The ultimate guide on how to prepare and cook delicious lobsters
Once the preserve of high-end seafood restaurants, freshly caught lobster is now a treat you can enjoy anywhere and at any time. Lobster specialists such as LobsterAnywhere.com ship live lobsters overnight anywhere in the US, while frozen lobster tails are convenient to keep in the freezer, wherever you live. They’re easy to prepare, and you don’t have to take the initial step of killing your lobsters!
How to buy and store fresh lobsters
The dark shells of fresh lobsters might be any shade from deep blue green to brownish-black. Choose one that smells fresh, doesn’t have any cracks in its shell, and isn’t missing any legs or pincers. When selecting live lobsters, pick one that appears animated: check by pulling at the tail. If it’s fresh, it should immediately tuck its tail away. Never pick up live lobsters unless the pincers are tied together with an elastic band: they can inflict a severe nip.
Live lobsters should be cooked and eaten as soon as possible, but they can be stored out of the water for up to 36 hours before cooking. Put them in paper bags and place them in a refrigerator (not a freezer, as this would kill them).
How to prepare lobsters for cooking
When dealing with live lobsters, the most humane way to prepare them for cooking is to chill them in the refrigerator for an hour, then place on a non-slip chopping board and cover it with a dishtowel.
Take a large, sharp knife and with one rapid movement, plunge it into the back of the head. Aim for the weakest spot, where there is a small cross in the shell.
How to boil lobsters
It’s important not to overcook lobsters as this may toughen their sweet, succulent flesh. It would be best if you cook lobsters in a pan that is large enough for them to be submerged. Place the shellfish in the pan and fill with cold, generously salted water; it should be almost like seawater. Slowly bring to the boil. When it’s boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes for the first 450 grams weight. For larger lobsters, add another 10 minutes for each additional 450 grams, up to a maximum of 40 minutes. Lobsters are cooked when their shell turns bright scarlet red. It’s a myth that lobsters scream when being boiled: the noise that you sometimes hear is the sound of air escaping from the shell.
How to grill or BBQ lobsters
Grilling or BBQ-ing lobsters is a great way to prepare them if you have more than one to cook, or if you don’t have a large enough pan. And of course, when you BBQ lobsters, you’re infusing them with that delectable smoky flavor. Prepare the lobsters for cooking as above. Place them on a chopping board and open them up by cutting them in two along their lengths.
Remove the stomach sac and crack the claws to let the heat penetrate the flesh inside. You can remove the brown meat before grilling if you prefer—season grilled lobsters with lemon juice, butter, and herbs.
Preheat the grill to medium heat and place the lobster’s shell side down. Halved lobsters take about 6-8 minutes to cook in the shell.
Another delicious option is to remove the tail meat and thread it on to skewers. Brush with lemon, salt, and butter. Grill or BBQ for about 5 minutes, until the thickest piece of meat, has turned opaque.
How to steam lobsters
Steaming is one of the best ways of cooking lobster tails – and it’s also one of the easiest methods. Take a large steamer pan and add about 1″ of salted water. Place a steamer rack inside and bring the water to the boil. Place the tails on the rack, cover the pan with a lid and steam for around 8 minutes. Serve with butter, salt, and lemon wedges.
How to remove the meat from lobsters
- Place the lobster on a chopping board and remove the claws by twisting them. Use a nutcracker to split them into sections and remove the meat. If you’re careful, you can remove the tail meat in a single piece.
- Flatten the legs using the back of a knife then pick out the meat with a teaspoon handle or special pick.
- Deal with the body by cutting it in half lengthwise and separating the halves. Remove the gills, intestinal thread, and stomach sac. Some people keep the liver or tomalley, as it’s considered a delicacy.
- Set aside any bright pink roe as you can make flavorful seafood butter with it. Save the shells to make stock as a base for bouillabaisse or bisque.