How to Cook the Perfect Lobster
If you have never tasted lobster meat, then you will not know that underneath that awkward exterior lies one of the sweetest delicacies of all time. The best recipes for lobster preparation swear that you can get the best out of the meat when it is immediately cooked live or within a few days of fishing. While we have seen much advancement in the canning and refrigerating of lobster, they cannot be compared to the rich, buttery and sweet taste of freshly caught lobsters. However, before rushing off to purchase live lobsters, here are a few things worth knowing about this delicious seafood.
Preparing The Lobster
There are four different ways of preparing lobster, they include; boiling, steaming, rilling, roasting, BBQ, and poaching. But before you proceed with cooking, try some humane ways of killing the lobster.
- Cut through the eyes with a sharp knife inserted between the two eyeballs.
- Refrigerate the lobsters for ten to twenty minutes to numb their sensory reception, and put it to sleep before killing.
- If you wish to roast or grill lobster halves, they must first be separated by cutting through the lobster. This can be accomplished with kitchen shears or any sharp knife. However, you will first need to eliminate the tomalley (the green substance found in the cavity) and the roe (the black sacks inside a female lobster). Though it is not advisable, there are people who still eat the tomalley.
If your preferred preparation method is boiling or steaming, then a sizeable pot to contain the lobster is required, especially when cooking more than one. Important to note that the number of lobsters does not affect the length of cooking. What really affects the cooking time is whether the chosen lobster comes with a hard or soft shell. Soft shell lobsters are known to cook faster than those with hard shells, so you should reduce the cooking time by two or three minutes.
How To Boil A Lobster
- Get a sizeable pot and fill ¾ of the way with water. Note, all lobsters need to be submerged completely.
- Add two to four tablespoons of sea salt for each gallon of water. This water is also for the seasoning, so you have to control the quantity of sea salt to add, depending on your taste.
- Allow the salted water some time to boil; you can also make use of tongs or gloves to handle the lobster, plunging it into the boiling water, head first.
- To ensure that the lobster is well cooked, stir the pot halfway. Most likely, you will know when it is done as the lobster tends to turn bright red in color.
- Plunge the lobster in cold water and allow it a few minutes to cool down.
- Depending on your preference, you can remove the lobster meat from its shell, or serve it with the shell still on. When the cooking is complete, this delicacy can be enjoyed with herbs and melted butter.
Lobster boiling times
As for the lobster boiling times, six to seven minutes is good enough for 1.0 lb of lobster, whereas 1.25 lb takes eight to nine minutes and ten minutes is ok for 1.5 lb. With 2.0 lb, you will need to boil for fifteen minutes, twenty minutes for 2.5 lb, and twenty five minutes for 3.0 lb.
How To Steam Lobster
Ensure that the pot you wish to use in steaming the lobster is large enough to avoid overcrowding. Many people prefer the steaming method because it is faster and conserves seasoning.
- The pot should be filled with water up to two inches, to create a seawater-like effect by adding a generous amount of salt. It may be optional, but some people also include seaweed in the mix.
- A steaming rack is needed to place the live lobster, or they can go in immediately after killing. Alternatively, a steaming basket can suffice.
- Close the lid and allow the water to boil.
- Once the water boils, place the lobster in, cover the pot, and let the timer start running.
- When cooked, the lobsters turn bright red.
- Cool the cooked lobster by plunging it into cold water, or you can just allow it time to cool.
Lobster steaming times:
1.0 lb takes nine minutes to steam, ten minutes for 1.25 lb, and eleven minutes for 1.5 lb. You can steam 2.0 lb for thirteen minutes, 2.5 lb for fifteen minutes and 3.0 lb for seventeen minutes.
How To Poach Lobster
When it comes to poaching lobster, a couple of cooking techniques are involved. If the lobster you wish to use is still alive, you will need to blanch it first, so you won’t find it difficult to get the meat out of the shell. Then you will proceed to poach the meat in butter.
Alternatively, you can just cut the tails in half, and proceed to poach them in butter directly. Continue until the shells are bright red, and the meat opaque. Just follow the same steps for steaming or boiling lobster, but the time has to be reduced to about three minutes. Twist the tail as well as the legs, and claws off (get rid of the carapace), also cut off the exoskeleton from the underside, so as to have access to the meat in the tail, and remove gently from the shell. The meat from the lobster’s knuckles and claws should be removed by cracking them up.
Get a small pot and add ¼ cup of water with ½ tsp of salt. It is optional, but you can include thyme and two cloves of garlic. When the water starts to simmer gently, reduce the heat to medium-low. Then introduce cold butter to the pot, a couple of tablespoons at a go. Stir continually to get the butter dissolved, but don’t allow it to split. Before the previous addition of butter finishes melting, an additional two tablespoons should be added continuously, and each addition should be whisked in. All in all, the butter should get up to 17 to 24 tablespoons for a small saucepan and should be big enough to submerge the lobster tails completely. Ensure that your butter mixture is smooth and emulsified, and that it is steamed and not boiled.
Then introduce the lobster into the saucepan, and proceed to stir the pot as you are basting the meat with butter. When it is done halfway, flip them over for six minutes, or longer. Do this until the tails curl up, and the color turns opaque. For people using instant-read thermometers, what is required for the lobster to be done is an internal temperature from 140 to 145°F. The meat that comes from the knuckles and the claws can cook for three to four minutes at most.
How To Grill, BBQ and Roast Your Lobster
A good way to add a nice and smoky or char flavor to your lobster is by BBQing or grilling it. Another way to prepare this sweetmeat is by roasting it with an oven especially if your largest pot is not big enough to take many lobsters at a go.
- Refrigerate the lobster for about ten to twenty
- Cut with a sharp knife by slicing through once you insert it between the eyes. The cutting should be done into two halves.
- Rinse the meat very well to get rid of the tomalley, or you can just proceed to grill the tails after getting rid of the carapace which is the upper part of the body.
- A mixture of butter, lemon, and salt should be handy to brush the meat, and the large claws should also be cracked.
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Alternatively, if you don’t wish to cut your lobster tails in half (Keep the whole)
- Kill the lobster humanely as described earlier.
- Crack the claws and keep them aside.
- Twist off the tails and rinse.
- Expose the underside by turning the tails over, and cut outright through the soft exoskeleton on each side along the length of the lobster’s tail, and get the soft shell off. This makes it a whole lot easier to get the tail meat out of the shell.
- Line them on a skewer and brush with a mixture of butter, lemon, and salt.
Your grill should be oiled and preheated to about 350°F, position your lobster tail halves; the shell side should be placed down on the grill, alongside the cracked claws. The lobster meat that is already skewered should be positioned on the grill directly. The distance between the meat and the flame should be four to five inches to avoid overcooking.
For the lobster halves in the shell, cook for about six to eight minutes; the skewered lobster can go for five minutes, or until the thickest portion of the lobster changes opaque. And as you cook, baste the lobster tail meat. You might need an additional five minutes for the claws to be done, and when they are cooked halfway through, just flip them over. Bright red shell is an indication that the lobster is ready.