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Old 05-03-2006, 01:51 PM   #1
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Question Lobster meat question

Hey guys... I have a quick question. (I did a search and couldnt find the answer)

Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone knows how many grams of actual meat would come out of your average 1 lb live lobster. I know that there will be slight variations, but I'm just looking for an approximation.

Also, does anyone know a formula to calculate the approximate meat yields depending on the weight of a lobster? I'm just wondering if there is some kind of shell/unedible - edible portions ratio...? (eg: 3/4 unedible, 1/4 edible)

Thanks!

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Old 05-03-2006, 01:56 PM   #2
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I don't know the answer to your question, but depending on if it is a new shell or old shell the amount of meat will greatly vary.
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Old 05-03-2006, 01:57 PM   #3
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a 1 pound (500 g) lobster will contain 3-4 oz. (100-125 g) of meat
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Old 05-03-2006, 03:20 PM   #4
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Like Chef Jimmy said, a one pound lobster doesn't have very much meat in it. However, smaller lobsters tend to be sweeter than the larger ones like Maine Lobster.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:24 PM   #5
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Thanks guys... So it's about roughly 1/5th of the weight of the lobster then. (if 100g of meat comes from a 500g lobster) I knew it wasn't very much, but it is oh so worth it!

Now here's another question for anyone reading this: Which do you eat first, the tail or the claws? I always save the tail until the end - start at the front end of the lobster and work my way back. yum yum.
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Old 05-03-2006, 09:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
Like Chef Jimmy said, a one pound lobster doesn't have very much meat in it. However, smaller lobsters tend to be sweeter than the larger ones like Maine Lobster.
Yep, 1 lb lobsters (softshell/chicken lobsters in some areas) are sweeter, though the claws are really small and I prefer the claws to the tail. Hard shell lobsters yield more meat because they are more mature. Either way, the size doesnt really matter, it's the cooking technique. Some prefer to steam, boil, broil, or bake. But basically, if you buy a 1 lb lobster, you wont yield much meat. Go with at least 1 1/4 lb-1 1/2 pound lobster.
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:55 PM   #7
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Never enough! I guess you got your question answered though. I went to the Red Lobster once and picked out the biggest lobster in the tank, thinking he'd be really meaty. Sadly, there was hardly any. Here's a tip if you're making your own: tap on the shell. If it makes noise, I think thats supposed to mean it has less meat in it because it molted its shell recently. Pick one that's silent for a really full lobster. I heared that somewhere, but I forgot wear.

And if you havn't read this...
http://www.coastallobster.com/About_lobsters.htm#meat

Says, "It is difficult to say exactly how many live lobsters it takes to make a pound of meat, mainly because lobsters contain more meat at different times of the year. In the middle of the winter when lobsters are most full of meat, it takes about 41/2 pounds of live lobsters to get a pound of meat. However, in the late summer, when lobsters have shed, it takes about nine 1-pound live lobsters to get a pound of meat."
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:59 PM   #8
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I'll eat it any way I can get it, lol. Usually go for the tail first, as it has more meat. Re the yield, don't some have claws - some don't, i.e. East coast vs West?

Just my opinion, but size does matter. Had close to a 2 lb that was tough as nails. Wrote a letter to the restaurant, as it was a special occasion, but no response. Never went back there again.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:36 PM   #9
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If it's a lobster with claws, then I eat the claws first, the tail second, and the tomalley (if any) last. But I tend to gravitate towards spiny or slipper lobsters which have only tail meat, and are generally sweeter and more tender.
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Brain
Never enough! I guess you got your question answered though. I went to the Red Lobster once and picked out the biggest lobster in the tank, thinking he'd be really meaty. Sadly, there was hardly any. Here's a tip if you're making your own: tap on the shell. If it makes noise, I think thats supposed to mean it has less meat in it because it molted its shell recently. Pick one that's silent for a really full lobster. I heared that somewhere, but I forgot wear.
It also could mean that the poor lobster sat in the tank for days/weeks without being fed, and was starving. Another tip - when you're buying lobster, only buy from a source you know; or ask the fishmonger how long the lobsters have been in the store tank.
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Brain
Never enough! I guess you got your question answered though. I went to the Red Lobster once and picked out the biggest lobster in the tank, thinking he'd be really meaty. Sadly, there was hardly any. Here's a tip if you're making your own: tap on the shell. If it makes noise, I think thats supposed to mean it has less meat in it because it molted its shell recently. Pick one that's silent for a really full lobster. I heared that somewhere, but I forgot wear.
Another tip - lobsters that have been in a tank for over a week are starving, and start losing their mass. Only buy from a fishmonger you know has fresh lobster in his tank.
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:59 AM   #12
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I go for the claws first then I go for the tail. After that I get the little teensy bits of meat out of the swimmer legs. Then I crack open the body and dig the meat out of all the joints. It is amazing how much meat is in there, but most people either don't know about it or don't want to spend the effort to get it. I am a lobster lover so no amount of effort is too much for me
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:35 AM   #13
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like ironchef said, lobsters with no claws such as spiny have a large amount of tail meat with a great flavor, on reguler maine lobsters, i think the claw meat is sweeter and more tender
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:39 AM   #14
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I have had a million Maine lobsters, but only had a non Maine lobster once. It was in the Dominican Republic. The tails were grilled. The meat was completely different from the Maine lobsters I was used to. They were delicious. The taste and texture was similar to scallops IMO. I much prefer the Maine lobster variety though.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:43 AM   #15
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I wonder...

A lobster that is ready to molt has a very thick shell and its flesh it tight against the shell all over. A lobster that has recently molted had a very thin shell that's somewhat bigger so the flesh isn't pressed against it.

So I think the molted lobster will contain more meat because you're not paying for the weight of the thicker shell.

Does that make sense?
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:47 AM   #16
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I am not sure Andy. I think you are paying for the weight of the water in the shell too and since a molted lobster has more space between the shell and the meat there is more space for water.

I could be wrong though.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:59 AM   #17
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Do you think a live lobster has water in its shell?
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:02 AM   #18
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According to Alton Brown (who of course is by no means the end all be all expert) it does. When he did his show on lobsters he mentioned what I wrote above specifically. I am willing to say that he could very possibly be wrong though.

What I do know is I like the taste of the hard shell lobsters better. That I can say for sure
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:06 AM   #19
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OK I am not so sure where I got my info anymore. I could have sworn I heard AB say that on his show, but I just looked (quickly) at the transcript and do not see mention of it. Maybe I was drinking that night
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:19 AM   #20
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Ugh - personal preference rears its ugly head again - lol!!! I MUCH prefer a whole Maine lobster to just the tails - especially the "slipper" tails. And I particularly love the females with their delicious roe.

It's also absolutely true that it's nearly impossible to give an answer as to how much meat one can expect for whole lobsters. For one thing, the longer they remain in store tanks, where they're not feeding, the more meat mass they lose. And since they also shed their shells, just like crabs, lobsters that are about to or have just shed their shells will also tend to be more lightweight because they don't feed during this period.

To be honest, I never bother with frou-frou lobster recipes where I need to extract the meat. I prefer mine plain boiled & either served hot with lemon butter, or cold with tarragon mayonnaise.
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