Lobster Cooking and Eating

Uploaded by TheUniversityofMaine on 22.10.2012

Jason Bolton: Hello. My name is Jason Bolton. I'm the University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Food Safety Specialist. Today I have with me Bob Bayer.
Bob Bayer: I'm Bob Bayer, Executive Director of the Lobster Institute at the University
of Maine, and also Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
Jason: Today Bob and I are going to be talking about the proper ways to cook and prep lobsters.
Bob: A Maine lobster's probably the icon for Maine. It's our most famous seafood. Probably
internationally, it is the most famous seafood, perhaps, in the world. It's well known for
its flavor. It's the prized seafood.
It's not only good, but it's good for you. It has less total fat and cholesterol than
lean beef, poached eggs, even roasted, skinless chicken breast. It's high in iron, zinc, potassium,
magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, B12, B6, B3, and B2, so it's good and good
for you.
When we buy lobsters in Maine or anywhere else, depending on the time of the year, we
may be buying hard-shell lobsters, shedder lobsters or soft-shell, or new-shell lobsters.
The new-shell lobster tends to have a lesser meat yield. Some people think the flavor is
better. The hard-shell has more meat, but it's certainly harder to get into. Usually
you need a nutcracker, or sometimes a hammer.
The lobsters we're using today are new-shell lobsters. One of the ways you can tell...just
by looking at them. You can touch them. The shell has some give to it. If you turn the
lobster over, if this were a hard-shell lobster, it would be black. There would be bits of
black, it would be very dark, and the lobster would obviously be very hard.
Some people prefer one sex lobster over the other. This is a male. The reason we know
is...We look at the structure right here. In the male, it's armor-plated with shell
material, hard and bony. In the female, the same organ is soft and feathery.
Many people prefer a female. In this female, when it's cooked, there is what's called the
"coral" by the consumer. It's actually the ovary. It's bright red. It's waxy in consistency.
Many people do like to eat that, so they'll ask for a female lobster.
Jason: Let's talk about the most common ways to cook live lobsters. Three most common ways
are boiling, steaming, or grilling them.
Bob: It's best to take the rubber bands off. It's just a good idea to take them off if
you have the time and are not doing mass quantity. A knife works well.
Jason: The first procedure we're going to talk about is boiling. In order to start this
process, you want to get a large stock pot, fill it about three-quarters of the way full
with either sea water, or you could even add salt to tap water. We're going to do that.
It's about a tablespoon of salt per quart of water.
Get this to a rolling boil, and then you want to add your lobsters. Bob has already removed
the rubber bands from these ones. You drop them in, and you bring it back to kind of
a simmer.
The timing for this, how does this work? About 18 minutes for a pound to a quarter-pound
lobster. For anything larger, about one-and-a-half pounds, it's about 20 minutes. If you're using
soft-shells, you want to make sure you reduce this time by approximately three minutes.
Steaming is very similar to boiling. Obviously, you use less water. When you start the actual
steaming process, you're going to use about two inches of water at the bottom of a large
stock pot. You can use sea water or, once again, you can use salted water. Same ratios
apply as boiling.
We want to remove the rubber bands, which has already been done, and you're going to
drop the lobsters in. The cook time is also pretty much the same. For a pound to a pound-and-a-quarter
lobster, you're going to do about 18 minutes. The cook time for over a pound-and-a-half
or about a pound-and-a-half is 20 minutes. You're going to reduce this time by three
minutes if you're talking or using soft-shell lobsters.
If you decide to grill the lobsters, the first thing you want to do is parboil them. Same
procedure as boiling, except you're only going to boil them for about five minutes. Once
the lobsters come to a rolling boil -- you've set them for five minutes -- you want to remove
the lobsters and put them in cold water.
You're going to remove the lobsters and put them in an ice bath. This stops the cooking
process. About 50 percent ice, 50 percent cold water.
After they've cooled down, you're going to remove them from the ice water. Try to remove
as much of the water as possible. After they've been removed from the cold water, they can
be either put into a plastic bag for storage in the refrigerator, or frozen. Or we go onto
the next step, which is grilling.
Bob: This process involves taking our knife and... [sounds of cutting] ...as long as you're
on the center...you open it up. There are a couple things that we will remove. First
is the tomalley, which is right here. The sand sack, but it's actually the stomach. We'll also remove the intestine,
which is in the tail. [crunching sound] Oops.
Sometimes the intestine is hard to see. If it's not full, it's not pigmented. Oh, here
it is. There's the intestine. Often it's full and pigmented, and it's a lot easier to see.
This one is relatively empty. There it is. We'll remove the intestine because sometimes
that can impart a flavor.
Jason: You want to add some kind of butter or olive oil to the lobster before you grill
it. This helps with the sticking and also helps with flavor.
Once you've done the parboiling and you've done all the prep work by splitting the lobster,
you can now put them on the grill. You want to put them on the grill flesh-side down,
making sure to spread the lobster's cavity here as you place it down, and also open up
the tail a little bit. Make sure the tail is folded out like that with the cavity open.
You're going to cook them flesh-side down for five to six minutes. You're going to want
to make sure also that the lid of the grill is put down during this whole process. Then
you're going to flip them and cook them another four to five minutes. You'll want to do it
on relatively low heat because the lobster shell and the meat can burn pretty easily.
One anatomical fact about the lobsters. They have very distinct claws. There's one claw
that's the ripping claw, the ripper claw. It's got serrated edges on the inside here.
It's literally for ripping things or tearing things apart. It's usually smaller than the
other claw, which is the crushing claw, a lot larger. It's used for grasping things
and breaking things. These can switch. They're not always on necessarily the left side or
the right side, they can switch back and forth.
For more information on cooking and preparing lobsters, you can visit the University of
Maine Cooperative Extension website or...
Bob: ...the Lobster Institute website at the University of Maine.