make Lobster Stock.

Lobster carcass, meat removed


Transfer all that lovely, sweet pinkish lobster meat to a separate container for use in your chosen recipe.

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