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How to Eat a Lobster Like a Local

You've come to Maine, polled all the locals on their favorite spot for fresh lobster, and now it's time to dig in. Staring at the crustacean arranged on your plate, you may ask yourself, "Where do I even start?" or possibly "What have I gotten myself into?" Don’t worry, once you dig into that oh-so-delectable lobster, all your questions will melt away.

Why eat something that requires a plastic bib?

A lobster bib is your friend. It’ll protect you from sauce splashes and stray lobster bits. Lobsters are slippery, especially when dipped in butter. And you’ll be using your hands. If you're eating a soft-shell lobster, just use your hands to crack open the lobster and dig the meat out. But if your lunch comes in a hard shell, it’s time to break out the specialized tools.

The tools of the trade

True card-carrying Maine lobster pros travel with their own cracker, mallet and gloves for handling so they're always prepared. As a visitor, this won’t be expected of you. At most eateries, along with your bib, you’ll find a claw cracker and the lobster fork by your plate. Think of the claw cracker like a nutcracker. It's meant to split the tough shell open, so you can access the delicious meat inside. The lobster fork is your excavation tool, used to dig inside crevices and hard-to-reach areas so you can devour every last briny morsel.

Getting up close and personal with your meal is a vital element of the Maine experience. Peek into any restaurant or stroll by any shack and you'll see that grabbing a lobster, cracking it open and savoring the rich flavors is a required Maine activity.

To read more about how that lobster got on your plate, and try a few authentic recipes out yourself, visit

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