Knowing how to cook Maine lobster is not too difficult to learn. And once you do, you can add the meat to any number of recipes, with classics like chowders or lobster rolls a favorite. The more common method of cooking lobster is boiling or steaming them.
How to Cook Maine Lobster 6 Ways
1. To Boil a Lobster:
Begin with a large pot filled with two-thirds water—the larger, the better. A 4-5 quart pot will handle 2 lobsters at a time, whereas a much larger 19-quart pot can cook 5 or 6 lobsters at a time. For every quart of water, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Once the water is brought to a rolling boil, submerge the lobsters headfirst, one at a time. Boil the lobsters 5-6 minutes per pound with the lid on.
2. To Steam a Lobster:
Place a steaming rack in the lobster pot. Fill water beneath the rack, and add ½ tablespoon of sea salt per inch of water. Bring to a boil. Place lobster on the rack and place the lid back on the pot. Steam until the lobster shell turns bright red, which takes approximately 7-9 minutes per pound, for the first pound. Add 3 minutes per pound for each additional pound thereafter. When cooking four or more lobsters at once, it’s best to boil them.
Lobsters can also be grilled or baked. Each method requires parboiling the lobsters for 3-5 minutes and then plunging them in cold water for several minutes to prevent further cooking.
3. To Grill Lobsters:
Lobsters can be grilled whole or halved, though many recipes call for the latter to ensure the smoky, grilled flavor. If you grill whole, once parboiled, place the lobster on the grill rack over medium-high heat (400F to 450F). Close the grill lid and cook 5-6 minutes per side. The lobster is readied when the shell turns bright red with a few darkened spots. To be sure, break one lobster open at the tail and body. The meat coloring should be opaque and white.
If you halve a lobster:
Split lobster from the center of the head downward to the tail with a large kitchen knife. Once cut, remove the small gray sac behind the head, the black roe if it is a female, the intestinal black vein that runs from the stomach sac to the tip of the tail, and the green-colored liver, i.e., the tomalley.
Once cleaned, season to your preference—baste with melted butter or olive oil, add garlic salt, and pepper—whatever you like. Place it on the preheated grill, medium-high heat, and split side up. Close the top and let it grill for about 4-6 minutes. Open and baste again with the oil or butter, then cook for another 4-5 minutes. To preserve the juices, it’s suggested not to flip the lobster. The oil or butter will keep it moist. Because they are shelled, lobster claws may take a couple of minutes extra to cook. Either remove by twisting from the carapace to finish grilling or, if kept intact, simply cover the claws with a roasting pan or pie tin for the lobster to cook evenly.
4. To Bake a Lobster:
Once parboiled, cut the lobster lengthwise and clean it for grilling. Place lobster on a baking sheet split side facing up. Baste with a little olive oil or melted butter and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
5. Browned Lobster Rolls
You will need 1 pound of chopped lobster meat cooked to your liking (boiled, for example) and four buns of your choice. In a medium-sized skillet, melt one stick of unsalted butter over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of nonfat dried milk powder and cook, stirring to brown to a consistency. There should be a nutty aroma. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add the lobster meat and stir, cooking until just heated through, and remove from heat. Warm or grill buns lightly, split, and fill with lobster.
6. Thick Lobster Chowder
There are many variations on lobster chowder to make this one; you’ll need 1 1/2 pounds fresh Maine lobster cooked and cut into chunks, 2 or 3 large potatoes, an onion, celery, seasoning, butter, and a quart of whole milk or cream. To begin, peel and dice 2 or 3 large potatoes, steam until tender. While steaming, finely chop one large onion and four celery stocks. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add the chopped onion, celery, and lobster meat with a quarter cup of water. Cover and heat, simmer for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
For a thick chowder base, prepare a roux in a medium saucepan. Start by melting 4 tablespoons of salted butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Once heated, whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour gradually, stirring in one tablespoon at a time. The butter and flour will form a thick paste to the consistency of cake frosting. Continue whisking until the roux gently bubbles. Add a 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika and a pinch of pepper. Add one cup of the milk or cream, whisk until heated and mixture thickens; add a 1/2 cup of milk or cream and repeat until the desired thickness is achieved (the more milk or cream added, the thinner the chowder’s base). Pour into the large saucepan of lobster, onions, and celery, and stir. Add steamed potatoes and stir the ingredients together. Remove from heat for 2 hours minimum, then warm over low heat—do not boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.