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Dec 23, 2010 04:19 PM

let them steam my lobster or do it myself?

I am buying 4 lobsters for xmas eve dinner they will steam at the store, but I don't know how long they stay fresh or best way to store-reheat or should I just steam at party myself if they have a good pot?best recipe?

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  1. Best recipe: put a little bit of water in pot. Bring to boil. Dump in Lobsters. Cover. Take out 15-20 minutes later.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbp

      lobster meat doesn't reheat well at all. unless you're bringing them directly from the store, cook at the party.

      however, check first with your host that there will be room on the stove, crackers and sufficient napkins and towels to clean up. they leave a lot of detritus when all is said and done.

    2. Fill pot with salted water - enough to cover lobsters. Bring to boil and put in lobsters. Cover, bring back to boil and once boiling cook for 7 min then 1 minute for each additional pound after one pound.

      1. Have you cooked a live lobster in the past? It can be a wee bit unnerving, but if you have a large pot with a tight or heavy lid, (trust me, the lid is key), you should be fine. As was suggested, you can either steam or boil; I usually use about 4 inches of water, heavily salted, in the bottom of the pot. Not enough to cover the critters, but enough so that I'm not worried about it boiling away. They will probably try to escape the pot, so be prepared for that, and be swift. The first time that I cooked a lobster, and a dungeness crab for that matter, I admit to being a bit tingly in the fingers and weak in the knees.

        You don't need a crazy rock and roll boil once they're in, just a soft boil. Any whistling sounds are not vocalization, lobsters have no vocal cords and no central nervous system.

        Other handy things to have are a nice big glass of wine, and a husband who (unlike mine) won't name the lobsters, and invent little life stories for them. Sheesh.

        Good luck, and happy lobster eating!

        16 Replies
        1. re: SherBel

          I don't salt the water for steaming; I find lobster meat is naturally plenty salty. I'm also not sure if the salt rises with the steam or just stays in solution and concentrates in the boiling water.

          1. re: sbp

            The best lobster in the world is boiled in salty sea water in a giant iron kettle at the Trenton Bridge lobster pound in Maine. Anything else pales by comparison, so I do use sea salt in my lobster water. Next summer, I plan to cart home jugs of ocean water for it.

            1. re: mcf

              +1 for ocean water - Cold feet and hands are a small price to pay for deliciousness!

              1. re: mcf

                I agree if you're boiling you would want to use salty water to maintain equilibrium. But if you're steaming, does salt have any effect at all?

                1. re: sbp

                  I don't know, I gave up steaming for boiling after eating my weight in delicious sea water boiled lobsters in Maine. :-) I don't know what you mean by "equilibrium." It just tastes much better, all those minerals and stuff. It was really a revelation to us.

                  1. re: mcf

                    By equilibrium, I meant the balancing of salt in the water with salt in the lobster. Same idea of brining. I suppose if you boil in fresh water, natural salt in the lobster will migrate into the water, diluting the flavor of the lobster. So salting the water makes sense.

                      1. re: sbp

                        Actually, the fresh water will diffuse into the lobster, diluting the salt content.

                        1. re: EricMM

                          Both happen in a salt solution, don't they? Fresh water diffuses into the lobster, salt water from the lobster diffuses into the cooking water. Same principle as brining. Salt content seeks to equalize.

                          1. re: sbp

                            Salt water contained between the shell and the flesh may diffuse out, but any salts within the flesh cannot diffuse...only water can. So pure fresh water will diffuse into the lobster meat, diluting its salt content.

              2. re: SherBel

                We always wind up naming one of them "fluffy". We also let them have lobster races across the kitchen floor before cooking.

                1. re: tzurriz

                  I refer to lobsters as "bunnies". I think one of the reasons I love lobsters so much is that they give me a chance to play with my food. I steam lobsters in only an inch of water, salted, and sometimes seasoned with peppercorns/cilantro roots/parsley/allspice/dried hot pepper/bay leaf (no, not all at once, just any 2-3 things from that list). Actually, during peak season, spring and summer, I just use salt. Off season, when lobsters are less sweet, is when I use the other ingredients. I find that lobsters lose flavor from August to November (earlier for NY area lobsters, later for Canadian lobsters) and finally begin to pick up flavor again in December when the water gets cold.

                  1. re: EricMM

                    I love Maine lobster in August and September, especially hard shell. I don't think they lose flavor so much as they differ, and each person has a different preference. Similarly, I don't like eating lobsters under 2 lbs very much, or bigger than 4 lbs. The sweet spot is right in the middle for me.

                    1. re: mcf

                      The main flavor difference to me is a loss of appears that the warmer the water, the less sweet the flesh. In the days when lobsters were available from LI Sound, they were already bland by July. I definitely agree about hard shell lobsters..softer ones can taste OK, but there's very little meat...maybe they might be OK for grilling. And I definitely agree about the ideal personal lobster is 2.5 lbs, or half a 4 lb. I'm OK with bigger ones, but I definitely prefer females, and females over 4 lbs are infrequent. But I don't think you can get lobsters over 3 lbs from Maine..they have a maximum size limit. The big ones come from Canada, sometimes from off Block Island.

                  2. re: tzurriz

                    My cat has respect for lobsters ever since I ended up with ones that didn't have banded claws.

                    1. re: Barbara76137

                      I always check the claws before putting them on the floor for my cats to check out.

                2. One trick I learned from a Mark Bitmann video was to have the market steam the lobsters for 4 - 5 minutes for me, so they were killed and not so subject to deterioration after I brought them home. Then I can finish cooking them at dinner time whether by broiling, grilling, stuffing and baking or steaming. It has taken a lot of the hassle out of it for me.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: junescook

                    I also should have said that this is the best way when you're making things with picked out lobster, done ebnough to get out of the shells, but not fully cooked.

                    Merry Christmas from all of us, alpacas, cats and parrot too:

                  2. If you can go straight to the party from the store, have them steam the lobsters. Easier and less traumatic for the hosts and you. Take with you to the store an insulated cooker containing a warm brick, hot water bottle, or hand-warmer packet and some towels. Wrap the bag of lobsters and the heating device in the towels and head for the party.