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Jul 5, 2006 06:49 PM

Lobster Rolls-Help!

We are having birthday celebration for my wife's 80 year old grandmother. She fondly remembers a trip she took to Maine years ago; The thing she talks about the most are lobster rolls. So I want to surprise her by making lobster rolls, but I have never made them. I have had them in NYC and LA (@ the Hungry Cat)but not sure if the ones I had are genuine representations.

My plan is to buy a dozen or so lobsters as I figure one per person. I will then cook them, get the tail meat..but then what?

This is where I need your help: Do I just use the tail meat or do I use the claw meat also? How finely do I chop the meat? Do I need to cook the lobsters the day of or can it be done the day before and then finished off the day of? Are there variations to lobster rolls, or are ingredients pretty standard?

So, please provide me with a recipe for lobster rolls. I think the simpler the better, to allow the flavor of the lobster to shine.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

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  1. The best lobster rolls tends to be really simple-- lobster with homemade mayonaise in a buttered, toasted split top roll. Cook the lobster in the morning so that it has a chance to chill. Lemon, tarragon, chopped celery are all occasional additions. It is a very rich dish so keep portions small. You really don't need a lobster per person-- maybe 1/2 or 2/3 of a cup of lobster salad per person to fill the bun generously.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JudiAU

      Thanks JudiAU for the prompt reply.

      ?Split top roll-I take it that these are similar to a hot dog bun? Is there a certain brand that people prefer? Are they readily available? Im in Los Angeles, in case there is a local purveyor. Thanks.

      1. re: ickster

        Split top rolls are the New Englanders version of a hot dog bun. It is a roll in the shape of a hot dog bun, but with a slit in the top of it. They taste exactly the same as a hot dog bun (in my experience), but hold the meat slightly differently.

        1. re: MalinDC

          they're also key b/c its easier to butter and grill/toast the outside of the roll since top split buns don't have the 'crust' all the way around...they're more like a piece of white bread folded in half which was my first impression upon seeing them (i'm from CA but went to school in Maine). On what to put in the lobster roll: tiny bit of mayo, maybe a little celery, salt pepper. Perfection!

        2. re: ickster

          Not sure if you'll be able to find them there - but you can find them online here: or here:

          Also - when you mix in the mayo, keep the mayo at a MINIMUM. Just barely enough to bind the (large!) lobster chunks together. It should in no way look like the gushy tuna or chicken salad you buy at delis.

          1. re: ickster

            The standard brand on the East Coast is Pepperidge Farm but they don't distribute here. A regular hot dog bun is the usual sub.

        3. Use the tail and the claw meat - rough chopped so there are substantial chunks in every bite, piled high on a buttered, toasted hot dog bun and topped with a dollop of mayo.

          what i cook ----->

          1. If you find split-top rolls in LA, please let me know too. BTW - I prefer lobster rolls with a bit of mayo and celery, but there's another version that's just lobster meat and melted butter stuffed into the grilled split top roll.

            1. Absolutely use the claw meat -- one beauty of the lobster roll is that smaller pieces don't go to waste.

              And seriously, if you can get split top rolls by all means use them for exactly the reason BHK reported: the outside of a split top roll rests on the heat surface for toasting whereas the only way to do a hotdog bun is to splay it open and rest the insides on the grill (usually breaking it in the process).

              1. If you're serious about your lobster rolls, I guess you could bake your own roll. Here's the "correct" pan, from the King Arthur's Flour folks:


                I haven't tried Hungry Cat yet, but understand they use a brioche, which they don't claim as authentic. I've had all my lobster rolls in Boston.

                What's bugging me, though, is that if the King Arthur's pan makes the authentic buns, why couldn't you just buy an unsliced loaf of dense white bread, cut thick slices that you then put a slit into and toast with a brushing of butter? If anyone's ever used one of these pans, I'd love to know how it works.

                Good luck and be sure to make a fabulous lobster stock with all those left-over shells.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mrs Fang

                  Simmer the shells with white wine, carrots, onions, and tomato paste (20 minutes or so). Then strain, add whipping cream and reduce. Makes a lovely bisque. Crush a few eggs into the bisque to heighten the colour.