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Top 5 Best Ways to Cook Lobster

Live Maine Lobster

What's your favorite lobster recipe? Are you a lobster bisque diehard? Or maybe you like your lobster clean and classic?

However you like your lobster, this little critter doesn't give up its meat easily, so every lobster recipe starts the same way: figuring out how to cook the lobster.

Here are five great ways to cook lobster, all relatively easy to navigate.

How to Cook Lobster 5 Ways

Whether you're more comfortable with a pot of water or a set of tongs, there's a cooking method out there to deliver exactly the flavor and texture you're after. Most people prefer to cook lobster tails or whole lobster in five ways:

  1. Boil
  2. Steam
  3. Bake
  4. Broil
  5. Grill

Here's a breakdown of each one.

Boiled

The tried-and-true technique for cooking any lobster species is boiling.

Bring an 18-quart pot of salted water to a rapid boil (the lobsters need lots of space to cook). Use lots of salt--it should taste like a mouthful of seawater. This will prevent the boiling water from diluting the meat's natural brininess.

Once the water boils, place the lobsters in head-first. One-pound to one-and-a-half-pound lobsters cook for roughly 11 to 12 minutes; lobsters larger than this need an extra minute or two. Once they're done, remove them from the water and let them sit until they're cool enough to handle.

If you're just cooking lobster tails, it will take roughly one minute to cook per ounce of meat. Cook until the meat is pinkish and the tails are red.

Steamed

Steaming lobster is just as easy as boiling, without the risk of watery lobster. The only catch with steaming is that it can dilute the flavor, so don't be afraid of seasoning them after they cook. Drawn butter is a great partner to steamed lobster, like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

To steam lobster, start with a pot of salty water (with the mouthful of seawater test) and bring it to a brisk boil. This time, place a steaming rack over the pot. You can also add aromatics like seaweed or bay leaves to the steaming liquid, depending on your preference.

Once the water boils, place the steaming rack over the pot and set the lobsters inside. Steam them for 12 to 16 minutes, depending on their size (roughly 45 to 60 seconds of cooking time per ounce of meat). Keep a close eye on your lobster--it's easy to overcook when steaming.

Baked

Typically, you don't bake a whole lobster--just the tail, which is usually stuffed. If done skillfully, baking yields a sweet, juicy lobster. Plus, stuffing the tail adds more flavor and substance to late summer lobster, which has a thinner shell.

To bake lobster, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Split them in half with a chef's knife, or if you're leaning into the presentation, you can place the meat on top of the tail for that extra wow factor when you pull it from the oven. Put a bit of water or wine on the bottom of the pan--enough to cover the bottom, but the lobster shouldn't be swimming by any definition.

Adding water or wine steams the lobster in the oven, which gives it a poached texture. It will take 1 to 2 minutes to cook per ounce of meat, so make sure you know the weight before you put it in the oven.

Broiled

Nope, that's not a typo--boiling and broiling are two different cooking techniques. Boiling something is to cook it in boiling water. Broiling is cooking something in radiant heat, which is not to be confused with baking. Baking cooks foods indirectly by exposing them to hot air. Broiling uses direct oven heat to cook foods quickly, using direct heat at higher temperatures. When you broil something, you usually place it in the topmost rack of the oven where it's hottest.

Anyway, cooking lesson aside, let's talk about broiling some lobster. It's a great technique--it sears the surface of the food without the need for a pan or grill. It also pairs well with baking. In general, you would broil after another technique for added texture.

As with baking, you typically only broil the lobster's tail. To do this, either cut the tails in half (or butterfly them if you're feeling fancy). Place the meat on top of the tail on a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven 10 inches from the broiler (the topmost part of your oven). The oven is at a much higher temperature here, so you should check the meat every minute. Yes, literally every minute. It takes about one minute to cook per one ounce of meat.

Grilled

Last but not least is grilling, which adds a certain fire richness to your lobster that can't be found anywhere else. If you ask us, this is what summertime tastes like.

The easiest way to grill is with lobster tails. Heat your grill between 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can cut the tails in half, cut down the center with the meat still inside, or butterfly the tail so that the meat is on top.

Place the tails over direct heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side (unless you butterflied the tail, in which case it should remain flesh-side-up for the entire cooking time).

Shop for Supplies for Your Favorite Lobster Recipe

Whether you're making a lobster roll, lobster bisque, or a whole new take on lobster, every great lobster dish begins with, well, great lobster.

That's where we come in. We offer delicious, high-quality lobster straight from the coasts of Maine, from live lobsters to frozen tails to fresh lobster meat. So however you prefer to cook lobster, our lobster is ready to be the centerpiece. Check out our store to get supplies for your family's favorite dinner.

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