There are many ways to cook lobster, but the most straightforward is to boil it, although you may also steam it.
What You Need To Know About Buying And Storing Lobsters
The lobsters that you should pick up at the market are the ones that seem to be the most active, and don’t have any noticeable cracks on their shells.
Also, make sure that all of the parts are present (in other words, no missing legs or claws).
You should seek out lobsters that are between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 pounds, which is a good size for the average eater.
How To Store Lobster After You Get It Home
You should put your lobsters straight into the refrigerator as soon as you get them home to keep them cold.
You should not put them in the freezer, because they will freeze.
Also, you should not put them in tap water.
They should be kept in a sturdy paper bag inside your refrigerator, preferably.
Transferring lobsters requires you to pick them up by their body, rather than by their claws or tails.
As lobsters live only for 36 hours after being removed from sea water, it is important to buy them on the day you intend to cook them, and to cook them as soon as possible.
Ideally, lobster should be killed immediately before cooking so that it is at its best. If you did not buy a frozen lobster, what you brought home from the market will no doubt be alive and kicking, which leaves the task of killing it (hopefully humanely) up to the cook.
How To Cook Lobster In The Most Humane Manner Possible
If you’re sensitive to the idea of cooking lobster, you might want to avoid cooking it.
The only way to do it is to buy it live and boil it that way. I am sorry, but there is nothing you can do about this.
The reason that you must basically boil lobster alive is that if you kill a lobster and then let it sit for any amount of time, there is a huge danger of the lobster meat within the shell growing bacteria, which can cause food poisoning.
You can, if you wish, however, kill the lobster just prior to placing it into boiling water, which won’t result in bacteria growth, but it must be done no longer than about 1 minute prior to immersing it into the boiling water.
The term “dispatch” (or dispatching), when it refers to lobster, means killing the lobster just prior to immersing it into boiling water, so as to, in the most humane manner, avoid torturing the lobster.
Whether or not to dispatch lobster prior to immersing it into boiling water is a huge debate. Many people (including many world-renowned chefs) do not dispatch lobster and instead simply immerse live lobster into boiling water.
There is some debate about whether or not it is cruel to plunge live lobsters into a pot of boiling water, though doing so is unquestionably fatal. A lobster’s thrashing tail often makes a knocking sound inside the pot, which can loosen the lid, which is understandably unsettling for the cook/chef, as well as the people waiting nearby for dinner.
What To Do Before Cooking Lobster
There are a variety of ways you can prepare a lobster prior to cooking it, and the prep ahead of time will give you the option of boiling, baking, steaming, or cooking it in another manner.
- In order to prepare the lobster, freeze it for between 30 and 60 minutes in the freezer and then immerse it headfirst completely into a pot of boiling water.
- If you need a quick solution, you can plunge a knife straight down into the lobster’s carapace (part of the exoskeleton on its back). A sharp chef’s knife is placed behind the lobster’s eyes, about halfway between the claws and the body and just below the point where the claws meet. Take the knife and plunge it down through the head as quickly as possible. The legs of the lobster will continue to move a little bit afterward, but in actuality, the lobster is dead.
- In fact, many chefs prefer a combination of the two methods: Once the lobster has been frozen for 30 minutes, plunge the knife into the lobster. Many chefs prefer just 15 minutes, which is enough time to sedate the lobster without causing it to freeze.
- By placing the lobster in a large pot in the sink, you will be able to desensitize it instead of having it frozen. Initially fill the container with cold tap water and gradually increase the temperature of the water until it is very hot. Once the water is very hot the lobster can be dispatched using the knife.
Should Rubber Bands Be Removed From The Lobster Claws Before Cooking?
The claws of a lobster are usually wrapped in a rubber band when it is purchased from a shop. The purpose of this safety measure is to prevent them from clawing at each other in the tank, as well as to protect you from them.
There is a huge ongoing debate about whether rubber bands that protect against being pinched by a lobster’s claws should be removed or left on before the lobster is cooked.
It is believed by many lobster lovers that removing the rubber bands first, before immersing a lobster in water, is an important step in preventing lobsters from having an odd flavor when cooked.
Some lobster lovers disagree with this belief, saying the rubber bands have no effect on the flavor of a lobster once it is cooked.
So we will leave it up to you to decide whether or not to remove the bands from the claws prior to cooking lobster.
If you do decide you want to cook lobster without the rubber bands on its claws, a good sharp pair of scissors is an absolute MUST!
Never, ever try to remove the rubber bands from around the claws with your bare hands, or even if you are wearing a pair of thick gloves.
Snipping the bands with a sharp pair of scissors is the only method that should be considered.
What Size Pot Is Used To Boil Lobster?
You will need a very large kettle to boil lobster. Generally, an 8-quart pot will easily hold one lobster.
If you are cooking 2 or 3 lobsters, you will need a 16-quart pot.
If you are cooking a lot of lobsters at the same time, you should have on hand more than 1 pot of boiling water.
How Long Should Lobster Be Boiled?
Following is a general rule of thumb for the amount of time needed to boil lobster.
Lobster Size: Cooking Times
1 lb. lobster… 5-7 minutes total
1-1/4 lb. lobster… 7-8 minutes total
1-1/2 lb. lobster… 8-10 minutes total
2 lb. lobster… 10-12 minutes total
3 lb. lobster… 12-14 minutes total
5-6 lb. lobster… 18-20 minutes total
The most common mistake people make when it comes to lobster cooking time is to increase the cooking time just because they are cooking more than 1-2 lobsters in the pot at the same time.
Often, people also mistakenly think that a 2-1/2 pound lobster must be cooked twice as long as a 1-1/4 pound lobster. Instead, please use the times indicated above, regardless of how many lobsters are being cooked.
The weight of individual lobsters should be used for timing purposes, rather than the weight of all lobsters combined.
How To Tell When Lobster Is Cooked
An entirely red lobster shell indicates that it has been cooked.
The tail is a good indicator of whether the lobster is cooked. After it is cooked, the tail will contract and curl, and the meat within will have a somewhat firm texture, which is different than mushy.
There are chefs who claim lobsters are done when they can easily pull out their antennae, but this is not always the case.
In order for lobster meat to be properly cooked, it must have a creamy white color all the way through, without any translucent spots.
It is recommended that you place an instant read thermometer on the underside of the tail closest to the body. If the temperature inside your lobsters is between 135 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, then they are ready.
The most important thing to remember is that when you take the lobsters out of the pot, they will continue to cook. Make sure you put your lobsters in a big bowl of ice to stop the cooking process.
In the event that you overcook them, you are going to end up with tough lobsters. In the event that you undercook them, you can always heat them back up. Among the reasons that many people think larger lobsters are tough is due to the fact that they are overcooked.