With the traditional start of the outdoor cooking season, lobster chefís everywhere must make a decision -- should I steam or boil my lobster?Boiling a Maine lobster is the easiest way to cook and serve a whole lobster and a boiled lobster is easier to pick clean. But steaming a lobster often yields the best results for eating.
Hereís why: Steaming is a more gentle process of cooking the meat and it preserves more flavor and tenderness. Steaming a lobster is also more forgiving on the chef since it is harder to overcook a lobster in a steam pot. For true lobster lovers, steaming is the way to go.
How Long to Steam Lobster Recipe
So letís get started.
First step is to order some freshly caught, old shell Maine lobster. Older shell lobsters are recommended as the lobsters are usually stronger and healthier and the hard shell of the lobster will have more meat than a new shell lobster.
Then choose a big four to five-gallon kettle or pot with a tight lid and a bottom steaming rack. This size pot should be able to easily handle up to eight pounds of lobster. Remember, donít crowd the lobster into the pot or you will get uneven results. It is best to have the right size pot.
Add two to three inches of sea water to cover the bottom of the pot. If you donít have access to the Atlantic Ocean, donít worry. Use filtered fresh water and add lots of sea salt: one to two tablespoons per quart.
Place the steaming rack inside the pot and use high heat to bring the water to a roiling boil. If you wish, you may remove the rubber lobster claw bands. One at a time, place the live lobster head first into the pot and cover. Start timing the lobster and do not overcook.
1 pound 8-10 minutes
1-1/4 pounds 10-12 minutes
1-1/2 pounds 12-14 minutes
1-3/4 pounds 15-17 minutes
2 pounds 16-18 minutes
2-1/2 pounds 18-20 minutes
3 pounds 20-30 minutes
5 pounds 35-45 (or more) minutes
*Reduce time by 3 minutes for soft shell lobster.
Half way through the allotted cook time, open the lid and move the lobster around in the pot. It is important to shift the lobster so they all cook evenly. If necessary, you may add a little more water but no more salt is required.
The most important step for all lobster chefs is determining when the lobsters are done. The first rule, do not overcook the lobster. A lobster shell will be bright red when fully cooked and the meat white.
Care must be taken with large lobster as they will be red but they may not be fully cooked. And a lobster in the top of the pot may not have cooked as fast as one at the bottom.
One popular practice is to give one of the lobster antennae a good pull while the lobster is still in the steamer pot. If the antenna pops off, it is a good sign the lobster is done. Another step is to use tongs to remove one lobster and cut a small slice at the bottom of the tail. If the meat is fully changed from translucent to white, itís done. Note: The lobster will continue to cook for a minute even after itís taken out of the pot, so again, do not overcook.
Allow steamed lobster to drain for a minute. You may pierce the body and tail with a knife to help drain the water. Then serve the lobster right away with a side of melted butter and a slice of lemon. To make eating fun and easy, serve with lobster bib and steel cracker accessory kits.
For other cooking ideas please check out our seafood recipes.
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