Eating lobster is an art form all its own, and sometimes it’s intimidating. Whether you’re eating in a restaurant, or at your dinner table, you should be prepared to use your hands. You might be cracking open the shell, or using tools. Either way, lobster is one of the last tactile foods left for us to enjoy with our hands.

If you’re eating in a restaurant you may be given the claw cracker, which splits the hard shell. A lobster fork helps you dig into crevices so you don’t leave any morsels behind. Be sure to wear the plastic bib. You’ll be glad you did because it protects you from buttery splash back. Here are some more step-by-step lobster eating instructions.

For those who want to enjoy lobster in its other forms, many restaurants offer it grilled, as chowder, fried, and even mixed in with macaroni and cheese. You may also want to check out some upscale offerings of lobster, perhaps butter poached or in a benedict.

Don’t miss tasting a lobster roll, as this is a delicious staple of the Maine lobster industry. Essentially a lobster roll is chunks (not shreds) of lobster served in a fresh baked, buttered and grilled roll.  There is a statewide debate about the best way to serve a lobster roll. Many folks feel that the lobster should be plain, while others want to add butter or mayonnaise sauce. However, everyone agrees that the roll must be fresh baked.

When in Maine, you might be able to purchase your lobster directly from the boat so you can enjoy it fresh from the sea. Because wharves are busy and not especially safe for landlubbers, you can often find lobster stands or shacks nearby that sell lobsters that have come right off the boat. You may even find picnic tables where you can sit and eat your lobster. Be aware that not all of these stands boil the lobster for you. You may be in charge of cooking it on your own.

Did you know that lobsters change with the seasons? Hard shell lobster is abundant during winter and spring, while soft shell season starts in June. Summer is the time of year when lobsters molt, offering the soft texture and sweet flavor that many locals prefer. 

A great way to eat lobster in the summer is to visit the annual Maine Lobster Festival.  You will also enjoy some great activities and family fun. This festival takes place every summer in Rockland, and this year’s event is scheduled for July 29 through Aug. 2.