Cooking lobster fresh off the boat
will enhance your appetite.
Cooking lobster from the Gulf of Maine is a valuable life skill. It’s a good way to impress would-be life partners, in-laws, employers, customers, neighbors, and your best friends, too. Really. No matter how casual your lobster event becomes, it’s a unforgettable social event.
Here’s a fun test: Can you recall last time you ate Maine lobster? How was it cooked? With whom did you eat? Many people quickly answer all three questions. Can you?
About preparations after lobster delivery:
Best to cook your live lobster the same day they arrive, and keep them in the shipping container until you do. If you can’t prepare them the same day, live lobster will usually do fine in the refrigerator for another 24 hours. Put them in a pan surrounded by moist newspaper. Another option, one we highly recommend, is blanching (see below or the “on blanching” link on the right-hand column here). Blanching will give you a two- or three-day window to serve them. Enjoy.
Four common ways of cooking lobster.
Each of the four cooking methods listed on the right-hand column of this post requires a different length of time exposed to the heat. But if the shell is red and you easily can pull out an antenna, it is not under cooked. Also, when an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees it is not under cooked. As far as over-cooking, follow the suggested cooking times listed for each method.
NOTE WELL (And many folks ask about this):
Regardless of the cooking method, if it takes 10 minutes to cook one lobster, it takes the same time to cook two or more when cooked together. Sort of like potatoes.
All about Blanching:
A big trend and a host’s best friend
Boiling them for two minutes then chilling them to stop the cooking process results in partially cooked dead lobsters. That’s blanching, the biggest trend today in serving, wild-caught fresh Maine crustaceans at home, in private clubs, and at gourmet restaurants. Blanching expands all your options, how to order them, when to have them delivered, how you can cook them, and when to serve them.
Want to grill your crustaceans? Blanch first. Want to serve them on a Sunday, two day hence, but not sure they’ll survive that long? Blanch upon receipt. Want to host a quick lunch with no prep-time time to spare? Blanch the night before. Have a really important event for which your featured entrée absolutely positively must get delivered, even if ice storms rage across the country? Get delivery a day or two early and blanch upon receipt.
Read up on blanching. Blanching is every host’s best friend.
Two approaches to cooking lobster:
“Dry-Heat” and “Wet-Heat”
Cooking lobster with “Dry-Heat” adds rich flavors to the meat. Dry-heat cooking methods are baking, broiling, roasting, and most famously grilling. The dry-heat methods are a little more complicated for the chef as they introduce many temperature variations to the process: The oven setting; the amount of fuel burning; the positioning on grill or grate; the distance above or below direct flames.
Boiling and steaming are, of course, the “wet-heat” cooking methods. They cook with a fixed-heat temperature, that is the temperature of boiling or steaming water. So, relative to dry-heat methods, the cooking time for “wet-heat” is very specific and pretty easy-peasy to monitor. The meat, when cooked with wet-heat, remains very juicy, if not overcooked, and delivers the classic taste and experience with lemon and drawn butter.