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Which is better, smaller or bigger lobsters?

Our local (Dayton, OH) gourmet grocery store is having their annual lobsterfest - selling them (assume ~1 1/4 lbs) for $12 each. Not a huge savings but the going rate around here has been $14.99 to $15.99/pound, just there about two months ago when it was only $9.99/lb.

I don't have a lot of experience buying and cooking lobsters outside of often ordering at restaurants. I was recently watching a show about Maine restaurants where the owner of the Crab Shack (think that was the name) said a huge misconception is that those ~1 1/4 lb lobster are better eating than larger lobsters. He said the larger the better - the meat is way better with larger lobsters (assume 2 plus lbs) vs those smaller ones.

Anyone agree, or disagree? I really don't have much experience with larger lobsters.

I do know that price per pound goes up over 2lbs here - assume it's a supply and demand thing, or just a supply thing.

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  1. This won't be an authoritative answer by any stretch... but an old timer Maine native who's been around advised me rather emphatically that a 1 or 1.5lb lobster is a much, MUCH better value than the bigger bugs often offered, and said it was far better to buy the smaller ones.
    He maintained that the bigger ones were "tourist sucker bait".

    I figure, he_should_ know. I've always followed that advice and have never been disappointed. I too would be interested in other folks' take on the subject.

    Here in NJ, they're currently showing up for 5.99-6.99/lb.

    1. Two 1 1/4 pounders is a good meal for one.

      1. I'm fine with any Lobster up to 2.5 pounds when cooking at home.....Eating out, I had Lobsters up to 8 pounds....once over 5 pounds, it becomes problematic to crack the shell on claws and knuckles.

        1. Here is an older thread on the same topic
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411055
          A quote from a Food Enthusiast that documented his cooking of a 20# Lobster
          "Conclusion: Done properly, a large lobster is every bit as good as a small one. Maybe better."
          After living and working in New England for quite a while and cooking and eating many Lobster that larger Lobster give you a better yield, and the meat is no tougher and sometimes sweeter than the smaller ones. The very large (3# +) Lobster is a bit tricky to cook.

          1. More important than size is freshness and season. The shorter the interval between tank and cooking the better. Winter lobsters are better than summer lobsters. Bigger lobsters are less work than cracking two lobsters. I have not noticed taste differences, but I have heard both opinions from people who do---'Bigger is better' vs. 'Smaller is better.' I'm not going to turn down any lobster based on size.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mwhitmore

              You are absolutely right.

              More important is the season and proper cooking.

              I like a 2 pounder myself.

              Lobster is cheaper than steak here (Boston) and often cheaper than bologna. It was 2.99 a pound last summer.