Here’s how it works: Live lobsters are dumped into a cylindrical-shaped metal basket. The basket is lowered into a water-filled chamber where pumps crank up the pressure to around 40,000 pounds per square inch, more than twice the pressure of the deepest parts of the ocean. The lobsters die almost instantly, while the pressure causes the meat to detach from the shell. Before the lobsters come out of the machine, the pressure is increased to 87,000 pounds per square inch to kill off any bacteria or other pathogens.
High pressure processing is used similarly in other industries to increase the shelf life of food. Although several Canadian processors use the high-pressure method to shuck lobsters, Shucks is the only place in the United States to use the multimillion dollar machine and sell frozen packaged lobster in its raw form.
The system has revolutionised how lobster meat is sold to consumers around the country, since previously the only way to get lobster out of its shell was by cooking it.
After going through the “Big Mother Shucker,” the lobster can be removed from the shell in one solid piece, known as a “Naked Lobster”:
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