Handling bugs rock lobster and freshwater crayfish

Bugs and rocklobsters

The body flesh of bugs and rocklobsters can be accessed by splitting the animal in half or by cutting outer parts of the animal away to reveal the flesh.

Splitting in half (cooked or uncooked)

This is best done by your fishmonger, but at home you can use a heavy-bladed knife and follow these steps:

Bugs and Lobsters split in half1. Place the dead animal on its stomach. If it is cooked, the tail can be left curled up. Insert the point of a strong knife through the centre of the body.   
Bugs and lobsters split in half 2 2. Cut all the way through the body towards the tail with a levering action.  
 3. Turn the animal around. Reinsert the knife in the centre of the body and cut the head neatly in half between the eyes.bugs and lobsters split in half 3  
4. Gently pull apart and wash under cold running water to remove guts and intestinal tract. The roe and "mustard" can be used in a sauce or served with the dish.  


Note: These crustaceans can also be split through the stomach. If you are following this technique, use your free hand to hold the tail firmly to the body. This method may be more suitable when the shell is particularly hard, like that of a bug.


Extracting the flesh

It is easier to extract flesh after cooking whole bugs and rocklobsters.

1. Remove head

2. Cut around the inside edges of the tail with food scissors.

extracting the flesh

3. Gently lever off the undershell from the head end to the tail end.

4. Remove the meat.

Bug meat can be prepared in many ways for cooking. Clockwise from right: whole; whole with tail inverted and opened; tail meat pulled through top of shell; flesh; and split in half.

extracting the flesh 2

Freshwater crayfish

Freshwater crayfish are often served whole.


If you need only the tails, simply break the tail away from the body. The tail meat can be removed by slitting the under membrane and folding the shell apart to reveal the flesh. This can be done if the crayfish is cooked or uncooked. The claws can be used for decoration.


You can split freshwater crayfish in half lengthwise if you:

Place a long chopping knife or cleaver along the length of the crayfish.

Apply pressure to the top, thicker edge of the blade. Keep applying pressure until the blade cuts the crayfish in half.