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Sep 2, 2011 07:25 AM

Splitting a Live Lobster ... HELP!!!

NOOOOOOO!!!! I just can't do it!! I have no problem dropping them into the steamer pot, fighting and kicking, but the recipes I'm considering preparing from Jasper White's "Lobster at Home" all require splitting them live. I'm wondering if I can get them partially steamed at the market and then pick up the recipe from there, but I have no idea how to adjust the cooking time, or how the recipe might be affected. I'm looking specifically at some of the pan roasted lobster recipes. Can anyone offer any advice to this crustacean coward?

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  1. did u ask them at the market if they will split them for you?

    once u slice thru the miniscule brain they dont feel anything after that....if that helps..

    1. The first time is always the hardest. Grab a big knife and go for it.
      The agonizing you're giving this isn't worth the 30 seconds it takes to do the job.
      I think if you put it in the freezer for a couple minutes it will slow the bugger down, so maybe it'll be a bit less traumatic for you? - Haven't tried this, they would laugh at me at work too much, but I believe I've read this can help...
      It's not my favorite job, but when you want good lobster it is necessary. You can do it, sister!

      2 Replies
      1. re: rabaja

        That's just something I don't want to do. I once took a class (observation only, no hands-on participation) where the chef-instructor demonstrated this technique. It was disturbing to me to see the lobster parts twitching around after it had been split.

        1. re: CindyJ

          They are dead already, the flopping is just the nerves twitching...I know it hard, but after the first few you will get used to it. I worked in a fish market and the hardest thing for me was taking the tails off right after they were killed, the tail twitched and moved across the counter.

      2. I did this once for Jacques Pepin's recipe for lobster fricasee.....I felt like i was in a battle...It was very stressful. I said I wouldn't do it again...because of the involuntary moving even after you cut it up..ugh...

        That being said...I heard that if you stick it in the freezer I think for about 30 minutes...that'll do the trick. So I still might do it someday, but the first time definitely scarred me emotionally.

        1. Yes you can partially cook them them split and continue the recipe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: treb

            Thanks! Is there a way to ensure I don't overcook them?

          2. I think you can steam them a little to lull them to sleep - and not over cook them. Just steam they till they aren't moving. But I, too, would suggest putting the bugger in the freezer for maybe 10 min. I wouldn't want them to actually freeze. I used to work at a restaurant in RI and we had to skewer a live lobster - get a bug skewer, ram it up the butt and aim for the head. The first few times were difficult, but the faster you do it, the easier it is on you and them. Once their brain or nerve center is hit and they stop moving, it's all easy from there.