How to Crack a Hard Shell Lobster

Lobster is delicious food and it can make a great and enjoyable meal to share with your family on special occasions.

However, there is always the nuisance of having to crack into the lobster to get at the wonderful lobster meat inside of the hard shell.

There are both soft and hard shell lobsters, but all shellfish require some shell cracking to get to the delicious food that is hiding inside their tough shells.

If you love lobster but hate cracking shells, you might just be doing it wrong. While cracking lobster shells is never the easiest of tasks, there are ways to make cracking a hard shell lobster much easier.

You will find that you might be willing to have lobster far more often once you learn this simple process to crack hard shells open.

If you are ready to learn more about this process to crack a hard shell lobster, keep reading!

Tasty lobsters prepared with garlic on a plate

What is a Hard Shell Lobster?

Hard shell lobster refers to a lobster that has not yet shed its shell for the year. These lobsters will be harder to eat because their shell will be firmer than lobsters that have shed their shell already.

Hard shell lobsters are often the most delicious of the lobster that you can pick to eat as they have not yet been depleted by the process of molting and will taste better on average than a soft shell lobster.

Hard shell lobsters are known for their sweet and firm meat that has a better texture than that of soft shell lobster. They will often have a lot more meat to give as well, making them a better purchase for your money.

The trouble with these hard shell creatures is that you have to be able to break into their tough shells to get to the meat that is hiding inside.

How to Crack a Hard Shell Lobster

The first thing that everyone should know about lobster eating will always be easier if you do not get the biggest lobster on the market that day. Bigger lobsters will be very hard to crack open as well as offering up quite a lot of meat.

You might have a big enough family to eat all of that food, but if you do not, you should aim for a more moderate-sized lobster.

1. Twist off the Claws

This is the first step and you must always take care of this first. You can usually do this by hand, but you might want to use a towel or a paper towel as a barrier between your fingers and the spines and sharp bits on the lobster claws.

2. Break the Claws off the Knuckle

This is the jointed bit that connects to the body. you can just twist the claws off this bit of the lobster and then you can take the knuckle piece off altogether.

This will make it easier to get to the meat in the rest of the body.

3. Remove the Shell of the Small Claw First

You will need to take the dexterous part of the claw and break it off and crack into it first with a proper lobster cracker. You can then work on the bigger part of the claw with a heavy cutting tool like a butcher’s knife.

You can use the dull side of the knife to smash the hard part of the shell open and then extract the meat from the big part of the claw with a fork or even your fingers.

4. Remove the Meat from the Knuckles

You can break the knuckle open with the lobster crackers and then take the meat out with a lobster fork.

These small tools are the best for getting the meat out of the smaller spaces like this part of the lobster. There is actually a lot of meat in these parts of the lobster that you do not want to miss out on.

5. Break the Tail off the Body

The tail is always the most coveted part of the lobster, but to get to it, you need to break the tail off the body. You can do this with a towel between your fingers and the spines, just to be safe.

Once it’s off, you will just want to drain off the water that might still be inside and finish breaking open the shell. Remove the tail flippers for the easiest access.

6. Remove the Tail Meat

You can now press down on the shell of the tail and push the tail meat out. This will make it easy to access and you will not tear the meat trying to get it out of the shell.

This is the best part of the lobster and actually is the easiest part to access thankfully.

7. Break Open the tops of the Smaller Legs

The smaller legs can actually offer up a lot of yummy meat and all you have to do is take your lobster crackers and break the tops off these little legs.

Then you just suck out the meat that is inside! This is one of the easiest bits of the lobster to eat and is often quite flavorful.

Cracking a Hard Shell Lobster Doesn’t Have to be Tough

If you have been frustrated in the past by trying to open up a hard shell lobster to be eaten, knowing the right process to take care of this task can make a big difference.

Once you know the right order of operations to break into a hard shell lobster, you just need a lobster fork and your lobster crackers and you are ready to enjoy this treat!

You will find that hard shell lobster does not have to be a struggle to eat after all. Always make sure that you consider that there will be water hiding in parts of the shell after you are done cooking.

You should always be careful not to eat small bits of shell that you might have created when cracking the lobster. Following the right steps to crack a hard shell lobster can make eating it a snap!

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