Cooking Moreton Bay
Bugs - Slipper Lobsters:
Average yield is 30%, the edible flesh is
only in the tail and larger Bugs have a lower yield due to their
head size. Have a medium, sweet, rich flavour (milder than
Balmain Bug but stronger than
Rock lobster), low oiliness and
dry, firm flesh. To remove meat from shells, either split Bug
lengthwise, or, to keep meat in one piece, remove head, turn
tail over and cut down either side of the tail using kitchen
scissors, peel underside of tail back and remove meat. Do not
recook cooked Bugs, eat cold in salads or with a dipping sauce.
The most humane, and easiest, method of killing any crustacean
is to chill it in the freezer for about 45 minutes until it
becomes insensible (but not long enough to freeze it). Once
chilled, it should be killed promptly by splitting in half or
dropping into rapidly boiling water.
are usually sold whole, sometimes live but often already cooked.
If possible buy live from a tank, in which case they should be
lively with a hard shell (indicating that they haven’t recently
moulted) and all legs and antennae should be intact. Unlike
Crabs and Rock lobsters, Bugs don’t survive well out of water;
if buying chilled green (raw dead) Bugs, ask when they were
alive, they should only be stored chilled for about 48 hours
before being cooked. In cooked Bugs, look for brightly coloured,
firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discolouration,
particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. They
should feel heavy for their size and their tails should be
Live Bugs won’t survive long out of water and deteriorate
quickly once dead. Live Bugs can be stored in a container,
covered with a damp cloth, in the warmest part of the
refrigerator (usually the crisper), for a few hours. If keeping
any longer, chill them in the freezer to kill them quickly (see
Killing below); wrap green or cooked Bugs or Bug meat in plastic
wrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to
2 days (from when they were alive) or freeze for up to 3 months
The easiest and most humane way to kill any crustacean is to
chill it in the freezer for 30-45 minutes until it becomes
insensible (but not long enough to freeze it). This should be
long enough to kill Bugs, which can then be refrigerated as
above (see www.rspca.org.au) for details on killing other live
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, grill, or barbecue
Bugs. Moreton Bay Bugs have a sweet rich flavour, stronger than
Rocklobsters but milder than Balmain Bugs, which have a more
‘fishy’ flavour. Undercook, rather than overcook, Bugs, as they
will continue cooking in the residual heat; if overcooked the
meat will be tough and leathery. Use the shell to flavour
stocks, soups and sauces.
Lobster, Bugs & Slipper Lobster Recipes
from How To Cook Fish &
Other Recipes suitable for Moreton Bay Bugs or Slipper
Grilled Lobster - Our favorite way to prepare lobster,
simply grilled and basted with butter.
White Lobster - Canned or fresh boiled lobster in a
mustard white sauce, served in scallop shells.
Broiled Lobster Tails - Lobster with bread crumbs,
Parmesan cheese, minced parsley, and paprika topping
Video's Showing Cooking Crayfish or Lobster Recipes
Lobster in Ginger Sauce, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, Lobster
Risotto with Vanilla Bean Oil, Lobster Salad with Saffron
For every 100 grams raw product
for Bug meat.
36% of total
23% of total
41% of total
Bugs to Serve:
Step 1: Place bug, hard shell down, on a chopping
board. Insert the tip of the knife under the joint between the
head and body. Pull off head.
Step 2: Cut down the centre from the tail to
the top. Gently split shell open to flatten bug.
Step 3: Remove intestinal tract (devein). The
bug meat can be served in or out of the shell.
To boil an uncooked Bug,
chill it well if it’s alive (see Killing Bugs above), then place
into a large pot of rapidly boiling water that has been well
salted (½ cup table salt to 2.5 litres water), for 6-8 minutes
depending on size, timed from when the water returns to the
boil. Refresh in iced water.
To serve in shell: place
the chilled or cooked Bug on its back and, using a sharp knife
or Chinese cleaver, split the length of the shell from head to
tail. As Bugs have thick shells, which can be difficult to cut
in half, you can always ask your fishmonger to halve them for
you. Remove the digestive tract (grey thread) running down the
middle of the tail meat and use a teaspoon to clean out the head
cavity; some people retain the yellowy-orange tomalley or
‘mustard’ (liver), to enrich sauce or mayonnaise.
To serve meat only: either
split Bug lengthwise (as above) and lift out the 2 pieces of
meat, or, to keep the meat in one piece, turn tail over and cut
down either side of the underside of the tail shell using
kitchen scissors, peel shell back and remove meat.
Do not recook cooked Bugs, serve cold in salads or with
mayonnaise (flavoured with garlic or herbs) or other dipping
sauce; they’re excellent split in half as part of a cold seafood
platter, and the meat can be used as a garnish for soups, tossed
through hot pasta or in other dishes where it’s only lightly
reheated, such as omelettes. To barbecue, cut in half lengthwise
and cook in the shell with garlic or herb butter drizzled over
the cut surface. The firm raw flesh holds together well in
soups, curries and casseroles and threaded on skewers for
kebabs. Bugs can be used in almost any recipe calling for
Moreton Bay Bug (Thenus orientalis)
Photographs and Information
Moreton Bay Bugs | Slipper Lobster Recipes
Commercial Fishery Moreton Bay Bug (Thenus orientalis) Slipper
Lobster Buyers Sellers