Ordering Live Maine Lobsters

As every New Englander knows, Live Maine Lobsters are best eaten at home while wearing an old shirt, with a dish of melted butter and a stack of napkins within reach. Add some fresh clams, corn-on-the-cob, steamed potatoes, and an ice-cold beer, and you have a classic New England party on your hands. But what if you can’t buy lobsters at your local supermarket, or you are having a party and don’t want to deal with assembling all of the various things you’ll need for your lobster meal? Following are the top 5 things you need to know about ordering live maine lobsters online.

1. How should live Maine lobsters be shipped?
Lobsters should be shipped so that they arrive alive, if possible. Overnight shipping is key, so look for FedEx, DHL, or UPS overnight shipping to be standard with your order. For the packaging, look for a combination of different materials including an insulated air box, ice packs, wet newspapers, and sometimes wet seaweed. You’ll naturally need cooking instructions as well, in addition to plenty of bibs, wet naps, lobster cracking utensils, and ramekins for melted butter for everyone, so look for those items to be included in your order as well.

2. How should you store the lobsters upon arrival?
We recommend that the live lobsters be shipped to an address where someone can both sign for and refrigerate them as soon as they are delivered. Keep the live lobsters wrapped in the wet newspaper and seaweed used for packaging (this will help to keep their gills moist) and refrigerate them. The lobsters will stay alive for about 24 hours after you receive them. Do not cover the lobsters with ice or submerge them in water, for this will suffocate them.

3. What size lobsters should I buy?
Usually, people order one lobster per person for a dinner portion. Lobsters are sold by their individual weight, and the general rule is that a 1-pound lobster is ideal for a child, while a 1 1/2-pound lobster is ideal for an adult.

Approximate live-weight to cooked-meat guidelines:
·Four pounds of live lobster will yield approximately 1 pound of cooked meat.
·A 1 to 1 1/4 pound lobster (also called a chicken lobster) yields about 4 ounces of cooked meat.
·A 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound lobster will yield about 5 ounces of cooked meat.
·A 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound lobster will yield about 6 ounces of cooked meat.
·A 2+ pound lobster will yield about 8 ounces of cooked meat.

4. What is the best way to cook a lobster?
Lobsters can be cooked every which way and, although they always taste great, probably the best cooking method is steaming. Not only is steaming easier than grilling, sautéing, or baking, but unlike boiling, steaming doesn’t log the lobsters with water as they cook (making them messy to eat). Some like to kill the lobsters before steaming while others like to add the lobsters to the steaming pot while still alive – this is your choice and there will be no discernable difference in the taste or texture of the meat.

Steaming Instructions
Pot size is important here. A 4- to 5-gallon pot (also known as a lobster pot) will hold up to roughly 8 pounds of lobsters at a time. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil over high heat in a large pot set-up with wire rack, pasta insert, or steaming rack. Add the lobsters, cover, and return the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a medium-high and steam the lobsters until they are done, following the chart below. Serve immediately with warm butter and lemon wedges.

Approximate Steaming Times:
Hard-shelled lobsters need to steam for a few more minutes than soft-shelled lobsters. To determine whether a lobster is hard-shell or soft-shell, gently squeeze the side of the lobster's body; a soft-shell lobster will yield to pressure while a hard-shell will feel hard, rigid, and tightly packed.

1 Pound Lobster:
8 to 9 Minutes (soft-shell)
10 to 11 Minutes (hard-shell)

1 1/4 Pound Lobster:
11 to 12 Minutes (soft-shell)
13 to 14 Minutes (hard-shell)

1 1/2 Pound Lobster:
13 to 14 Minutes (soft-shell)
15 to 16 Minutes (hard-shell)

1 3/4 to 2 Pound Lobster:
17 to 18 Minutes (soft-shell)
about 19 Minutes (hard-shell)

5. What is the best way to eat a lobster?
Eating a lobster can be sloppy. Here is how to get the most meat out of your lobster with the least amount of mess. But no matter how you choose it eat the lobster, don’t forget the melted butter and plenty of napkins.

1.Twist the tail to separate it from the body.
2.Twist off the tail flippers – don’t overlook the small, tender bites of meat in the flippers.
3.Use a fork or your finger to push the tail meat out through the wide end of the tail.
4.Twist the claws and knuckles off the body.
5.Use the cracker provided to crack each claw and knuckle, then use a fork or your finger to extract the meat. Continue to crack open the shell as needed to access the meat. There is a thin piece of cartilage lodged in the claw that needs to be removed before eating.
6.Twist the legs off of the body – the leg meat can be hard to remove, but it is very tasty. Crack the legs open at their various joints, then simply suck the meat out while using your teeth to help. Alternatively, lay the legs on a cutting board, and firmly roll a rolling pin from the bottom of the leg upward to force the meat out. A good pair of kitchen sheers also does the trick.

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About The Author, Jimmy Faro
Jimmy Faro is the Owner of Lobsterclambake.com ( http://www.lobsterclambake.com ), a division of Constitution Seafood. A fourth generation Lobster & Seafood New Englander born in the business in a small seaside town in Massachusetts, he and the staff at Lobsterclambake.com work directly with lobster boats and seafood dealers from Maine to Rhode Island to give you the freshest lobsters and seafood that you would expect from New England's pristine coast and pure cold Atlantic waters.