An old-fashioned Maine lobster bake on the 4th of July is a summer tradition. Whether you’re thinking of hosting or catering a lobster bakes this 4th of July, on the beach or in the backyard, the good news is that you can have it just about anywhere. Klenda Seafood can ship fresh Maine lobsters and shellfish to customers nationwide. If you have a zip code, we can deliver.
To plan your authentic Maine lobster bake, here’s a handy guide to get you started:
Lobsters: The Main Dish
Lobsters taste good, and they are good for you with plenty of Omega 3 and lots of protein. By July, the soft shell season in Maine has commenced. Adult lobsters have molted out of their older, winter-hard shells and eased into their new summer shells, which fit like an oversized coats. That oversized coat leaves them plenty of room to grow over the next year, but it also affects the amount of meat per lobster. Soft-shell lobsters retain water in their shells which adds to their weight. Because of that, when considering the number of lobsters to order, consider that there is little less meat in soft shell lobsters. For the average appetite, a 1.5 lb. to 2 lb. lobster is a safe bet per person.
Clams: The Right Shellfish
Though any shellfish will work with a lobster bake, Maine steamer clams are as good as it gets during the summer months. Maine steamers, or longnecks, are soft-shell clams that live and thrive in the sandy muck and mud within the intertidal region of the Maine coast. Soft-shell clam sizes vary from 2 inches in length or greater. You will want to serve approximately one pound per person—about 12-15 clams make a pound. Whether picked up or shipped, fresh, live clams will keep 2-3 days in your refrigerator.
Don’t Forget Maine’s Best Side Dishes
If you’re leaning toward tradition, the side veggies most often served at Maine lobster bakes are corn on the cob and red potatoes. Grilled, steamed, or baked, corn on the cob and red potatoes are the perfect summer sides for your old-fashioned Maine lobster bake.
How to Cook the Lobster
In the old days, you’d “bake” the lobsters and clams over hot stones and seaweed in holes dug in the sand. Though today it’s still called a “bake,” the recommended way to prepare lobsters and clams is to boil and/or steam them.
For lobster, fill a large pot—ideally, the larger, the better—two-thirds with water.
A 4-5 quart pot will cook 2 lobsters at a time. A 19-quart pot can handle 5-6 lobsters at a time. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for every quart of water.
- Bring the pot to a rolling boil and submerge the lobsters headfirst, one at a time. You can humanely kill the lobster by freezing them for 15-20 minutes before cooking. Place the lid on the pot and boil lobster 5-6 minutes per pound. If you steam them, it’s 7 minutes per pound for the first pound. Add 3 minutes per pound for each additional pound after that. It’s best to boil when cooking 4 or more lobsters at once.
How to Cook the Steamer Clams
Steamer clams need to have their shells thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed off the mud and grit before cooking.
Once cleaned off, fully submerge the clams into a large pot (or bowl) of cold, salted water. Do not use warm or hot water—it will kill the clams. Cover the pot and let the clams sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the clams to purge their stomachs of sand, quite literally spitting the sand out.
- When ready to cook, add an inch of cold, salted water into a tall, large pot and then gently lay and stack the clams—gently because their shells are fragile—into the pot (if you have a steamer rack to lay them on all the better).
- Cover up the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down a little and let the clams steam away for about 10 minutes or until the steamer clamshells are wide open.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the clams cool for a few minutes before placing them in serving bowls. Any steamer shells that did not open should be discarded. For dipping, serve with melted butter.
Place the lobsters and steamers on a large plate. Serve the potatoes and corn in separate bowls. Melt approximately ¼ of a stick of butter for each person to dip his or her clams and lobster meat into.
Get Maine Seafood Delivered Right to Your Door
Have live Maine lobsters and fresh seafood delivered for an old-fashioned Maine lobster bake on this 4th of July (or anytime)! Klenda Seafood ships the freshest hard-shell and soft-shell lobster in Portland, Maine. We offer three shipping methods, use industry-leading packaging products to ensure humane shipping practices and non-toxic packing and guarantee the shipment’s integrity.
To buy live lobster from Portland, Maine, order from Klenda Seafood and get it shipped directly to your door. We also offer curbside pick-up at our South Portland location if you live locally – call for details and to place your order over the phone! Contact us— we would be happy to answer any of your questions.