How to cook lobster. Including boiling, steaming, grilling and serving.

cooking lobster
There are several ways of cooking lobster, however the simplest and most common method is to boil or steam it.

Lobster must be cooked in salty water, so that the flavour of the meat is maintained, and sea water is preferred if available.

Do not panic if sea water is not an option for you, as salted tap water will be fine.

You may add a mixture of wine, vegetables and herbs to the water in order to give the lobster meat more flavour. The residual liquid may also be used to make a delicious stock or sauce. Ingredients that can be added include white wine, pepper, parsley, celery, onions, carrots, or bay leaves.

Many lobster lovers say that lobster is best eaten whole and steamed.

However, you can also cook your lobster and use the meat to make sandwiches, salads, soups, risottos and a large number of other varied dishes.
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The most humane method

A lot of people consider boiling a lobster alive to be inhumane and cruel. Other people believe that the nervous system of a lobster is too simple for it to feel any pain at all, similar to insects.

This subject remains a topic of controversy, still to this day.

Studies have been carried out by a number of researchers and universities to determine the most humane method of boiling lobster.

Various methods of relaxation techniques were carried out prior to boiling and the lowest number of tail flicks upon insertion into the boiling water was thought to mean that the lobster felt less pain.

It was found that the best way to minimize the tail movements of the lobster upon boiling is by placing the lobster in the freezer for a period of 5 - 10 minutes in order to numb the lobster before cooking.

Boiling lobster

  1. In order to boil your lobster, you will need a large pot with a lid.
  2. Pour enough water in the pot to cover the lobster completely.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of sea salt for every 2 litres (4 pints) of water.
  4. Bring the water to a fierce boil.
  5. Grasp the live lobster behind the claws and drop it headfirst into the boiling water.
  6. Cover the pot and once the water has started to boil again, start timing.
  7. Boil the lobster for 10 minutes for the first lb of weight and then 3 more minutes for each extra pound. A two lb lobster will be done in 13 minutes, a 3 lb lobster in 16 minutes.
  8. Once cooked, drain the lobster immediately and serve hot.

Steaming lobster

You will require a longer cooking time to steam your lobster, however, many people say that the result is even better than boiling, giving you a succulent and tasty lobster meat.
  1. Place a steaming rack to hold the lobster in the bottom of a large pot.
  2. Pour 2 inches of water into the pot and add 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
  3. Cover the pot with the lid and bring the water to the boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling fiercely, place the lobster onto the rack, cover the pot and bring back to the boil.
  5. Begin timing once the water is boiling again.
  6. Steam the lobster for 14 minutes for the first lb of weight and then an extra 3 minutes for each extra lb. A 2 lb lobster will cook in 17 minutes, a 3 lb in 20 minutes.
  7. Once the lobster is done, drain immediately and serve.
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Grilling lobster

  1. Follow the instructions for boiling a lobster above, but only par-boil the lobster for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the lobster from the pot and place it on its back.
  3. Preheat the grill to a medium - hot heat.
  4. Take a sharp knife and cut the lobster down the middle. Remove the black vein that runs down the tail, the green tomalley and the sand sac, which is located in the head area, behind the eyes.
  5. Baste the lobster meat with melted butter and lemon juice (optional) and place under the preheated grill, shell-side down for around 8 - 10 minutes or until the lobster meat is thoroughly cooked.
  6. Serve immediately.

How to tell when your lobster is cooked

Care must be taken not to overcook the lobster, as this will result in tougher and less succulent meat.

Overcooking also means that some of the delicious flavour will be lost and the meat may shrink, become stringy or even mushy.
  • Do not remove the lobster from the pot before the shell has turned bright red.
  • The lobster is properly done when an antennae comes off easily when pulled gently.
  • The cooked lobster meat will be firm and white in colour.
  • The internal temperature of the lobster meat will have reached 180°F (80°C).
  • The green tomalley or liver, which is situated inside the body cavity, will have turned a greenish yellow colour.

Which parts of a lobster can you eat?

The majority of the lobsters meat is found in the tail and in the two front claws. Smaller amounts of meat can also be found in the legs and in some parts of the body.

Parts which should not be eaten, are the shell, the sac behind the eyes, the black vein running through the tail and the green tomalley, although this is debatable, as some lobster eaters claim this to be the best part.

How to serve lobster

If you are not going to eat the lobster right away, it must be cooled immediately by immersing it into ice-cold water. This is so that bacteria are unable to multiply and contaminate the meat.

The lobster should then be drained and stored in the fridge in its shell, in an airtight container for a maximum of 2 days.

If you are going to use the cooked meat for a particular recipe, it is best to remove the meat from the shell before storing it in the refrigerator.
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