What Are Lobster Knuckles?

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The knuckle is the section of the lobster attached to the claw.
The knuckle is the section of the lobster attached to the claw. (Image: Alexandra Grablewski/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Many parts of a lobster are used for meat. Large portions of meat can be taken from the tails and claws of cooked lobsters. The term "lobster knuckles" refers to another part of the lobster that also contains meat. By using lobster knuckles, you can extract more meat from a whole lobster.

Lobster Knuckles

On a lobster, the knuckle is the portion that connects the large front claws to the rest of the leg. It is a small, sphere-like portion of the lobster's shell. Although it appears small and does not contain nearly as much meat as the claws, there is still a small amount of meat contained within the knuckle. If you do not plan on wasting any part of the crustacean's mean, be sure to crack open the knuckle.

Cooking Knuckles

Lobsters are typically cooked whole. They are also usually cooked alive because lobsters decay very rapidly and can pose health risks if they are not cooked immediately after death. If a lobster is dispatched before being cooked, it must be done quickly and just before it is placed into a pot of boiling water. Lobsters can also be baked, steamed or grilled. By cooking the lobster whole, all parts are cooked. This includes the knuckles.

Cracking Knuckle Meat

Lobster knuckles are cracked in a similar manner to the rest of the lobster. You can use special shell cracking tools or even the back side of a large kitchen knife. Hammer lightly on the knuckle with the back of the knife until the shell cracks around the meat. Be careful not to crush the meat along with the shell. Use your fingers to pull apart the cracked shell portions to uncover the meat within.

Using Knuckle Meat

The meat from a lobster knuckle can be eaten and utilized the same as any other section of the lobster. Knuckles can be mixed with the other meat from a cooked lobster or used in a variety of other ways. Whole knuckles can be added to salad, pasta, tacos, burritos, sandwiches or any other culinary concoction. They can be fried or sauteed after being shelled and added to dishes for a touch of seafood flavor. Knuckles can also be simply pulled straight from the shell, dipped into some melted butter or cocktail sauce and eaten straight away.

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