Whole lobster is either bought alive and whole or pre-cooked and frozen. To best preserve its freshness and flavor, it's important to pre-cook lobster (just a blanch) if you want to freeze them for later cooking.
Video of the Day
When you're ready to make lobster, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Boil using the recipe below, and enjoy fresh-tasting lobster meat.
How to Freeze Live Lobster
You can enjoy lobster all year round by freezing it — just pre-cook the lobster before popping it into your freezer. Here's how to do it, according to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
- Buy a live lobster from your grocery store or seafood market.
- Blanch the lobster in salted, boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Place the lobster in an ice bath for 20 minutes.
- Use a towel to dry off the lobster.
- Put the lobster in a freezer zip bag and squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Wrap the bagged lobster in freezer wrap or double bag it.
- Put the lobster in the freezer and it should be good for up to 12 months.
When you're ready to cook your pre-cooked frozen lobster, make sure to thaw it. The easiest way to thaw is to put the lobster in the refrigerator overnight.
If you're in a hurry, you can also use a microwave at low heat — however, this method is not ideal. Thawing lobster under running water is a preferred alternative method when in a time crunch.
If you don't thaw the lobster before cooking it, the meat will stick to the shell, and it will also cause the meat to be tough instead of tender.
How to Cook Lobster
Now that you've pre-cooked the lobster by blanching, freezing and thawing it, you're ready to prepare it. Considering lobster is so good by itself, a classic recipe is to simply boil it and serve with butter and lemon.
Things You'll Need
2 to 3 tablespoons of salt
1 stick of butter, melted
1. Boil the Lobsters
Fill a large pot about halfway with water and salt. Bring it to a rolling boil, and then use tongs to grab the lobsters, plunging each one headfirst into the water.
Cover and allow the water to return to a boil. Once it is boiling again, reduce the heat to medium, and allow to cook for 7 minutes for a 1-pound lobster. Add 3 minutes per additional pound.
When ready, the shells will turn a bright red color, and the meat opaque and firm.
According to the FDA, nearly all seafood should be cooked to a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead of opening up a lobster to see if the meat is opaque and firm, you can pull a lobster up with tongs and stick a thermometer inside to check the temperature.
2. Melt the Butter
Use a small saucepan and place on medium heat. Add the stick of butter, and cook until completely melted. Remove from the hot burner and carefully pour into a serving dish.
3. Prep the Lobsters
Use tongs to remove the lobsters and place them in a colander so they can drain any excess water. If everyone is cracking open their own lobsters, you can just plate them and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.
If you're doing all of the cracking, you can follow the directions below for each lobster.
How to Crack Open a Lobster
It's a messy job, so grab an apron or a bib to protect your clothing.
If your guests will be cracking their own lobsters, add a large waste bowl to the table, so everyone can discard the shells. If you're doing the cracking for them, you can just use your trash can.
But, you can also save the shells for a soup. If you can't use them immediately, put them into a large freezer bag, squeeze out the air and close. Freeze until you're ready to use them.
Things You'll Need
Lobster shell cracker or nutcracker
Large bowl or trash can
Bend the tail backward and twist to remove it. Using the kitchen scissors, starting at the open end (holding in one hand with the bottom side up), cut down the tail to the bottom. Open each side, and remove the tail meat, which should come out in one piece.
If there is any green pasty stuff, gently wipe it away with a paper towel, and throw it out.
The green pasty stuff is known as tomalley and is the lobster's liver and pancreas. The Maine Division of Environmental and Community Health recommends not eating any tomalley. Tests have shown that it can accumulate contaminants found in the environment
Twist the front legs off the lobster. If you're having difficulties getting the legs off, snip them off using your kitchen scissors. Bend the small pincer back and forth until it snaps off. Pull the shell off and discard.
Next, use the lobster crackers, or nutcracker, at the base of the claw. You'll hear the shell break. Open up the shell, and remove the claw meat, which should come out in one piece. Use the crackers on the knuckle part of the leg, breaking the shell on each section. Open up the shell and remove the meat. Push a skewer into the knuckle to get all of the meat out.
The Little Legs
There is a tiny bit of meat in the legs. Twist them off of the body and push a skewer through them to get the meat out.
- FDA: "Selecting and Serving Fresh and Frozen Seafood Safely"
- Maine Division of Environmental and Community Health: "Saltwater Fish and Lobster Safe Eating Guidelines"
- Atlantic Canada Lobster: "Handling and Eating Lobster"
- Northeast Fisheries Science Center: "Frequently Asked Questions About Lobsters"