Lobster Secret in Brooklyn
Had the yen for Lobster again. Went to T. J. Lobster King on 26th Street. Johnny told me the secret of saving money. I bought Lobster Culls. These are full size but have only one claw. Commercially they are not marketable. The savings was substantial. I bought three lobsters for the price of two. Fresh, alive and delicious. Believe it or not dead lobsters are called stiffs. Don't buy them.
It's hardly a secret (or in any way Brooklyn-centric), but it's a good tip for folks who prefer the tail meat and don't mind missing the second knuckle. Another step down the path to think about is which claw does the bug still have? The "crusher" (bigger, rounder) claw's "meat" is often a bit tougher, more striated, than that of the "pincher" claw (examine the two of 'em side by side, outside the shell, the next time you get a whole lobster).
As to stiffs, they should certainly be avoided since the animal begins to decompose quickly after dying. I wouldn't be too freaked out if a lobster dies on you between the time you buy it and the time you cook it. A pretty tell-tale, ammonia smell gives away what's going on. In the absence of that, cook as soon as you can after its life has ceased.