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Jan 8, 2010 05:00 AM

Lobsters for 80?

So I'm new to this forum but from what I've read so far it looks like an awesome place for someone interested in cooking.

Here's my conundrum. I'm hosting a dinner for 80 in a few weeks and we're serving lobster. Now I'd like to be able to serve everyone at once but I'm struggling to find a way to cook that many, the most I've done at once so far is 30.

Any tips? I'm assuming that steaming is the way to go for quantity but can't find a vessel large enough to put them in.

Any help greatly appreciated!


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  1. Wow! that sounds crazy!
    Not sure if you're trying to go for a whole lobster presentation or not, but if it doesn't matter you could par-boil the lobsters in batches, remove the meat, and then reheat it in butter when its time to serve.
    Best of luck!

    1. If you are planning for each person to have an entire lobster, I'd find someplace to steam them for you know anyone with a restaurant or commercial kitchen? Perhaps you can get the place where you are buying your lobster to cook them for you. That really is a lot to take on if you are attempting to do it from your home unless you have the proper amount of kitchen equipment or at the very least a commercial steamer. Personally, I'd switch to another entree for that amount of people. I hope you have some help.

      1. This will be a disaster if you are trying to whole lobsters unless you are doing this in a commercial environment with a bank of steamers or braising kettles.

        I would suggest doing something along the lines of Lobster Thermidor or Newberg, the addition of the sauce will mask over-cooking problems and retain heat.

        Even then how many ovens do you have I have 4 at my house and still this would be a huge challenge.

        8 Replies
        1. re: RetiredChef

          One way,( though totally impractical ) and I am not even sure how it is done, is the classic clambake style of building a large fire in a pit, covering in seaweed, and wet burlap, then adding the lobsters. clams etc and covering with more seaweed etc, saw it done as a kid, but that was longer ago then I care to admit

          1. re: mmalmad

            Thanks for the feedback everyone!

            What I'm noodling at the moment is using large metal tubs over outdoor burners (think turkey frier), to do a new england clambake of sorts. The only pots I can find that are large enough aren't actually pots but galvanized tubs. The galvanizing gives me pause but theoretically if you are steaming than all the steam would be 100% pure water vapor even if something was given off by the galvanizing, think distillation. Not 100% on this by any means but it seems like in theory it should work right?

            To answer a few earlier questions though. I'm really hoping to go for the whole presentation, full lobster per person. We have 4 ovens but I don't think that's enough.

            Thanks again everyone!

            1. re: JLambert

              Turkey fryer is exactly what I was going to recommend. Mine came equipped with inserts for doing seafood boils, and such. I don't know that you could to all 80 in one rig... might have to put out your feelers and borrow a couple more...

              1. re: JLambert

                Here's a method I've seen employed for outdoor barbecue picnics to boil fresh corn and crabs.....I have also seen this method used by one commercial traveling clambake company in the past as well.

                Cinder blocks were placed on the ground and a grill grate was placed across them to suspend a simple galvanized garbage can with lid over charcoals....The garbage cans were probably in the 30 gallon range.

                1. re: fourunder

                  And I think you can definitely get 80 lobsters in that size can.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Why not just dig a pit in the ground, like old times. Line with rocks, seaweed, etc. you could def. fit that many lobsters in. Sure google has instructions on it.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      If you are willing to dig and bring the amount of rocks and wood necessary for your method......I'll bring the lobsters....:)

                      1. re: fourunder

                        Can you come out to the West Coast? And I'm not the digger, I'm the shopper, driver and cook, so I'll go ahead and delegate that to you.....LOL!

              1. re: gourmet wife

                Just a quick follow up. For anyone interested in cooking large batches of lobster it's actually remarkably straightforward. We cooked 80 using 2 turkey burners and 2 large galvanized tubs from a local farm store. You line the bottom of the tubs with seaweed and about 2 bottles of white wine. Layer the lobsters and top with corn and partially cooked potatoes. I sprinkled a little old bay over the top mostly for the potatoes and corn but everyone has their own preferences there. From there we just closed in the top with wide tinfoil sheets and placed on the burners. 45 minutes later you have a fantastic presentation and everyone thinks you pulled off some great cooking feat which in all reality is really pretty easy. Thanks again for all the help!

                  1. re: JLambert

                    Amazing! Who are you? Dinner Impossible??

                      1. re: JLambert

                        Aren't the galvanized tubs toxic and coated with lead? I want to do the same thing but I'm told not to use galvanized tubs.

                    1. The final product!