Calm A Lobster Before Boiling By Standing It On Its Head

Calm A Lobster Before Boiling By Standing It On Its Head

Whole lobster makes for an amazing meal, but live lobsters can be hard to handle. This clever trick will help you keep from getting pinched. Photo by Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.

As unpleasant as it might sound, cooking a live lobster is actually the safest way to do it. They have harmful bacteria present in their flesh that can rapidly multiply, so working with live ones is the best way to avoid food poisoning. Even so, lobsters aren’t too keen on being manhandled. Working with them can be a little unwieldy, and you certainly don’t want those claws anywhere near you, so Kenzi Wilbur at Food52 has a tip for getting them to relax:

Flip the lobster gently on its head, tucking its claws gently underneath where its chin would be if it had one. Then tuck down its tail… After ten or so seconds — it will need your help being stabilised in this time — the lobster should calm down significantly, usually enough to headstand on its own.

Wilbur likens it to a lobster doing a child’s pose in yoga. The position gives the lobster a bit of a head rush and incapacitates it. Alternatively, if you need more prep time, you can also put the lobster on ice until you’re ready to cook.

You Learned This Lobster Cooking Trick in Yoga Class [Food52]


  • They have harmful bacteria present in their flesh that can rapidly multiply, so tossing live ones right into the pot is the best way to avoid food poisoning

    This is misleading. Whilst they do have potentially harmful bacteria in their bodies, they wont have a chance to multiply to harmful levels if you follow the humane methods:
    1) Cutting through the head, starting at the cross on the top (cervical groove) and moving downwards bisecting the head.
    2) Place the lobster in the freezer for two hours.

    After following either method placing the lobster in boiling water (helps if you have the water boiling before cutting/removing from the freezer. Choose a method based on speed/eventual presentation.

    The RSPCA provides a guide for the humane methods of killing crustaceans:

    tl;dr – Don’t be a monster, follow a humane kill method.

  • You really shouldn’t be telling people to boil animals while they are still alive. That is one of the most inhumane ways you could kill an animal. I’m really quite shocked you would post such a thing on here. The morals and ethics of the people who approved this story is in great judgement.

    If you are going to kill/slaughter an animal for food it must always be killed as fast as possible for minimal cruelty. If you are in doubt that you can kill an animal efficiently and quickly then you should not attempt to kill an animal. Boiling an animal is not a quick death and is strongly discouraged and condemned.

    If you think boiling an animal is morally okay, then please shove your hand into that boiling pot and reassess your ethics..

    • So, if I list a bunch of cultures and religions which are fine with boiling lobsters, you’ll step up to condemn those cultures and religions for this.


  • Boiling an animal alive to eat it is just sick. There are much, much more humane ways to kill them and still enjoy eating them.

  • Fuck you and anyone who thinks it’s okay to boil a living creature to death. Fuck. You.

    • So, a funny thing happened to me recently.
      I got censored by this site for using logic and reason to criticize an article.
      Perhaps the lesson here is that I should have told the author to fuck themselves?

  • I doubt it’s actually relaxed. More likely that the blood has all gone to its head and it’s dazed.

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