How to Cook Live Lobster
Wed, 07/11/2012 - 11:22pm (new)
Posted by taxfoe
Glad you asked. There are two ways to screw up live lobster: Over cook to the point where the water boils dry or undercook where, while the shell may be bright red, the meat comes out pale and mushy. First can be too much heat or inattention, second is too low heat or not enough time. There is a third way but it applies to restaurants or markets that reuse old water to cook new lobster . . it's very common and the number 1 reason I'm not inclined to order lobster or steamers in a restaurant.
How to cook live lobster:
Start with a pot that is at least twice the volume of the lobster(s) you're about to cook. Use a heat source that will bring that pot of water to a rapid boil in 2- 3 minutes. That should be enough to maintain temperature throughout the boil.
Add enough water to cover the lobsters by at least an inch or two. Fresh seawater is ideal. If you use seaweed to 'season' fresh water, remove it when the water comes to a boil. Alternatively, add this to fresh water (proportions on package).
Bring the water to a rapid (rolling) boil. Drop the lobsters head first into the boil. If the first lobster knocks down the boil, wait for the boil to return and repeat with the rest. If, at any point, the boil fails to return, the party's over. Could be too much pot or water, not enough heat or burner. At this point, you're cooking a very expensive soup that's going to taste like crap.
This step is the only time you'll need to pay close attention: Once they're all in, reduce the heat to, at once, maintain a real boil but reduce the chance of a boil over. If you see a foam start to rise, back off the heat.
Cook the lobsters for 8 - 10 minutes but no more than 12. It really doesn't matter. 8 - 10 is correct but there are many people who insist that everything needs to be cooked at least _____ minutes. You can go to 12 - 15 for such morons but that lobster should be served immediately and everyone, while satisfied, will miss the best part.
Regardless, remove the lobster from the water. If you caved to the pressure of the over cookers, serve it immediately. If you're believing in taxfoe, reputable cooker and server of 60 or 70 thousand pounds, read on . .
THE SECRET: It can be as simple as draining the water from the pot, so long as the pot has a tight lid, to using a clean, odor free cooler. Place the cooked lobster in an appropriately sized and (roughly not absolutely) airtight container of choice and let them steep. A half hour is more than enough but 3 - 4 hours (cocktails) is doable and you'll still have hot lobster. The perfect 'clambake' is to cook and store the lobster, cook and serve the corn, sausage, potatos, etc, cook and serve the steamers and then serve the lobsters. Anyone who understands dogs and bone marrow or turkeybone soup will know where I'm coming from.