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question about lobster cooking

question about lobster cooking
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    Post #1 - January 1st, 2009, 4:48 pm
    Post #1 - January 1st, 2009, 4:48 pm Post #1 - January 1st, 2009, 4:48 pm
    Hey guys,
    I was wondering do you necessarily need to buy live lobsters or do the people you buy lobsters from boil/steam it for you/...Also if I buy the live lobsters what the hell do i do with lobsters i dont want to necesarily eat immediately??
    And one more quick thing...what is a good instrument to help cut the claws, legs for the meat inside..
    Thanks
  • Post #2 - January 1st, 2009, 6:43 pm
    Post #2 - January 1st, 2009, 6:43 pm Post #2 - January 1st, 2009, 6:43 pm
    up in Maine, they will cook it for you. around here I have never seen that service offered.

    I would not buy a lobster I wasn't going to eat within 12 hours or so. it will die otherwise. you could freeze it but the quality would probably be pretty poor.

    you can use a simple nutcracker to crack the claws. if you don't have one pliers will do. a small seafood fork comes in handy.

    i find kitchen shears are the best for removing the tail meat. cut lengthwise up the middle of the tail. pull out the tail meat with a fork. of course you pull off the entire tail to begin with.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #3 - January 1st, 2009, 6:51 pm
    Post #3 - January 1st, 2009, 6:51 pm Post #3 - January 1st, 2009, 6:51 pm
    see my post in the other lobster thread, but I use bandage scissors to dismantle crustaceans.
  • Post #4 - January 1st, 2009, 7:16 pm
    Post #4 - January 1st, 2009, 7:16 pm Post #4 - January 1st, 2009, 7:16 pm
    My impression is that most good seafood retailers (Dirk's, The Fish Guy, Burhops) will cook lobster for you while you wait. Call ahead and ask.

    You can keep a lobster in the fridge until you are ready to use it. I would still buy it the same day you are going to cook it, though. While in the fridge, be sure it has air - don't keep it in a plastic bag. You can cover it with wet newspapers, if you'd like. I bought a nice one from The Fish Guy a few months ago - they covered it with wet newspaper, put it in a bag, and told me to just keep the whole bag in the fridge until I was ready to use it. (I like to put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes right before I kill it, which puts it to sleep and makes it easier on both of us.)

    Once it is killed, you can twist the legs and tail to remove them from the body. I agree that good kitchen sheers are best for the tail. I use a hammer to crack the claws and then just use my fingers to pull the shell off the meat. I use a rolling pin to push the meat out of the legs (as if you were pushing toothpaste out of a tube).
  • Post #5 - January 2nd, 2009, 8:50 am
    Post #5 - January 2nd, 2009, 8:50 am Post #5 - January 2nd, 2009, 8:50 am
    As for the tail, no shears required - twist off the tail. Twist off the fin. Poke your finger up through the small hole left where the fin was and push the meat out the bigger hole at the other end.
    Leek

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  • Post #6 - January 2nd, 2009, 9:47 am
    Post #6 - January 2nd, 2009, 9:47 am Post #6 - January 2nd, 2009, 9:47 am
    leek wrote:As for the tail, no shears required - twist off the tail. Twist off the fin. Poke your finger up through the small hole left where the fin was and push the meat out the bigger hole at the other end.


    I've seen a chopstick used to great effect in this manner. Personally, I'm of the "tear it apart with your bare hands" school when it comes to shelling a lobster or crab legs.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #7 - January 2nd, 2009, 2:52 pm
    Post #7 - January 2nd, 2009, 2:52 pm Post #7 - January 2nd, 2009, 2:52 pm
    Never purchase a dead Maine lobster. This is not your frozen lobster tail from a 'rock' lobster. The innards start to decompose very quickly when the lobster dies. I never saw them sold dead in Maine or Massachusetts where I grew up. Purchase live for use that day. Holding for a day is chancey unless right off the boat. If you do hold for day and when you pick the lobster up, the tail and claws just hang and droop, it is dead and dispose of it in the trash.
    The places in Maine get the lobsters right off the boats and will steam for you, knowing that you will eat them very shortly. If you get them cooked, remove the shell as soon as possible and then the meat will keep refrigerated for a day or two.
    After removing the claw, tail and knuckle meat by whatever means suits you, there might be roe in the body which will be red if fully cooked and black if not. It has a great concentrated taste. The body cavity will also contain the tomalley or liver. It is good to eat or use in a sauce. But the main thing is to not let the cooked lobster meat, tomalley and roe remain in the shell for very long as the other innards start to decay. The feathery things in the body are the gills. There is enough meat in the body of a large lobster to make it worth extracting, just remember, if its white and firm its meat. Everything else discard.-Dick
  • Post #8 - January 2nd, 2009, 4:06 pm
    Post #8 - January 2nd, 2009, 4:06 pm Post #8 - January 2nd, 2009, 4:06 pm
    So does this decomposing thing happen only with the maine lobster or all lobsters? What kind do you get at dicks or burhops?
    And wont a lobster die in the fridge in a matter of hours?
    Another thing..I was wondering can i cook all the lobsters and then store the meat for a while?
    Thanks
  • Post #9 - January 2nd, 2009, 4:29 pm
    Post #9 - January 2nd, 2009, 4:29 pm Post #9 - January 2nd, 2009, 4:29 pm
    firefirev2 wrote:So does this decomposing thing happen only with the maine lobster or all lobsters? What kind do you get at dicks or burhops?
    And wont a lobster die in the fridge in a matter of hours?
    Another thing..I was wondering can i cook all the lobsters and then store the meat for a while?
    Thanks


    Decomposing meat happens with all lobsters - and all meat, if not stored properly. If you are buying lobster, either buy it alive (have the fishmonger hold it up, out of the water, to see that the legs move), or buy frozen tails. As noted above, many fishmongers are set up to steam or boil a lobster on site to save you the work. That's fine also. Dungeness crabs are usually sold precooked.

    A lobster will not die in the fridge in a matter of hours, but will die in about a day. It is best to buy lobster the day you are going to use it, but it is fine to buy it in the morning, store it in the fridge, and then cook it for dinner.

    Yes, you can cook lobster and store the meat in the fridge. Like any fish, it will probably be good for about two days.
  • Post #10 - January 3rd, 2009, 10:49 am
    Post #10 - January 3rd, 2009, 10:49 am Post #10 - January 3rd, 2009, 10:49 am
    Cooking a lobster is so easy, I can't see why one wouldn't do it to have the freshest possible product. It is literally as easy as cooking macaroni. The only reason I can see that one wouldn't want to do it a close to serving time as they can make it is because they don't have a big enough pot. We are talking about boiling water and dropping the crustacean in... nothing more. Yea you can drop a knife point through the eyes (and I do just in case) but this is not a creature with an overly complex CNS (there is truth to signs up in norther Maine and Newfoundland offering "Bugs and Beer" on the side of the beach roads).

    I have always tried to buy just as much as I need or a bit more. Always cook whatever you get within 12 hours. I make lobster salad with some celery, s&p, very light mayo and a touch (just as a background flavor) of curry powder. I think it keeps better that way.
  • Post #11 - January 3rd, 2009, 1:03 pm
    Post #11 - January 3rd, 2009, 1:03 pm Post #11 - January 3rd, 2009, 1:03 pm
    firefirev2 wrote:So does this decomposing thing happen only with the maine lobster or all lobsters? What kind do you get at dicks or burhops?
    And wont a lobster die in the fridge in a matter of hours?
    Another thing..I was wondering can i cook all the lobsters and then store the meat for a while?
    Thanks


    As i originally Posted "The innards start to decompose very quickly when the lobster dies."
    That is more the problem than the meat if removed from a cooked lobster right after cooking. Cooked meat removed from the shell will last a day or two at least. If a lobster is dead, the innards are decomposing and the lobster if for the trash. If the lobster is cooked the innards are also decomposing which is why you want to remove the meat from the shell as soon as possible.
    Frozen lobster tails have had thier body cavities removed and as such the uncooked tail will keep frozen. I have seen Maine lobsters offered frozen or maybe they were from Canada, and don't know what they do to the lobster.
    You have to realize that these are two different species, the 'Homarus americanus' which is commonly referred to as the Maine Lobster and the "Palinuridae" or Spiny Lobster which is always only sold frozen in the US because thier are no claws anyway. We don't eat Spiny Lobsters frozen.-Dick
  • Post #12 - January 2nd, 2014, 11:37 am
    Post #12 - January 2nd, 2014, 11:37 am Post #12 - January 2nd, 2014, 11:37 am
    Hi,

    Some years ago, I bought frozen, uncooked whole Maine lobsters on Argyle St. I cooked them promptly when I returned home to find a soupy interior instead of lobster meat.

    Recently after a bit of study, I bought frozen Maine lobster. I found a lobster industry website who indicated a thorough defrosting will net the best results. I allowed these lobsters two days to defrost, then let them sit out for 40 minutes before cooking.

    Because I really was't sure on how they may finish, I decided to cook them following the French Laundry butter poached methods.

    I fitted six chicken lobsters snugly into a 7-quart pot. I filled it with water, then dumped the water into another 7-quart pot. Once I saw the depth, I emptied and refilled the water to about the same level. I brought the water to a full boil, then added one-half cup vinegar (ratio of eight quarts to one-half cup vinegar). All this water was poured over the lobsters.

    I read where a two-pound lobster needed three minutes, I kept these roughly one-pound lobsters in for two minutes. I then lifted the lobsters onto a half-sheet baking pan. I pulled off the arms with claws and twisted off the tail. I returned the claws for an additional five minutes.

    While waiting for the claws, I removed the meat from the tails by pulling off the tail fins and poking my finger in to push out the tail meat. All recovered lobster meat was put on a paper towel lined tray. About the time I finished retrieving the tail meat, the claws were ready. I used my French knife to lightly crush the shells and remove the meat.

    From the head, I retrieved the liver from the lobster for the bisque. I removed the feathery lungs, too. I used all the heads and shells to make bisque.

    I melted butter into a 10-inch pan, cut the tail meat into one-inch wide sections. Once dinner was about five minutes away from serving, I began poaching the lobster. I flipped it over midway, then added all the bits of lobster that I had retrieved.

    I enjoyed the process of making the poached lobster. I liked the outcome of warm, buttery lobster. My family wasn't quite as enthusiastic. I was asked to make it the regular way next time.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #13 - January 3rd, 2014, 8:54 am
    Post #13 - January 3rd, 2014, 8:54 am Post #13 - January 3rd, 2014, 8:54 am
    In this day and age, living around Chicago, there is no reason to purchase frozen Maine Lobster.
    The reason that you see them sold frozen is usually because they have died. I have seen them sold live with no tank in some markets.
    H-Mart usually has them live in tanks for about $7/#.
    Lobster are easy to cook. For best results, steam or boil for about 10 min for up to 1&1/4# lobsters.
    Get at the meat however you want.
    Simple, delicious.
    Lobsters come in boxes at H-Mart from refrigerated shipping. I have unpacked them myself at H-Mart.
    They can with the correct environment exist out of water for a day or so.
    Last Monday purchased Lobsters for New Years Eve from H-Mart and held in a cooler on top of ice layer. Kept fine until cooked. We serve with melted butter and lemon wedge.
    I've had Maine Lobster from right out of the Trap to from tanks in Chicago.
    Quality varies by season.
    What i look for is a Lobster that comes out of the tank with it's claws held high and back arched and/or tail rapidly flapping.
    Any Lobsters with drooping tail and claws goes back into the tank.
    I travel with a large cooler suitable for the Lobsters and enough ice to keep the them cold until I reach home.-Dick
  • Post #14 - January 3rd, 2014, 9:14 am
    Post #14 - January 3rd, 2014, 9:14 am Post #14 - January 3rd, 2014, 9:14 am
    Dick,

    Add to your list that you should only buy lobsters with Hard Shells. Lobsters with soft shells have recently molted, which means that you will frequently get a low meat/shell ratio because the lobsters have not yet grown into their new larger shells.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #15 - January 3rd, 2014, 10:52 am
    Post #15 - January 3rd, 2014, 10:52 am Post #15 - January 3rd, 2014, 10:52 am
    budrichard wrote:In this day and age, living around Chicago, there is no reason to purchase frozen Maine Lobster.

    I was in Waukegan at Lewis Market killing time. These frozen Maine lobsters were $3.99 a pound. I agree these were ones who died, I knew what I was getting into. Plus after an early unpleasant experience with frozen lobsters, I did my homework before doing this.

    I certainly wanted to try butter poaching, which I knew my family would not have tolerated at $7 or more per pound. If I wanted to make bisque only, these frozen lobsters would have been suitable, too.

    Molting season for lobsters is June through November. I found this interesting article on Serious Eats related to lobsters, specifically a taste test between soft and hard shell lobsters. There is also information on the cost per pound of lobster meat from soft and hard shell lobsters.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - January 3rd, 2014, 3:36 pm
    Post #16 - January 3rd, 2014, 3:36 pm Post #16 - January 3rd, 2014, 3:36 pm
    I have no experience with cooking live lobsters, but for cooking frozen tails I have had good success on the grill. I follow the cooking directions from an old Weber charcoal cooking cookbook. Defrost the tails. I prefer about 8oz size; make as many as you can eat. Trim the belly shell and swimmers off, crack the shell backwards to prevent curling, baste with butter, toss on the coals for 10 min a side or until sufficiently red, and then chow down with some melted butter for dipping. There's nothing better to eat.
    I just want to eat what I want and be left alone.
  • Post #17 - January 4th, 2014, 10:09 am
    Post #17 - January 4th, 2014, 10:09 am Post #17 - January 4th, 2014, 10:09 am
    stevez wrote:Dick,

    Add to your list that you should only buy lobsters with Hard Shells. Lobsters with soft shells have recently molted, which means that you will frequently get a low meat/shell ratio because the lobsters have not yet grown into their new larger shells.


    Growing up in Boston and spending summers in Maine, I never remember encountering a soft shelled lobster.
    When we moved to the Midwest prices seemed to average about $10/# in the '60's to $15/# in decades to come when you could find a source of live Maine Lobster. When we moved close to the Chicago area Dominick's in Waukgan kept us supplied at about $10/#. With the advent of H-Mart andperusing China Town, Pricing dropped to $6 to $8 a pound.
    H-Mart's price usually decreases in the summer and the lobsters are mostly the soft shelled ones but still can be tasty and considering inflation, a bargain compared to 30 years ago. Last ones we had for New Years eve were $6.95/# if I remember correctly and soft shelled but very tasty. I believe there is a glut of lobsters presently on the market.
    I wish I had looked at the boxes closer a few weeks ago when I helped unpack a box to get my lobsters to see if from Canada or New England.
    So to get to my point, with the price point of lobsters to day from places like H-Mart,it really doesn't matter to me if soft or hard shelled. We eat them every two weeks when I can get to H-Mart or Chinatown.
    China Mart used to have tank for 4-5#'s but alas no more. Those were great hard shelled lobsters.
    In conclusion, lobster prices are like a bargain for me today.-Dick
  • Post #18 - January 4th, 2014, 11:00 am
    Post #18 - January 4th, 2014, 11:00 am Post #18 - January 4th, 2014, 11:00 am
    While researching how to butterfly a lobster tail,I came across this site:http://www.lobsterhelp.com/lobster-facts.html
    I hope it will interest my fellow LTHForum members. :)
    It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use
    long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like
    “What about lunch?”
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  • Post #19 - January 6th, 2014, 11:13 am
    Post #19 - January 6th, 2014, 11:13 am Post #19 - January 6th, 2014, 11:13 am
    that's my favorite wrote:While researching how to butterfly a lobster tail,I came across this site:http://www.lobsterhelp.com/lobster-facts.html
    I hope it will interest my fellow LTHForum members. :)


    A nice resource!

    There is some body of thought that New England Lobster Regulations and Fisherman result in what would be termed aquaculture. The small illegal lobsters seek out the traps for food and are of course thrown back until legal size.
    The larger illegals are never kept, so they have a continuous source of food. There appears to have been a glut on the market in recent years from New England lobsters, depressing the price.
    So I guess we will leave it up to the Lobster Biologists to confirm or deny but the fishery seems to work at the present whereas so many other fisheries are depleted or in dire jeopardy such as the Maine Sweet Shrimp which has been closed for at least this season.
    If you have never tried these little morsels, they are very small, succulent and sweet but gone for now.-Richard

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