Things to do in Maine: How to Eat a Lobster with No Utensils

Published: 21st September 2011
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One of the best things to do in Maine is eat a fresh boiled lobster. However, unless you're a Maine local this can appear to be an intimidating task requiring the use of specialized knives, skewers, crackers, spikes, and picks; not to mention enough spines on the little crustacean to exact at least partial revenge for its death. That's why so many people skip the whole boiled lobster and simply order "lazy lobster" (lobster where the meat has all been picked out and is served warm with melted butter) or cut lobster tail. If this sounds like you, then you have no idea what you're missing! The fact of the matter is that you can have your whole lobster and eat it too- with no special tools required and half the mess.

There are few things more deliciously rewarding than steaming-hot Maine lobster meat fresh out of the shell. And if you take a little time to "experiment" with the anatomy of a lobster, you'll see that it's pretty easy to eat one without all those ridiculous utensils. You will, however, need plenty of napkins! The following is a list detailing exactly how to eat a lobster without tools and equipment (except perhaps a butter knife), in order of the best way to eat each part:

How to Eat a Lobster: The Legs

Many people avoid the legs completely because they think they are too small, difficult to access and don't offer much meat. This isn't exactly true, and in fact the meat that is in the legs is some of the most tender and sweet meat in the entire lobster. Getting to this meat is fun and easy too. First, grab the leg as close to the socket in the body as you can and twist the leg out. If you do this correctly, a white piece of tissue will emerge at the end of the joint. It's delicious! Next, snap each segment of the leg off and put them one by one in your mouth, using your teeth to flatten it progressively to push the meat out. Believe it or not, each segment has a tasty little bite of very sweet meat that is well worth the effort; especially considering how many legs you get!

How to Eat a Lobster: The Knuckles

The entire "arm" can be easily twisted off the body. From there, the main claw can be detached from the group of spiny knuckles. Each of these knuckles has a fairly large, firm chunk of meat in them so they should not be discarded. Grasping the entire assembly so as to not cut yourself on the spines, separate each segment by bending it in the opposite way that it would normally function when the lobster wasn't....boiled. ;-) Next, use your little finger, the back of your fork or a toothpick to simply push the meat out of each segment. The meat from the knuckles should be substantial enough that you can put them on a fork and dredge them through hot melted butter.

How to Eat a Lobster: The Claw

One of the best parts of a fresh Maine lobster is the juices in the large claw. If you put the open end of the claw into your mouth, turn the claw upside down and use the small part of the claw as a crank, you can get an incredible mouthful of especially flavorful sea water. Then, just keep cranking on that little claw piece until it comes out of the joint. Give the open end a tap against your plate and the meat inside should slide right out. This part of the lobster is pretty tough but many people enjoy it. Next, use the back of your butter knife to crack the main part of the claw right on that empty joint. Use both hands to bend the claw in half and pull out that huge, delicious piece of meat. Don't forget the butter!

How to Eat a Lobster: The Tail

This is the "steak" of the lobster. Grab the tail in one hand and the lobster body in the other. Twist until the entire tail separates from the body. Then, grab the tailfin and twist that in the same way and it will come right off as well. Next, take your finger and insert it into the tail end and push the whole piece of meat out the other end. Use your butter knife to make an incision down the center of the tail and pull out any eggs or other parts that you don't want and enjoy your lobster tail! Just be sure to have some toothpicks handy as the tail meat has a tendency to get stuck in your teeth.

If you want to get really ambitious and eat very last bite of the lobster possible there is also meat in the following places:

*Underneath the shell of the main body

*In each of the tail flippers

*In the joints where the legs insert into the body

*Liver in the upper portion of the body, behind the head.

Essentially, all you really need to know about how to eat a lobster without any utensils is a little bit of lobster anatomy. The trick is to de-shell the lobster by leveraging the joints of each part. It's easy, fun, and it tastes awesome. So if you need some things to do in Maine, eating a whole boiled lobster with your bare hands should definitely be one of them.

Heading to Bar Harbor this summer? Check out the best Maine seafood right here on Verona Island.

Click here for seafood dinners and lunches without all the tourist hustle and bustle.

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