Best way to cook live lobster?

Afront an assemblage of the scoundrel’s lobster compatriots, lest they entertain thoughts of escape!

Ten of fifteen minutes of boiling a lobster will produce a little hunk of rubber inside the shell.

10-15 minutes! Are you insane?

As for the large pot, that means it will heat slowly. By the time the lobsters are done you will have rich milky water and tough overcooked lobsters.

If you must boil, one at a time. Small pot, very high heat. Put the lobster in and the water should return to a boil within a minute. From there go for three minutes per pound.

And for the love of Jesus save the water for stock!

Trust me. I am the Lord of Lobster, the King of crustaceans. the Athority of Arthropods.

Obey me.

Fairness also dictates that dealing with live lobster, the first thing you should do is remove the rubber bands on the claws.

Then flip the lobster on its back and drive the knife into it’s brain. It’s only fair that the lobster have a chance to defend itself. It will teach you to honor, fear and respect the lobster.

Only after you have done this will you have the fighting spirit necessary to cook a lobster properly. If you haven’t, your probably one of those people who will just boil if for fifteen minutes not caring about the flavor loss, and that sort of moral decrepitude is everything cuisine stands against. If you’re going to do that kind fo shit, you might as well run out to the grocery and buy some Swanson’s crab sticks.

Most importantly, a lobster that dies fighting tastes much better than some demoralized prisoner lobster who was summarily executed.

No, I am not insane, and you need to STFU or tone it down. I’ve been eating lobster my entire life, and I know how to cook and eat them just fine. I mean, shit, I cooked some with a lobsterman/inkeeper my wife and I have become friends with on a rather famous artist’s colony off the coast of my home state, and he complimented me. For kicks my brother moonlights as a lobsterman, for fuck’s sake, and he used to be a sous chef at a seafood restaurant near Bath. If you throw three or four cold 2+ lb lobsters in a pot that’s boiling, it might take 10 or 15 min. to cook them, as the water cools and re-heats. Simple as that. I would err on the ten minute side, but I know some folks who prefer the texture the extra five might give it. I’ve had undercooked lobster, and that’s pretty disgusting, IMO, more so that getting it a bit rubbery.

The other thing is that Lobster is getting rare. They’re getting fished out. The supply isn’t just there anymore and they take a long time to mature. There’s been no luck in creating farm raised lobster that I’m aware of.

I remember when lobster was pretty cheap. It’s been a while. Before two long, lobster may simply be unavailable except at the most extreme prices and then not even at all.

Eating a lobster will be like eating a rhino.
Our time with lobster as succulent dish is nearing an end.

You owe it to yourself to make the most out of every lobster.
One day you’ll be really old and talking to your granchildren:

“Wow, Grandpa you really used to eat lobster?”

“Oh yeah, all the time.”

“Wow. What did it taste like?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I was young and foolish and I boiled the shit out of it so it tasted like a hunk of rubber. Didn’t know any better.”

“You’re an idiot, Grampa. I hate you. If you hadn’t wasted that lobster, I could have had it.”

No. Not that simple. Big volume of water, multiple lobsters, pot on burner, means you get cold spots and uneven heating. There’s no reason to put 4 lobster together in a pot of water. You want to cook them fast and evenly.

You may have been cooking lobster your whole life, but I’ve been cooking them well for 20 years. My physics are unassailable. Boiling water leaches flavor. The longer it’s in the water the more flavor it loses. The longer the cooking time, the tougher the meat.

You need to cook a lobster fast if you want it to be good.

I would rather not do a hack job on a nice lobster. Period.

Why do I need to choose between undercooked and rubbery?

Maybe, if you’re the chef those are my choices, but if I’m cooking I’ll make it just right.

No reason not to.

Read this first.

Most people overcook lobster. A pound and a half lobster cooks for about five minutes.

My first big laugh of the day. Thanks.

Your “physics” needlessly complicate something that just isn’t that difficult. If you want to obsess over it, fine, but your vodoo rituals don’t make that much difference. Uneven water temperature indeed. Did some hi res thermal scans to work that all out? Again, quite hilarious. Oh, wait, I know! Now I understand. 90% of the state of Maine cooks lobsters for shite! That’s it! I grew up on vulcanized rubber, not lobster. Good to know.

You have a pot of hot water. You put cold lobsters into it. The cold lobsters are touching each other. You are heating from the bottom. Convection currents move upward along the sides of the lobster. You have uneven heating. You have water trapped between the lobsters that isn’t moving. You have water in the shell that isn’t moving. Uneven cooking.

Try cooking tempura sometime. You cook it one or two pieces at a time, because if you put it all in together it drops the temperature of the oil too much and it gets all mushy and cooks slowly and unevenly.

If you cooked a lot, or rather, if you cooked well a lot you would be familiar with this effect. It’s basic stuff, and not really subject to dispute.

Yes. That’s true. “Everbody else is doing it” probably wasn’t a good excuse when you were a kid. It’s not a good excuse now.

It’s easy and lazy to throw the lobsters in a pot and boil them for a while. Like most everything else, when you take the easy and lazy way you get an inferior product.

The effort necessary to do it right isn’t that great. There’s no reason not to cook your lobsters quickly and with high heat. It’s easy.

Why would you want to soak their asses for a quarter of an hour in tepid water?

It is good to know. Knowing is the first step. Now you can do something about it. Make a change. Improve your life. Have a good lobster prepared well.

It’s an opportunity for you. Embrace it. You’ll thank me.

Ehhh, give it up. Scylla the great and terrible knows all! You and I could steam and boil identical lobsters and he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference on the table, but let him rant. He likes to hear himself talk. Every hear the old saying “Those that can’t do, teach”? I don’t buy that statement, it’s insulting to a great many teachers who are underpaid professionals, but every once and a while you run across someone who demonstrates exactly why such statements came into being.

Seeing as the lobsters the two of you would cook would both be like chewing on a latex condom, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. So you’re right about this.

Would you mind cooking a lobster for me sometime? I need a new doorstop.

I think the relatively immobile liquid in the shell, and the shell itself, is going to moderate a lot of the temperature variation associated with convection until heat becomes uniform once more, but again, this is a level of detail miles above and beyond the call of duty, here. We’re cooking a lobster, not preparing the Shuttle for reentry.

I’ve been looking around to see just how high on crack I might be, and everywhere the rule of thumb is ten minutes for the first pound, three for each additional pound, hard shell. Shave off a couple minutes for a soft shell. If anything, my estimates are quite conservative, precisely because I’m sensitive to rubbery lobster. “Everybody else is doing it” because they’ve got a tradition of cooking Maine lobsters that probably goes back many lifetimes. The accumulation of useful knowledge through trial and error is often the valuable part of that thing they call “culture”.

Here’s what I know: If I’ve got three or four lobsters and room full of hungry people, I’m going to cook them and serve them in a manner that is both expedient and appropriate, because folks are hungry, they want to eat together, and they want good food. I’m sure there’s some hight of perfection I’m not attaining, but so far things have worked out just fine, and I actually can relax and enjoy the meal.

Yes, it will do that, and yes, it will take time, and the longer the lobster is cooking the more flavor and liquids will leach out of the meat and the more like rubber it will get.

Well, I googled “how to cook lobster” just now and I get 5 minutes for the first pound from the first site with a recipe for boiling:

These guys say 10 minutes, but they are from Texas and have to order in Lobsters. Texas! Texans agree with you. How do you feel about that?

These people from Florida who don’t suffer from the genetic defficiency of being Texan say five minutes and they tell you to drink beer:

These people are clearly insane. Let us pity them:

And often it’s something like being afraid of elipses because they think the moon is eating the sun. Progress progresses and we learn. They are over cooking their lobsters. In your heart of hearts you know this to be true.

Oh, I confess there’s something to be said for expediency. This is why I broil or grill lobsters. I can cook many at once.

I think my head of heads is going to explode. Dude, you win the war of attrition.

Boiling is fine. I don’t time them. I go by color, but that takes experience. They’re done when you can tug at one of the feelers and it comes off easily. If you can, it is best not to boil too many at one time-- 2 or 3 per pot is what I usualy do.

Okay, to either settle this thread or cause it to explode into incandescence, I (under what I hope are fair use law provisions) offer the recipe (since my post was evidently ignored…perhaps not, but I was not smothered in accolades, so it’s your own fault that I was misled):

Now, I’m hungry.

(Don’t be put off if the lobsters continue to twitch a little after quartering; it’s a reflexive movement.)

I gotta say, I love that line. :smiley:

While my personal experiences (20+ years cooking for family and friends, Keeper of the Almighty Family Lasagna Recipe, etc) tend to lean more towards Scylla’s methods, I must say that when pressed, I have no problem using the quick-n-dirty methods also described in this thread.

FWIW, of course.

Back to your regularly scheduled thread…

–‘continue to twitch a little’, hee

Want to make things fair? Go after the lobster in it’s own environment. Strap on a tank, take a dive and find a hole with some antenna sticking out. Then stick your hand down the hole, and wrestle that sumbitch out. That’s how you make things fair.

BTW, here’s some cooking instructions from the University of Maine Lobster Institute. It claims 15 minutes simmering for 1 - 1 1/4 lb. which strikes me as a little long.
And Scylla? I’d say the “subtle but rich taste” you’re getting from your “Way 2” is mostly from the butter and spices, not the lobster. As a transplanted New Englander, I steam, eat the meat plain (I put out clarified butter for the guests, but rarely use it myself), and have some saltines on hand for the tomalley. That’s how to get the most flavor out of the lobster.

McDeath_the_Mad steamed the lobsters last night - 4 beauties! We all agreed that they were the best lobsters we’ve ever tasted.

Thanks all for the suggestions and the encouragement to steam rather than boil - we will never go back to boiling!