Tips & Techniques Cooking Halving and Cleaning Lobster
Halving and Cleaning Lobster

Follow these steps to prepare an uncooked lobster for grilling, roasting or broiling.

1.  If you have purchased a live lobster, plunge it into boiling water for about 30 seconds and then rinse it under cold water to halt the cooking. (If it is already cooked, omit this step.) Alternatively, set the lobster on a firm surface and securely hold the lobsters tail with a folded cloth to prevent slipping. Insert the tip of a large chefs knife straight down through the back of the lobster to the board, piercing the cross mark in the area between the first and second pairs of thin legs.

2.  Cut the lobsters head in half lengthwise. If desired, hold an uncooked lobster over a bowl to catch the juices.

3.  Turn the lobster around, hold its head and cut the rest of the lobster sharply in half.

4.  Lift away and discard the sand sac near the head. Using the tip of the knife, carefully remove the gray intestinal vein that runs along the lobsters back.

5.  With a small spoon, scoop out the liver, known as the tomalley, which will be black if uncooked and green if cooked, and any coral, or eggs, which will be black if uncooked and bright red if cooked. Reserve both for sauce as needed.

6.  For a neater look, cut away the legs and claws. Crack claws in a few places with a lobster cracker or mallet so diners can easily reach the meat inside.

7.  Before serving cooked lobsters, remove the pale, feathery gills along the sides of the lobsters body. If desired, loosen the cooked tail meat from its shell for easier eating. Provide diners with lobster pickssmall two-pronged forks designed specifically for the purpose.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion: The A to Z Guide to Everyday Cooking, Equipment and Ingredients (Time-Life Books, 2000)