How to Cook Lobster

Sunday, June 25, 2017

We do lobster maybe about once a year, usually around the Fourth of July. Rather than always scrambling to remember the cooking time, for a quick reference we decided to write it down here.


We went to the store and asked the lady behind the seafood counter to keep the two lone lobsters in the tank for us as we went home to drop off the other groceries. When we came back, distracted by something, she asked: "you didn't want those steamed did ya?" We said no.


Jokingly, or maybe not, she said, "good, I would have thought less of you." And then went on to say people usually ask to have them steamed on the spot and she tried to talk them out of it as they would never be as fresh or even perhaps cold when served.

So here is how to cook a live lobster.


You will need a big pot, capable of holding somewhere between 16 and 20 quarts of liquid. Our pot's dimensions are roughly 9.5 inches in height, 11 inches in diameter, holding about 18 quarts of water. It is important for the mouth of the pot to be wide enough for you to easily be able to drop a lobster with its claws spread out. You will also need some decently sized live lobsters. Everything else is simple.

Boiled Lobster
Serves 2

You will need:
Two live 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb lobsters
Sea salt or kosher salt (1 tbsp per quart of water)
Big pot (see note above)
Optional: melted butter and lemon juice for dipping

1. Fill the pot with about 2/3 to 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil (note: the water will take some time to come to a boil, perhaps 30-40 minutes so plan accordingly). Once the water is at a rolling boil, add salt, and wait until the water comes back to a boil.
2. Usually live lobsters will come in a thick paper bag, keep them at the back of the fridge in the bag, flat (making sure it's not completely sealed so they can breathe) as you wait for the water to boil. Once out of the fridge they become active so you will have to act quickly. Unless an experienced lobster boiler, I would recommend keeping the claw bands on (some people recommend removing them, but they are easier to handle with them on).
3. Take lobsters out of the bag and set on counter. Take one lobster by the tail and invert it so that its belly is up (it will move around so be careful not to drop it, but this way of holding them prevents them from trying to get at your hand). Put it in the pot head and claws first. Repeat with second lobster. Wait for the water to come back to a boil.
4. After the water comes back to a boil, boil the lobsters for 6-7 minutes per pound, with roughly three minutes for each additional pound. For 1 1/4 lb lobster 6-7 minutes is ideal. For 1 1/2 lb lobster, cook it for about 7-8 minutes. For a two pound lobster, 9-10 minutes, etc. Note: Do not multiply the minutes based on the number of lobsters you have; the timing will remain the same no matter how many lobsters you have in the pot; base the timing on the average weight of a single lobster.
5. One option is to serve them with some melted butter mixed with lemon juice for dipping. Enjoy.


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