To kill the lobsters, cut deeply
The meat yield will depend on the time of year and the thickness of the shell, but generally, from a
While taking the lobster apart and getting the meat out of the shell, work over a bowl so that you save all those very flavorful juices. As you remove each part of the meat, put it on a large plate or platter so that all the pieces lie flat and separate from each other. Save all the shells for soup, sauces, and fish and shellfish stews; if not using them right away, seal them in heavy-duty plastic and freeze.
First, twist off the small legs, cutting off and discarding bits of feathery gill bits sticking to the knuckle ends. Keep the legs on the platter with the lobster meat.
Twist off the two claw arms and twist off the claws. Put the claws back in the water for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the lobster. With a pair of scissors or poultry shears, cut down the length of the (knuckle) arms, and pull out the meat.
Twist off the flaps at the end of the tail and reserve (big ones have wonderfully juicy lobster meat inside). Twist off the tail and cut through the soft shell on the underside of the tail with a knife or scissors, being careful to cut only the shell and not the tail meat. Hold the tail in both hands on the table and break it open. Lift out the meat. Make a
Remove the claws and gently crack them with a mallet. Move the small lower part of the claw around and slowly pull it away from the larger part of the claw. With luck, it will come away and leave the thin meat of the little claw intact. Now all you have to do is get the big shell off the meat, so very gently pull out, cut out, shake out, or lift out the claw meat in one piece, if possible. If the lobster is in a soft-shell stage, you can use scissors to cut away all the shells from the lobster meat.
Lift the main shell (the curved top with eyes and feelers) off the central body of the lobster; scoop out any of the white fat clinging to the shell and reserve it for sauces. Remove the mouth sac at the head of the shell and discard. Scoop out any dark green eggs (if the lobster is female) and the liver or tomalley (green in both males and females), and reserve for sauces. Keep the shell either for stock or for display. The white main body part has the feathery lungs, so remove those and discard. Rinse off what is left and save for lobster or shellfish broth.
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