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Traveling with Lobsters

I'm interested in buying a few lobsters to travel to the midwest next week.

Firstly, since lobsters are food and will be packaged with ice - can we travel with them now with all the restrictions?

Can anyone recommend a Boston-area location (prefer North/West of town) that will package them for traveling?

And, if we purchase the lobsters the evening before we travel - do we need to eat them that day that we arrive?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Call ahead to James Hook, pay by credit card. Pick them up on _the way_ to the airport, ready to go, and packed for travel, with ice packs and seasweed. You can check them thru.
    You probably have til the next day to eat them.

    1. Second the James Hook thing, although not for the squeamish...they pack them in pretty tight and the idea of confining a living creature in that manner could be potentially upsetting.

      Also, remember NOT to put them in fresh water in your guest's bathtub when you arrive at your destination in an effort at penance for the cramped transportation situation.

      AND if you suddenly realize that fresh water will "drown" them, please remember that adding table salt to the bathtub really will not approximate the salinity of sea water.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        The only thing NOT packing them tightly does is allow them to get banged around while traveling....

        1. re: galleygirl

          That's a good point - but Hook just jams the creatures into a foam container, puts in a silver ice pack and a handful of seaweed. Then staples the lid shut. I think they could use a bigger box and use more filler that would provide protection.

          Yeah, I know...I am going to scald them to death in the end - but if I had to kill the cute little cows and sea bugs all the time, I would probably be a vegetarian. Let's hear it for alienation.

        2. re: Bob Dobalina

          Uh. Is that the voice of experience? lol!

        3. The original comment has been removed
          1. If they include seaweed, make sure to use some in the water you cook the lobsters in, and take off the rubber bands from the claws before cooking too.

            1. re: Infomaniac

              Er, um, if you take the rubber bands off _before_ cooking, you'll have to deal with one angry lobster!

              1. re: galleygirl

                I worked clambakes for years and we ALWAYS left the rubber bands on.

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    maybe it's me, but I have this idea that the taste of the rubber will transfer to the lobster....i know it probably doesn't but i have my own issues.
                    i''ve never had an issue though getting lobsters into the pot without the rubber bands.

                    1. re: Infomaniac

                      How many fingers do you have?

                      Like ChrisVR, I did lobsterbakes for many years, and cooking 100 pounds of lobster a week,(at one go) no one ever tasted the rubberbands...I have issues too, like enjoying all my digits...;)

                      1. re: galleygirl

                        still got all my fingers, just a few lost marbles.

                1. re: galleygirl

                  Lol, we're aren't talking 22 pounders here are we? The average 1.5 to 2.5 pounders is fairly easily relieved of the rubber bands and should be. I understand that it would be a hassle in clambake quantities but when dealing with 2 to 6, especially when steaming as opposed to boiling them remove the bands. Would you throw a flip-flop in as a Boquet Garni? Simple criss-cross the claws in front of the lobster with two hands. While holding them in place with your off-hand cut the band with your dominant hand. You can do it, I promise. DW at 5' nothing and 105lbs. does it all the time :-))

                  1. re: Harp00n

                    I have a good size lobster stock pot with a steaming basket. I usually use a oven-mit to hold the lobsters when I cut the bands, then thow the lobsters in the basket and drop it in the pot.
                    If I had to do 100 lobsters, I'd leave the bands on.

                    1. re: Infomaniac

                      Well that'll certainly work as well, Infomaniac. I'm also glad to see you steam them bugs as opposed to boiling 'em.

                      1. re: Harp00n

                        Why steam instead of boil? I have always boiled, as do most ME lobsta pounds.

                  2. re: galleygirl

                    lobsters are banded primarily to keep them from eating each other. the protection that the bands offer us is secondary.

              2. I'll also advocate James Hook as a good option. I travelled with their lobsters all the way to Hong Kong and Australia before. Have them pack it with dry ice. Our lobsters arrived alive and kicking. I believe we did eat them the day we arrived, more because storing them would be a pain. If you're not sure (it may vary on airlilnes), you can call ahead and make sure it's still kosher.

                1. If you aren't up for dealing with the traffic around James Hook, you can head straight to the airport, where the Legal Sea Foods locations in Terminals B and C sell live lobsters.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: North Ender

                    I agree- if you want to avoid the hassle but don't mind spending more - Legal's at the airport is a good place to buy live lobster to fly. I only had a short trip to DC - so I got one from Anthony's Pier 4 at American Airlines Terminal B - and it was a perfect surprise for my parents who love fresh seafood.

                    1. re: toffifay

                      Thank you so much for your wisdom. I was just doing a search on this very subject as we are going to be travelling 20+hours by box truck (humans in front/cargo in back)- and my husband wanted to suprise the ppl with lobsters. It usually takes us an overnight stay and then a whole days drive through the next night to get where we are going. Would the lobsters last that long in dry ice/newspaper/ layers in a cooler? We know of a place that sells 13 for $70- culls. Could we just then keep them in the coolers with the dry ice until it is time to boil them? I don't think the fridge at our destination has room for 13 in the veggie/meat bins.
                      Thank you so much.