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Lobster Blues

Many times on this forum I have recommended tourists just go to a fish market or grocer that will steam them at market price and have a picnic at the hotel or the beach.

I've not ordered a regular steamed/boiled lobster at a restaurant for many years. I have had a few lobster rolls, which are usually lacking from what I prepare at home - steamed fresh, and if a taste of the tomalley is fresh and sweet that goes in the bowl too with a gentle dollop of Hellmans on a freshly buttered and girdled top split hot dog bun.

So yesterday on sale at S&S I bought 3 lobsters. All were alive and kicking. But the largest was meh. It had a metallic blah taste. The claws were so hard that it was either the countertop, the trash or a power tool. The trash won sadly, but only because the tail meat was meh.

And this is why I won't order the most basic lobster preparation out. it's a toss of the dice. The other lobsters were sweet.

But I can't imagine paying top tariff and eating the third as a tourist. I would never understand just how sweet and wonderful north atlantic lobster can be.

I've always advice people that that lobster should be flapping in the wind when taken out of the tank. Alas that is still no guarantee.

We in New England are lucky to have some misses.

Off to griddle another Arnold's hot dog roll all warm and buttery and fill it with the sweet chilled lobster!

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  1. I hear you. I am rarely disappointed by the lobsters I buy but when I am it is tear worthy! Luckily these days they are dirt cheap so it's not as bad as when they were crazy money and were more "special occasion" food.

    This shot was from our last weekend in Maine. The whole platter didn't cost us more $20-$25!

    10 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      Nice looking pile of bugs! You don't find that leaving the rubber bands on the claws affects the taste?

      1. re: justbeingpolite

        My old chef would tear you a new one if you boiled it with the bands, but to be honest, I have never tasted them, and with less pot real estate the home cook has (the hotel had 60 gallon tilt kettles... Or at least I thought it was 60 anyways. Big) it pays to not have the little critters go spread eagle when your trying to get them in the pot. Bottom line, I don't think it matters, but that is simply my opinion

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          great point and beautiful picture. I have purist friends that insist on cutting of the bands. Honestly I have enough trouble dunking them into the jacuzzi of death, never mind snapping claws.

          I've had a lifetime of banded lobsters, but don't dismiss the theory that removing them is the superior method.

          1. re: justbeingpolite

            I grew up leaving the bands on and have never noticed a difference in flavor between ones done with or without. Honestly, I just assumed the ones I saw w/o bands just had them removed after cooking.

            When I am cooking up that kind of mess of lobstrocities I am just happy they all make it into the pan!

              1. re: Bellachefa

                Me too! Alas, I can't take credit, it's from an old Stephen King novel.

                1. re: foodieX2

                  My brother was using the term 30 years ago. Not a SK reader to my knowledge. I personally have tasted a "rubbery" taste with banded lobsters, so I put em in sans bands. Haven't had an issue with snapping, just gotta be a little more careful.

                  1. re: justbeingpolite

                    Don't worry, I wasn't saying SK invented the word, just saying where I learned it. If it makes you feel better the book was published in 1982 and that it is a common term used by old timer Maine lobstermen.

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      Yes. yes it does. It makes me feel much better, thank you.
                      I'm claiming provenence for my brother.

                      Won't demand it for "bugs", though.

                      1. re: justbeingpolite

                        excellent! If we don't look after our siblings who will? <grin>

        2. Better yet, they should be dry and sitting on ice. Ensures a shorter time out of the ocean and less opportunity to pick up flavors from the tank. New Deal has always done well by me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jajjguy

            I usually give the free roaming lobster the stink eye if it tries to get near my tuna!

          2. I bought live lobsters at a Market Basket in New Bedford over the 4th of July, and I never experienced rock hard shells and tough meat until then. What gives?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dinsdale45

              This metalic tasting bahstid had the hardest claws that I gave up. Had it live a month it would have had mushy soft-shell meat. Sure, soft shells make easy shucking, but the claw meat suffers, in my opinion.

              But those other two were medium soft/hard and very sweet.

            2. One thing I've learned from hanging in Montauk is that lobster has its seasons. This time of year, they've just molted and there's a lot less meat. Optimum time is late fall thru Christmas. Just in time for Christmas Eve fish feast....of course everyone wants it this time of year, so it's better than nothing.

              1. A little OT I know but does anyone steam/cook lobsters by pulling legs and tails off and just throwing those into the pot? cooking the bodies and bones later for stock?
                I'm not really squeamish about doing this, it just goes against 30+ years of cooking habit.

                5 Replies
                1. re: grumpyspatient

                  Not me. However I save all the shells to make stock for bisque. Not sure what you mean by bones?

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    I meant shells, the kids called them bones when they were younger..."look at that pile of bones" after we over indulged. Sorry

                    1. re: grumpyspatient

                      Thats funny and cute! My son calls 'em carcasses because he thinks its a funny word. (I suspect its because it has the word "ass" in it. He is almost 13)

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        13-perfect age for that...my kids said bones cause they knew they had those themselves but didn't quite get the outside shell concept. and I think I kinda kept the live lobsters from them before cooking...that whole don't eat a pet/animal you named concept. (really OT now!)

                  2. I think we were having a nice New England lobstah talk, but the mods saw otherwise. Hope others across the boards have some lobster talk blues.

                    Maybe I'll go to the Vineyard and have a Lobster Blues Picnic at John Belushi's place.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bellachefa

                      Only if you go to the real one. The commercial grave is nasty these days. Folks used to leave cool mementos after picnicing but when we were there early this summer it was mostly crushed beer cans, cigarette butts and candy wrappers. There are still some great messages on shells and the like but not like years past. It's kind of sad.

                      I don't think they should have moved either.

                    2. I grew up on the New England coast and have never understood the allure of eating lobster out at a restaurant. For us it was always boiled/grilled in the back yard in summertime. Lazyman's Lobster and lobster rolls are great out but to eat a boiled lobster dinner out at a restaurant all dressed up and wind up with a lobstery stenchy smell on your hands that wipes won't get rid of and bibs and lap napkins be damned. Well, that just never appealed to me or anyone I know.

                      As an aside - advising people to take cooked lobsters back to their hotel is a really bad idea. I feel sorry for the maids the next day.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: miss_belle

                        color me crazy, but I have faith that anyone who would think outside of the box and have fishmonger/store steamed lobsters back at the hotel would be adult enough to package and dispose of the shells and body on their own, or by bagging it tightly and alerting housekeeping.

                        You make it sound like having lobster in a hotel room is a food fight and there will be shells and debris in the carpet and curtains.

                        1. re: Bellachefa

                          Now thats a great visual! Claws flying in air, followed by streams of melted better. LMAO

                          Agreed. I also think most people wouldn't actually eat in their room unless they had a good table to eat at, it's not something you can really eat while sitting on a bed. Most likely they would eat out on a patio or by the pool. We often get take out when traveling and picnic by the pool. Cheaper and (usually) better food.