Try this simple technique for breaking down cooked lobster in 4 easy steps.
shelled lobster on a table with fresh salad ingredients

Whether you order lobsters already cooked from your fish market or cook them yourself, a lobster party is fun way to entertain at home. If you or your guests have never enjoyed a whole lobster before, figuring out how to get the meat from the shell can be a little tricky. This step-by-step guide will show you how. Before you start, cover your table with brown paper bags or newspaper to help contain the mess, set out lobster crackers (or kitchen shears), lemon-butter for dipping, corn on the cob and plenty of napkins.

You can also use this technique to prep lobster meat for recipes, such as Lobster Chowder, Lobster Rolls and Lobster Salad.

Step 1: Remove the Claws

how to shell a lobster step 1: remove the claws

Grasp a claw near the body. With a firm twist, remove from the body.

Step 2: Remove Claw Meat

how to shell a lobster step 2: remove the claw meat

Crack through the claw shell using a pair of kitchen shears or a lobster cracker.

how to shell a lobster step 2: remove the claw meat

Remove the meat with a small fork.

Step 3: Remove the Tail

how to shell a lobster step 3: remove the tail

Hold the body in one hand and firmly grasp the tail in the other; twist and gently pull the tail from the body. (Discard the body.) The greenish "goop" on the tail meat is called tomalley. It's edible, but functions as a filter and accumulates contaminates from the ocean so it's best to skip eating it. The bright red roe is the unfertilized eggs of female lobsters. It's edible.

Step 4: Remove the Tail Meat

how to shell a lobster step 4: remove the tail meat

Cut through the underside of the tail shell with kitchen shears or use lobster crackers to crack the shell. Remove the meat with a fork.