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In honor of National Lobster Day on Thursday, June 15, the food and beverage experts at Cliff House Maine are sharing their guide to celebrating this very tasty day.

Lobster is the perfect seasonal addition to any summer BBQ so here is all you need to know to master this celebration. Below you will find some must-know lobster tips and tricks from executive chef and seafood sommelier Rick Shell (appropriately named), as well as beverage manager Caitlin Hula. 

What is the best way to pick out that perfect lobster? 

Look for a lively lobster! There are no tell signs of what make a lobster sweet or not. Chef Shell personally keeps all his lobsters to under a pound and a half; he finds the smaller lobsters are sweeter, and who doesn’t love a soft-shell lobster?

What’s for dinner? Quick tips on how to cook up the perfect lobster meal this summer.

For a boiled lobster make sure there is plenty of salt in the water. A whole roasted lobster is just incredible as well; wrap in seaweed and place on an open flame— just incredible flavor. He always says keep in mind what is the star. It is better to have a lobster dish or meal with accompaniments that support the lobster so as not to overwhelm or overpower the sweetness of it.

Unconventional beverage pairings for lobster and other shellfish:

For a fun food and beverage pairing, try farmhouse Saison beer, such as an Allagash Saison. This Saison has tropical fruit, citrus, and a peppery spice that pairs well with lobster. If one wanted to go with a wine, Caitlin Hula, beverage manager, would suggest a nice full bodied, fruit forward white wine such as a Viognier.

Lobster Breakdown: How to eat that lobster in (non-messy) style:

The thrill of eating lobster must be calculated so guests are not breaking up the meat and picking out shell. Refrain from going a little lobster crazy and breaking up the lobster. It is well worth the wait with these simple steps:

Enjoy the entire lobster by first twisting the tail off over a bowl to hopefully catch all of the tomalley; it is just a sweet rich goodness. For soft shell lobsters, gently squeeze the tail together. This will slit the back. After, flip it over and slide the tail out. Eat this first and let the claws stay intact; this will also keep them warmer while eating the lobster tail.

OK, let’s get to the claws—gently twist them away from the body. Take the smaller part of the claw and break away; this will also drain away any extra water from the tail so be ready for that. Use a knife to crack open lobster and not a cracker—it does a more efficient and clean job. Take the back of a knife and stand the claw lengthwise. Hit the back of it to split it in two and gently remove the tail meat; you will have to remove the cartilage gently. Simply wiggle back and forth and it will come out.

On to the knuckles. This is the hardest. For ease, use lobster crackers. Squeeze the knuckle and try to push the meat through the largest end opening. The knuckles are the sweetest so this is a great ending.