How to Boil or Steam a Lobster

We see them in the large tanks at supermarkets and seafood restaurants. We gaze at them through the glass and marvel at the size of the larger ones, in which just a single claw could make a satisfying meal. Lobsters. They stand proudly in their red, hard shell, and we think of the tasty flesh that lies beneath.

The idea of that tender, succulent meat on the end of the tiny lobster fork, dripping with hot butter is enough to make your mouth water and your stomach whine. But unfortunately, many restaurants charge a premium price for their quality lobsters, often an unfortunate deterrent from partaking in a scrumptious lobster feast.

The supermarket lobsters are priced more reasonably, but what you save in price, you gain in the added responsibility of having to prepare for and cook the lobsters on your own. This is also a deterrent, as many people think the process daunting, when in truth, it is really lack of knowledge that is the culprit. It is in fact extremely easy to cook lobster, and there is nothing like a freshly cooked lobster transported from the pot to your plate.

There are two simple ways to cook a lobster, either by boiling it or steaming it. They can also be grilled, but here we will focus on the former two methods. For boiling, you will need a large kettle capable of holding the lobster (or lobsters) and a generous quantity of water. Fill most of the kettle, stopping approximately 1/4 from the top. Some supermarkets can provide you with sea water, which is ideal for boiling the lobsters. If sea water is unavailable, then simply add about 2 tablespoons of salt for each quart of water.

After bringing the water to a boil, add the lobsters one at a time. The water will cease to boil as the lobsters are adding, until it heats up again. Once the water has begun boiling again, turn the heat to low and put a lid on the kettle. Simmer for fifteen minutes for lobsters ranging from 1 to 1 1/4 pounds, and twenty minutes for 1 1/2 to 2 pound lobsters. You should consult your seafood grocer for proper cooking times for larger lobsters.

To steam the lobsters, add two inches of sea water (or the salt-water mixture) to the kettle. If you have a steaming rack large enough for the kettle, feel free to use it. Allow the water to boil. Put the lobster sin the kettle one at a time and cover the kettle once the water is boiling again. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes for a 1 to 1 1/4 pound lobster, and 20-25 minutes for a 1 1/2 – 2 pound lobster, again consulting your seafood grocer for larger lobsters.

These cooking times are suitable for hard shell lobsters only. For soft-shell lobsters, reduce the cooking times by 3 minutes, as they will cook a bit faster.

Now that you’ve seen how relatively simple it can be to enjoy your own lobster in the comfort of your home, you may want to search for some interesting recipes to enhance and add to the cooked lobster. Larger lobsters will of course yield a lot of meat, providing the opportunity for a few different dishes.

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