imageSalty Dog Boaters, Try This Recipe!

Lobster is often considered to be toward the top of the seafood chain, and for good reason. It’s flavorful, hearty, and goes great with just about any healthy side dish. You’re also going to be paying a premium for it if you’re eating out, as it’s consistently one of the highest priced items you’ll see on any upscale restaurant’s menu. But that’s not to say that perfectly good lobster can’t be made at home- quite the opposite, in fact.

Lobster can be cooked many ways- grilled, broiled, baked, as part of a chowder, and of course- boiled. Lobster boiled or steamed in sea water maintains its characteristic ocean taste- rich, salty, and complimentary to the meat. But since not every chef can grab a few gallons of ocean water on a whim,  boiling or steaming the crustacean in well-salted water is usually the next best thing.

Boiling vs Steaming

Serving someone a whole lobster? Boiling is your best bet. It’s fast, easy to time precisely, and is far easier to eat as the meat will come out of the shell with significantly less effort than when you steam the lobster. If you’re making it as part of a recipe that calls for fully cooked or picked lobster meat, going the boiling route is highly recommended.

476434Boiled Lobster is Best for Serving Whole

Steaming lobster, on the other hand, is a lot more of a gentle cooking method. This will show in your end product, as the meat will be slightly more tender than you’d get from other methods. Other benefits include more flavor being preserved and more flexible cook time- it’s very hard to overcook steamed lobster, especially in contrast to boiling.


This is for when you need partially cooked lobster meat for a dish. Parboiling, also known as blanching, cooks the lobster just enough so that the meat can be removed from its shell. After that, you can chill the meat and save it for when your dish is ready for it. This is recommended for any dish where fully cooked meat would end up rubbery by the time the rest of the dish is finished, as no one likes a rubbery lobster.

IMG_2722Preparing the Lobster (Boiling Method)

Choose a pot large that will hold all your ready-to-cook lobsters comfortably; crowding them  is not recommended.  Expect a 4- to 5-gallon pot to handle 6 to 8 pounds of lobster, generally speaking. After filling with water, allow 3 quarts of water per 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of lobster. Add real sea salt (not table salt) to taste to the water. Bring water to a rolling boil. Add your live lobsters one at a time, starting cook timing immediately. Do NOT cover the pot. Stir your lobsters halfway through their cooking. Then, let the lobsters sit for 5 minutes or so after they’re finished cooking to allow the meat to absorb some of the shell’s moisture.

For timing, use the weight of individual lobsters, not the total weight of all lobsters being cooked:

If the lobster weighs: Boil:
1 pound 8 minutes
1 1/4 pounds 9-10 minutes
1 1/2 pounds 11-12 minutes
1 3/4 pounds 12-13 minutes
2 pounds 15 minutes
2 1/2 pounds 20 minutes
3 pounds 25 minutes
5 pounds 35-40 minutes

Back CameraPreparing the Lobster (Steaming Method)

Like the boiling method, be sure to choose a pot large enough to hold all the lobsters comfortably- crowded lobster means a less quality end product. Expect a 4- to 5-gallon pot to handle 6 to 8 pounds of lobster. Put 2 inches of either seawater or sea-salted water in the bottom of a large kettle. After setting a steaming rack inside the pot, bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add your live lobsters one at a time, cover the pot, then start timing. Halfway through, lift the lid and shift the lobsters around so they cook evenly. Be sure to watch for steam as you lift the lid- it will be very, very hot.

As with boiling, use the weight of individual lobsters, not the total weight of all lobsters being cooked:

If the lobster weighs: Steam:
1 pound 10 minutes
1-1/4 pounds 12 minutes
1-1/2 pounds 14 minutes
1-3/4 pounds 16 minutes
2 pounds 18 minutes
2-1/2 pounds 22 minutes
3 pounds 25-30 minutes
5 pounds 40-45 minutes


Follow directions for boiling lobsters. Cook 2 minutes or as the long as the recipe you’re making it for indicates. It’s generally easiest to remove the meat while the lobsters are still warm. If you will be cooking them further in the shell, be sure to plunge the partially cooked lobsters into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and refrigerate until ready to use.

lobster_bake_in_pan_to_be_served _lgHow to Know Your Lobster is Ready

You’re probably aware that cooked lobsters turn bright red, but that’s not a surefire way to know they’re done- especially when large lobsters are involved. In fact, the meat still be underdone when the shell turns red! As a tip, we typically recommend cooking the lobsters for the recommended time, then cracking one open where the lobster’s body meets its tail. If your lobster is done, the meat will have changed from translucent to white.

o-HOW-TO-COOK-LOBSTER-facebookSalty Dog Boaters, Try This Recipe!