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How to Cook Lobster: A Simple Guide for Seafood Lovers

Cooking lobster is a gourmet experience that can elevate any dinner to a special occasion. While it may seem intimidating at first, preparing and cooking lobster is actually quite simple. In this article, you will learn the basics of how to cook lobster, including preparing your lobster, cooking techniques and tips, and frequently asked questions.

A pot of boiling water with a lobster being lowered in. Lemon, butter, and herbs on the side

Before you start cooking your lobster, it's important to prepare it properly. This includes washing it thoroughly and making sure it's fresh. You'll also need to know how to humanely kill your lobster, which can be done by plunging a sharp knife into the head, or by chilling it in the freezer for a few minutes.

There are several ways to cook lobster, including boiling, steaming, baking, and grilling. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the one you choose will depend on your personal preference and the recipe you're using. Some tips for cooking lobster include not overcooking it, seasoning it properly, and serving it with melted butter and lemon.

Key Takeaways

  • Preparing your lobster properly is essential for a successful dish.
  • There are several cooking techniques to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Following a few simple tips can help ensure that your lobster is cooked to perfection.

Preparing Your Lobster

A pot of boiling water with a lobster being lowered in. A pair of tongs nearby, and a timer set on the counter

Before you can cook your lobster, you need to prepare it properly. This involves selecting the best lobster, storing it correctly, and preparing it for cooking.

Selecting the Best Lobster

When selecting a lobster, you want to choose one that is fresh and healthy. Look for lobsters with a hard shell, as these are usually the freshest. Soft shell lobsters are still good to eat, but they are more delicate and can spoil more quickly.

You should also pay attention to the lobster's gender. Male lobsters tend to have larger claws and more meat, while female lobsters have a wider tail and smaller claws. Both are delicious, so it really comes down to personal preference.

Storing Live Lobsters

If you are buying live lobsters, you need to store them properly until you are ready to cook them. Keep them in a cool, moist place, such as a refrigerator or a cooler with wet newspaper or seaweed. Be sure to remove any rubber bands around the claws, as these can cut off circulation and harm the lobster.

It's best to cook live lobsters on the same day that you buy them, but they can be stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Just be sure to keep them moist and cool.

Preparing for Cooking

Before you cook your lobster, you need to prepare it for cooking. This involves cleaning it and getting it ready to be boiled, steamed, grilled, or baked.

To clean your lobster, rinse it under cold water and remove any debris or seaweed that may be stuck to it. You can also remove the claws and tail if you prefer, or leave them attached for a more dramatic presentation.

Cooking Techniques and Tips

Lobster being steamed in a large pot, with steam rising and a timer set. Lemon slices and herbs nearby for seasoning

If you want to cook lobster, there are several cooking techniques you can use. Here are some tips to help you cook lobster perfectly.

Boiling and Steaming

Boiling and steaming are two of the most common ways to cook lobster. To boil lobster, fill a large pot with enough water to cover the lobster completely. Add salt to the water, and bring it to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the lobster to the pot and cook it for about 8-10 minutes for a 1-pound lobster. If you're cooking more than one lobster, add an extra minute or two for each additional pound.

To steam lobster, you'll need a steamer insert or a lobster pot. Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Add the lobster to the pot and cover it with a lid. Cook the lobster for about 10-12 minutes for a 1-pound lobster. Again, add an extra minute or two for each additional pound.

Grilling and Broiling

Grilling and broiling are great ways to cook lobster if you want to add a smoky flavour to it. To grill lobster, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Brush the lobster with butter or oil and season it with salt and pepper. Place the lobster on the grill and cook it for about 5-7 minutes per side.

To broil lobster, preheat your oven's broiler. Brush the lobster with butter or oil and season it with salt and pepper. Place the lobster on a baking sheet and broil it for about 8-10 minutes, turning it over halfway through.

Baking and Poaching

Baking and poaching are two other methods you can use to cook lobster. To bake lobster, preheat your oven to 350°F. Brush the lobster with butter or oil and season it with salt and pepper. Place the lobster on a baking sheet and bake it for about 12-15 minutes for a 1-pound lobster. Add an extra minute or two for each additional pound.

To poach lobster, fill a large pot with enough water to cover the lobster completely. Add salt to the water, and bring it to a simmer. Add the lobster to the pot and cook it for about 8-10 minutes for a 1-pound lobster. Add an extra minute or two for each additional pound.

No matter which cooking method you choose, be careful not to overcook the lobster. Overcooking can make the lobster tough and dry. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the lobster. The temperature should be 140°F for perfectly cooked lobster. Remember to let the lobster rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and moist texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

A pot of boiling water with a lobster being lowered in. A chef's hat and apron nearby. A kitchen timer set for 10 minutes

What's the best method to prepare whole lobster?

Boiling is a popular method for cooking whole lobster. Fill a large pot with water, add salt and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the lobster and cook for around 12-15 minutes depending on the size. Once cooked, remove the lobster from the pot and allow it to cool down before cracking it open.

Can you give tips on cooking lobster tails properly?

Lobster tails are best cooked by broiling, grilling or baking. To broil, preheat the oven and place the tails on a baking sheet. Brush with butter and broil for 10-12 minutes, turning once. To grill, brush the tails with butter and grill for around 5-7 minutes, turning once. To bake, brush the tails with butter and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 8-10 minutes.

What's the ideal time and temperature for baking lobster in the oven?

Baking lobster in the oven is a great way to cook it. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the lobster in a baking dish, brush with butter and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the size. The internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C) for the lobster to be fully cooked.

How do you cook a lobster if it's still frozen?

It's best to thaw the lobster in the fridge overnight before cooking it. If you're short on time, you can also thaw it under cold running water. Once thawed, cook the lobster using your preferred method.

Any advice on how to cook lobster meat on the hob?

Cooking lobster meat on the hob is easy. Melt butter in a pan, add the lobster meat and cook for around 5-7 minutes until heated through. You can also add herbs and spices to the butter for extra flavour.

What's the kindest way to cook a live lobster?

There are many opinions on the kindest way to cook a live lobster. Some people prefer to quickly boil it while others prefer to steam it. Whichever method you choose, make sure the water is well-salted and the lobster is fully submerged to ensure a quick and humane death.