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Sep 19, 2009 09:57 AM

does overboiling live lobsters shrink their meats considerably?

i bought 4 live lobsters last time.
and i mis-caculated the weight of one of them. so i over-boiled the one. while measuring the temps of body by pircing the temp measurer through the inside of it , i l found out i a little over-boiled the one. so iexpected that one to be a little chewier. but what made me more disturbed was that the ratio of meats in the claws was too small in comparson with those of claw size.
so i think that i either bought the one without having enough meats inside or just failed it myself so making me too annoying while cooking the others whch were parboiled.
what do you think guys?

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  1. My Mom is a Chef and she told me what she says is a little known secret about lobsters. From the day they are caught, they are never fed. So if they sit in a tank at the grocery store for 1 week, they lose weight every day, yet their shell stays the same size. Often, the stronger ones will eat the weaker ones and middle ones won't get anything but skinny. So, you could have gotten one that lived a long time without eating.

    She told me this so that I would be sure to only buy lobsters the day they get them in or the day after only.

    4 Replies
    1. re: SparkleKristy

      so do you mean there is no or almost no chance that overboiling the lobsters makes their meats shrink significantly unless they are not fresh?

      1. re: hae young

        My opinion is it is very easy to overcook, or over-boil a lobster, which in turn leads to tougher chewier lobster meat and shrinkage as well.

        My preferred method is to steam lobsters over a double boil/steam insert/colander type set up where the lobsters are not immersed into the water. If that is not an option, then a gentle simmer of salted water is preferred over a rapid boil.

        I recall on one of Ming Tsai's cooking shows where he prefers to remove the legs and claws from the lobster first, and cook them separately from the body and tail. His reasoning was it takes less time to cook the legs and claws. While he boiled the body and tail in a larger pot, the legs and claws he simply placed in a stainless steel bowl and poured boiling water from a tea kettle over the parts and covered them with a lid or cover for 5-6 minutes. I have tried this method and it works well.

        With regards to over-boiling or over-cooking lobster,.....if you have ever left shrimp, in or out of the shell too long in the water, they shrink very small and become very hard.,,,,thus my preference to cook them more gently and for less time.

        1. re: hae young

          Hi Hae,

          Overcooking can make almost anything shrink, even a little. More likely though is that it didn't have much meat to begin with wit h either because it was starving or Veggo's excellent point about molting. The meat in a newly molted shell will be less but more tender, sweeter with less of the flavor of the sea.

          The overcooking would just exacerbate the situation when the meat was already low

          Here's some good info I found.


      2. This is the season when lobsters molt and shed their shell, and the new shell is very soft, and the flesh is soft and there is a lot of liquid in the claw shells. But that has nothing to do with cooking. Over-boiling will make the meat tough, especially in the tail, and takes away from the sweetness.