We don’t eat lobster very often, so it’s rare that we cook it at home. However, there are times we’ve had to do it, for example at our New Year’s party this year. It always reminds us of the scene from Julie and Julia where Julie has to psych herself up to drop the lobster in the pot, and then freaks out when the lid moves. The same scene played out in our house the first time we cooked lobster.
We actually prefer crab, and it’s interesting because neither of us has any problem slinging crab after crab into a pot of boiling water. We bring crabs back from the coast in a cooler of ice, and by the time we get home they are deep asleep and go into the pot without incident. Lobsters are far more active, and as much as both of us dread cooking them, every time Clayton opens the refrigerator and hears them making weird noises he can’t wait to cook them so they stop.
On the rare occasions we’ve cooked lobster, we’ve come up with the least stressful way to do it. Here is what you need: one very large stockpot with a lid (at least 8 quarts) these really long tongs, kosher salt to salt the water, and paper towels to dry the lobsters on.
We prefer steaming to boiling. Put about 3” of water in the bottom of your large stockpot and bring it to boil over very high heat. Put a lid on the pot. When steam is spraying out between the pot and the lid, you’re ready to go.
Put the lobsters as close as possible to the stove so you can work quickly. Using the very long tongs, pick up the lobster from the center of the body and put it into the steaming pot as quickly as possible. If you have more than one, do the same with the other lobsters. The key is to work quickly enough that neither you or the lobsters have time to freak out.
Cover the pan with the lid and set a timer for 10 minutes, then go do something else! Pour a glass of wine, wash some dishes, or read the paper. When the timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat and open the lid. The lobsters will be red and cooked. Remove from the pan with your really long tongs and let cool.
When we pick meat out of lobsters, we like to use a rolling pin to roll the meat out of the legs. It’s pretty efficient. We also always save any shells into a ziplock bag in the freezer to make shellfish stock. Once you collect enough you can make delicious stock yourself!
Note: The lobsters pictured are missing claws because they are culls. We buy them from at Water2Table. They are the imperfect lobsters that restaurants don’t want. In addition to looking scrappy and less intimidating, they are less expensive and a great option when you don’t need to worry about the presentation.
- 1 qt water
- 2 lobsters
- In a large stockpot, salt water so it tastes like the ocean.
- Bring the water to a rapid boil.
- Insert lobsters, cover with a lid, cook for exactly 10 minutes.
- Remove lobsters and allow to cool before handing.