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May 12, 2012 02:18 PM

Frozen lobster tails: meat sticks to shell

I have bought newly available frozen cold water lobster tails five times in the in the last 2 months.
They are about 4oz each and probably come from Canada because Maine caught lobsters have bigger tails. I have tried steaming and boiling them. The meat sticks to the shell quite stubbornly.
I tried steaming with some butter in the water, cooking them while still frozen solid and also fully defrosted. Getting live lobster is a once or twice a year event for us, being over 3000 miles west of Maine. Having a convenient and inexpensive option is great. How do I keep the meat from sticking?

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  1. Whole Lobster is often frozen live and it is common for the meat to bond tightly to the shell.
    Cracking the shell thoroughly and using a grapefruit knife to remove the meat works fairly well.

    5 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        I did not know that lobsters are routinely frozen whole. I thought the eleventh commandment was "Lobsters must be cooked live".
        Thanks for the answers and links.

        1. re: justicenow

          Fortunately for me, I live in an area where Maine Lobster goes on sale fresh live lobster is not a problem. In the future, I would suggest if purchasing frozen Maine Lobster, purchase ones that have already been cooked and not frozen live. Cooked lobster will be red in color, as opposed to the brownish green lobster that has not been cooked. My experience is lobster frozen live....the meat/flesh dries out and shrinks while sticking to the shells as well....and ultimately, not a very good product.

          1. re: fourunder

            I would suggest that frozen cooked lobster bears no resemblance in taste to fresh steamed live lobster. Been there done that.

            In FL, there are warm water lobsters
            that have no claws to speak of. There, the lobster folks
            pick up the lobster, break the tail off, freeze the tail immediately and ship it to the stores. Cooked, the meat is 90+% as good as Maine Lobster and it doesn't stick to the shell. I found warm water lobster tails on Marco Island for $21/lb which is a pretty good price.

            I would guess the sticking to the shell issue is the lobster had been dead for a while before being frozen.
            If you have ever accidentally left your live lobster in the refrigerator too long and they died, and then you tried to cook it, you will know that strange stuff is the result.

            Here in Texas we get those tails also (apparently
            there is an overabundance of lobster this year - a huge
            bumper crop). I think that is why we are seeing $6/4oz tails. I wonder where the claws went. The first time
            I bought the tails, the meat acted normally and came out
            of the shell like fresh steamed lobster. Last three times I experienced the same stick-to-shell problem as seen here.

        2. re: fourunder

          I've used the method of cutting the shell prior to cooking which is shown on and it worked very well. I also really like the seasoned butter recipe, although I use minced fresh garlic rather than garlic powder.

      2. "cold water" lobster tails usually come from the southern hemisphere. Canadian lobster tails might actually be bigger than Maine tails, because Maine caps the size of lobsters to be harvested. My guess is that these are southern lobsters...are they very flat? Could be slipper lobsters...I've tried them and had the sticking issue.

        1. I lived in New England for the first quarter century of my life. I have been cooking lobster for more than 4 decades. Yes, Maine and Massachusetts now require that large lobsters be returned to make more baby lobsters. The Canadian smaller tail comment is because Canadian lobster people are allowed to keep lobsters that are about one pound or a little less. The New England states have a size requirement that results in lobsters of about 1 1/8 pound being the minimum.
          Canada has invested in live lobster and cooked lobster processing that has firmed up prices there.
          Linda Bean, of LL Bean fame, has been investing a lot of money in doing the same in Maine.
          Maine lobster people have lived with strict regulations that have proved to be very smart indeed. Unfortunately, the harvest is way up at a time when the recession has forced prices way too low. Smart processing and economic shipping are the answer to getting at the dock prices back up to $6 a pound.
          I will look for pre-cooked whole lobster or tails.