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Step by step instructions on how to cook a live lobster, as well as how to break it down and eat it! This is a delicacy!

live lobster cooked.

If you have never cooked live lobster, you are in for a treat. It seems daunting, we know. We were a bit skittish the first time we tackled this too! But everyone should experience home cooked lobster once in their life! You’ll feel extra fancy. 

Never killed your own dinner before? Not everyone is comfortable with this part, and that’s OK. To reassure you, lobsters do not possess a real brain and are not self aware like we are, therefore, they do not feel pain the same way humans do. If it helps, think of them like a large sea bug. 

  • Why cook a lobster live?

    There is a type of Vibrio bacteria that thrives on the decaying flesh of lobsters. By keeping lobsters alive up until the time to cook and serve, you are minimizing the risk of food poisoning due to that bacteria. American chefs have been boiling lobsters alive since 1880, when they discovered that it actually tastes better to boil alive.

  • Tomalley and Roe:

    When you break the tail away from the lobster’s body, you will find a green liquid called tomalley. This is the lobster’s liver, and is generally considered a delicacy to eat. Contaminants are known to settle in the liver, so it is not advised to eat regularly or in large amounts.

    At the base of the body and along the tail you will find the roe. The roe are lobster eggs, and they are how you know you are eating a female lobster. Roe is safe to eat and, like tomalley, is considered a delicacy.

  • How to Break Down a Lobster:

    Twist off the claws and crack them open. This can be tough, and you’ll definitely want a lobster cracker! Use a lobster pick to remove the claw meat.

    Roll your lobster onto its back and unfurl the tail. Twist to break the tail away from the body. Don’t be shy about it, you want to give it a good, firm single twist.

    Break off the tail flippers, and remove the tiny bits of meat inside. This part should be quick and easy.

    Using a fork, push out the tail meat. If this proves difficult, you can use a knife to cut the tail shell open. Remove the dark vein that runs along the entire piece of tail meat.

    Lastly, twist off all 8 legs from the body and bite down and suck out the remaining small bits of meat.

    Congratulations! You have successfully cooked and eaten a lobster. That is no small feat!

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious seafood recipes:

Three cooked lobsters on a serving plater with leafy greens and lemon in the background.
  • 2 pounds live lobster
  • Purchase a live lobster. They’ll put them in a bag. You’ll hear them moving around during the drive home. Don’t freak out.
  • Boil water in a large pot (must have a lid). Add in a bit of flavoring if desired. I put in the juice of a lemon, the lemon rind, and a bay leaf.
  • Get that sucker out the bag. This is perhaps the hardest part. Get a good grip on the body and be prepared for it to move its tail. My first try I jumped away screaming like a little girl.
  • Look the little creature in the eye and let it know it is about to die. I feel like it is only fair to give it some warning.
  • Clip the bands off the claws. I thought it might try to pinch me when I removed the rubber bands. Those claws didn’t even move.
  • Plunge the lobster head first into the water like a heartless human being. Feel free to squeal a little because you totally just killed your own dinner.
  • Cover with the lid and allow to cook. Make sure no antenna or legs are sticking out. A 1.5 lb lobster should take about 15 minutes.
  • Drain.
  • Go to town on that lobster and devour the delicious meat hidden within the shell.
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