Lobster Q & A

Are you interested in cooking lobster for yourself? Why only order lobster from a restaurant when you cook one for yourself at home? Here are some questions and answers that will help guide you in your plans of cooking a lobster.

Q: Why must the lobster be alive when you cook it?

A: Technically, you do not have to throw a live lobster into the pot to boil to death. But it is important that the lobster is recently deceased because lobsters decay very quickly after death and can therefore present health risks.

Q: Which is the most humane way to kill a lobster?

A: Many people say that plunging a heavy chef's knife into the back of a lobster's head is the most humane way to kill it. Of course, whether you kill it this way or by sticking it head first into boiling water, the lobster may very well continue to flop around for a bit after death, and this can be disturbing. Just realize that with all meats that we humans eat, the animal has to have died beforehand. And although you may find it more difficult to do the killing yourself, you must know that the lobster was going to come to its end somehow.

Q: How do I cook a lobster?

A: You can either boil or steam your lobster. To boil a lobster, fill a large lobster pot ¾ full of salted water (1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water). Bring this to a rolling boil and then place the lobster or lobsters into the pot, making sure that you completely submerge them. Cook 1 to 2 pound lobsters for around 18 minutes and 2+ pound lobsters for 22-25 minutes. If you choose to steam your lobsters, place only 2 inches of salted water into a large pot. Place your lobsters into the pot and cover it tightly. They should be cooked for the same time as listed above. The pigment of the lobster will trun from brown and greenish-blue to a bright red and red-brown after cooking.

Q: How do I eat a lobster?

A: Be sure to let the lobster first cool after cooking. Then twist the large claws off at the joints and crack the claws with a nutcracker or a small hammer. Then bend the body back away from the tail until it cracks and you can remove the tail. Break off the flippers of the tail and push the tail meat out of the tail in one piece. Then be sure to take out the black vein of the tail and to get rid of it. Discard the green lobster liver (or save it to use in sauces). Realize that there will be meat in the four cavities where the small legs join the body and also in the small walking legs of larger lobsters. Most people enjoy eating their lobster meat dipped in melted butter.

Q: Wait a minute … what exactly is a lobster?

A: Lobster are members of the decapod (ten feet) family. There are two types of lobster found in the United States. The northern "American" lobster is the basic kind of lobster that is found on the East Coast and the spiny lobster found off the coast of Florida. The spiny lobster does not have any claws and it is only a distant relative to the northern lobster. The shovel nose lobster has a flattened face and is found in tropical waters. Freshwater lobster (also called crayfish) are very colorful. There are actually more than 30 varieties of lobster that can be found throughout the whole world.