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A Few Tips on How to Eat a Whole Maine Lobster

Are you ready to enjoy your Maine Lobster? Here’s a few tips on how to eat a whole Maine Lobster and have you looking like a seafood aficionado in no time.

How to eat a whole Maine Lobster

Eating a Maine lobster is easy once you know what to do

First gather up a nutcracker (or pliers), a small fork and nut pick. After molting, a lobster will have a soft shell and be pliable.  If you have a hard shell lobster, a pair of lobster scissors will make short work of cracking the claws and getting the meat out.

Before serving it is best to let a boiled or steamed lobster drain for a minute. It’s a good idea to pierce the tail at the chest of the body with a chef’s knife to allow water to drain faster. Serve the lobster hot.

Twist the lobster claw off

Twist the claw

A bib is recommended when cracking as you can never tell when some water is likely to spray out right onto your shirt. Make sure you have plenty of towels, too.  Melt the butter and slice up some lemon. Put the bib on and you are ready.

Cooked Maine lobster on cutting board

Cooked Maine Lobster

Hold the Body and Twist the  Lobster Tail

lobster scissors

Lobster Scissors

  1. Hold the body of the lobster with one hand and twist the claw off with the other.  The claw will break off where it connects to the body.
  2. Crack each claw along its length with the nut cracker or cut with the lobster shell open with the lobster scissors. Remove the meat from the claws by pushing the meat out from the end of the claw with the small fork or pick.
  3. Grab the lobster body again and twist the tail from the body.  Pull the flippers from the tail. Crack the tail along its length and push the meat out from one end with the fork. Remove the tail meat in one piece and discard the vein that runs along the length.  Next pick the meat from the flippers.
  4. Twist the small legs from the body and remove the meat from the legs with the pick. You can also choose to squeeze the meat from the legs with your teeth.

    Lobster bib and cracker kit

    Lobster Bib Kit

  5. Next separate the shell from the body by pulling the shell apart on the underside. The shell will disconnect from the body exposing the tenderest meat of the lobster. Remove and discard the green substance called the tomalley. Remove the meat from the body and leg joints with a pick.
  6. The rest of the lobster should be discarded.

 

 

Note: If found, the roe (red female eggs) are often considered a delicacy and used to make lobster butter or is used in the stuffing for baked stuffed lobster.

© Wayne Howe 2021

 

 

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Maine Lobster Picnic Made Easy with Portable Propane Steamer

Planning a big outdoor, family picnic with lots of Maine lobster?  Make outdoor preparation easy and fast with a portable, propane lobster cooker.  Working just like a gas grill, the big lobster pot sits outside on a portable burner with stand. The cooker keeps the heat, water and mess outside and away from the kitchen.  And most important, it keeps the lobster close to the picnic tables and guests.

A portable cooker easily allows the chef to deftly pop the lobsters in an out and keep them coming for all the hungry guests. Ranging in size from 30 to 50 gallons, the bigger pots can cook up to ten or more medium sized Maine lobsters at a time.

Two pound steamed Maine lobsters on a plate

Two Pound Steamed Maine Lobsters

There are many brands to choose from, but the quality lobster-pot set ups come with a stand, propane burner, aluminum pot with ridges and an internal steamer basket.  This gives the cook the option of steaming the lobsters or boiling them.  The internal basket is a must if you want to prepare hefty amounts of steamer clams, mussels, crabs or crawfish.  The cook can also use the basket to make a clambake by adding, lobster, shellfish, potatoes, onions, corn and more.

Cooking Maine Lobster with Portable Gas Burner

A good quality unit with plenty of BTUs will get the water boiling fast and keep it boiling (Don’t skimp on the BTUs unless you have a lot of patience). Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Set the unit up away from foot traffic to avoid accidents but close to a water source so you can easily add water as needed.
  • Make sure to buy fresh Maine lobster and keep them cool right up until you are ready to cook them.  A cooler holding just the lobster with plenty of frozen gel packs and wet newspaper is the best solution.  Do not use ice or put them in fresh water.  The lobsters will perish immediately in fresh water.
  • Fill the pot about 2/3 of the way and add two tablespoons of sea salt per gallon.

    lobster pot and portable gas burner

    Lobster pot with steamer basket and portable gas burner makes outdoor cooking easy.

  • Set the burner to high and bring the water to a roiling boil. Place the live lobster head first into the pot one at a time. You may leave the bands on the claws.
  • Leave enough room in the pot so you can stir the lobsters from top to bottom so they cook evenly.
  • After the lobster are in the pot, allow the water to return to a roiling boil, cover the pot and start timing.  A 1-½ pound lobster will be done in 14 minutes.  Do not overcook.  When done the lobster will be bright red and will usually float to the top of the pot.
  • To steam the lobster instead of boiling, add enough water to cover the bottom of the basket. Add salt. Bring water to a boil, add the lobster headfirst and cover.  Stir the lobster a couple of times so they cook evenly. A 1-½ pound lobster will steam in 14 minutes.
  • As the lobster are cooked and removed you can add more to the pot to make it easy to keep them coming. Add water as needed.
  • Allow the lobsters to drain a minute before serving.

A word of caution, these portable units are built to hold the weight of all that hot water and the lobsters.  Don’t go off and try to put a lobster pot on one of those small portable propane burners or stoves you might use to make an omelet on.  The water weight alone will crush it.

 

© Wayne Howe 2021

 

 

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Downeast Cooking Tips that “Tug” on the Christmas Lobster

cooked maine lobster on a plateNo matter how you prepare them, Maine lobsters are a gourmet treat any time of year.  But at Christmas, lobster is often celebrated as the Christmas Eve dinner main course.

For some hungry family members,  the bigger the Christmas lobster is, the better. A few  jumbo lobster recipe cooking tips may help.

In just a few days Christmas Eve chefs all across the country will boil, steam, bake or grill Maine lobster.  But cooking those jumbo lobster to satisfy family members can be tricky.  Care must be taken not to overcook, or the meat will toughen. Under-cook a jumbo lobster and the lobster will not have its succulent flavor.

Downeast Maine Cooking Tips for Christmas Lobster

Given this challenge, even experienced cooks may be surprised to learn that that the lobster antennae can play a role in helping chefs determine when a whole lobster is cooked and ready to take out of the steam pot.

A tug on steamed lobster antennae can help tell chefs the lobster is ready

Steve, a former Downeast Maine lobster fisherman who now lives in North Port, Florida, recently shared with Lobsters-Online an experience he had with jumbo lobster. He says timing how long a big lobster cooks is not always accurate as those on the bottom may cook faster than those on the top.  To double check if  a lobster is done, Steve firmly stands by the practice of giving a pull on the lobster antenna.  If the antennae pops off easily, the lobster is done. If it stays on, the lobster needs to cook a little longer.”

“I was a lobster fisherman back in the 70s,” Steve said.  “I have cooked thousands of lobsters of all sizes.  Giving a slight tug on the antenna has worked for over 50 years for me.”

Lobster boat approached dock full of summer lobster

Maine Lobster Boat Approaches Dock

Steve said once for his birthday  at a restaurant he ordered a giant 13-pound lobster for himself and a 10-pound lobster for his sister.

“When the waitress brought them to my table I gave the antenna  a slight tug and the whole lobster came with it,” Steve said.  “I told the waitress that they where not cooked and asked her to take them back and have them cook them some more . The cook then came out to my table with the manager and he told me that if they cook it anymore that it will be tough.”

Pull the Lobster Antenna to See if Lobster is Done

Steve said he then broke the 10-pound lobster open  and showed everyone that the meat was not fully cooked.  The manager apologized and took them back to cook some more.
“I told the manager about the antenna on the lobster breaking loose when it was done,” Steve said. “He came back to my table with the lobster and I gave the antenna a tug and it came off . I opened up the lobster and cut a piece of the tail and gave it to the manager and he agreed that it was tender and that it was cooked just right .”

 

The Jumbo lobsters were delicious, he said.

 

“Cooking lobsters according to time tables does not work all the time and they can be raw or become over cooked,” he said, adding that it is also important to move the lobsters around in the pot to make sure they cook more evenly.

 

© Wayne Howe 2019

 

 

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