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Dec 29, 2008 08:13 AM

Lobsters a day ahead?

Hey Hounds,
I did do a search but didn't find exactly the information I needed. I'm making a small course of broiled lobster meat as part of my New Year's Dinner and I was wondering if I can steam them the night before and finish them under the broiler on the big day.

I would assume the meat would be ok as long as it's not overcooked. Any thoughts?

Thanks and Happy Holidays!


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  1. This should be fine. You might consider only par-steaming or par-boiling instead of cooking until all the way done. I was making baked stuffed lobsters on X-Mas day and because I was buying them on Wednesday and cooking on Thursday, the fishmonger suggested par baking the lobsters. I did not take his advice, hoping that lobsters would stay alive 24 hours wrapped in seaweed and damp newspapers, unfortunately I lost one 2 pounder.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bakerboyz

      I'm really surprised you lost one. I buy lobsters the day before I need them all the time, keep them wrapped in damp newspaper (where in the world do you find seaweed?!?) overnight, and haven't lost one yet. Are you really sure it was dead? Maybe s/he was just taking a nap?

      1. re: JoanN

        Very much dead. The fishmonger where I bought the lobsters had seaweed to wrap the lobsters in and they also wrapped them in damp newspapers.

      2. re: bakerboyz

        I don't want to highjack this thread, but your lobster must have been near dead when you bought it. I have kept lobsters alive in my veggie bin for up to three days. I never wrap them though, just makesure the fridge is nice and cold. And I have kept 6 or 7 alive at one time, divided in my meat/veggie drawers. Not one had expired in over 30 years.

        When I was lobstering (commercial), this is the way all the lobster/fish people did it with great success.

        There was always an unwritten rule of thumb to tell if a lobster that had expired, was still good to eat. When you hold it up and it's dropping, immediately steam it. Make sure you fold the tail under the lobster and sit it in the pot. After steaming, pick the lobster up. If the tail stays tightly tucked under the lobster (just as it would if it were alive when you placed it in the steamer), then it's fine to eat. We lost plenty of lobsters, due to refrigeration, or lack of and gave many parties to friends and family, without one person ever getting sick. Like I said, these rules are coming from people who live and work on the ocean, so I took it for trrue. I am not promoting cooking dead lobsters, but I would never throw out a 2lb lobster without cooking it first. And I have seen the ones that are too far gone to eat. The whole lobster droops coming out of the steamer, just like it went in. And that was when we tossed it! And if you don't want to try my method, no harm done. : )

      3. My neighbor chef guy made tons of lobster for his wife's birthday. He par steamed/boiled them at work, shocked them in ice water, kept them on ice until he barbequed them whole on the grill. They were delicious!

        1. I'm not saying this is a bad idea, especially if you are good at paying attention so as not to overcook. But, my questions would be these: How much longer would it take to broil them raw? What would the advantage be to cooking them ahead of time. Are you really saving any time at all? What would finishing them mean? Getting them a little crispy edge? My guess is that by the time it takes to get the crispy edge, you're looking at VERY minimal time from that crispy edge to them being fully cooked. Steaming them ahead of time seems like you will take twice the time to cook them, and too much risk of overcooking to me, anyway. I will say, that I have no idea what your course will consist of, so if you're going to shell the lobster, and then plate it or shell it, and combine with other ingredients, then it might make sense to pre-cook it. Although, even with other ingredients, the cooking time on lobster is still minimal.

          3 Replies
          1. re: gordeaux

            Thanks. This is a small course that is part of a long and elaborate dinner. The lobsters will be shelled and served with a sauce made with the shells and some veggies and other yummy things so it helps me out a lot not to have to make it the night of along with another 7 courses.

            I will make sure they don't overcook!

            Thanks again to all for the advice.

            1. re: JeremyEG

              What will be hard to do is to have a good "inside" temperature when broiling them.

              par-boiling them in advance is the key, so that the rest will be cooked through (sp?) when put under the broil.

              I don't know how safe it can be to get them out the fridge an hour or so before broiling them to help acheive the proper temperature inside the lobster.

            2. re: gordeaux

              preparation/"mise en place" is sometime the best way to have a successful dinner party.

              depending on the quantity, it can be a huge investment in time and effort on the night of the dinner (except when it's a lobster cookout).

            3. Thank for your help you guys. I parboiled the lobsters for about 3 minutes and then chilled them in an ice bath. That night I shelled them and used the shells to make a sauce.

              The dish is Broiled Lobster with Curry and Tomato Lobster Butter. Really yummy. We had it with a Rose Champagne (tough wine pairing so I wasn't sure what to do!).

              Thanks again guys.

              3 Replies
              1. re: JeremyEG

                Here's the pic I couldn't figure out how to upload.

                  1. re: JeremyEG

                    I'd love to see the photos, JeremyEG.

                    See if this helps. The ideal size for uploading a photo to this site is 520 pixels in width and 390 pixels in height (assuming the photograph is wider than it is tall). The photo also needs to be 2MB or smaller, but that usually happens automatically once you've resized it.

                    If you need any additional help, let us know whether you're on Mac or PC and what photo editing software you use.