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How to Cook a Live Lobster at Home

How to Cook a Live Lobster at Home

Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by

While perfectly cooked lobster may seem like something you can only order at fine dining restaurants, I want to show you how to cook a live lobster at home. Most kind lobsters are fairly easy to cook, and once you know how long to boil them and how to prep them for cooking, you shouldn’t have any problems.

One thing to know about how to cook live lobsters that during the wintertime their shell becomes harder, providing them more protection. That means it will take longer to cook them.  In the summertime, the shell softens, so the cooking time is drastically reduced.

The trick to cooking live lobster on your own is to ensure that it cooks all the way through. The biggest mistake most people make when cooking lobster for themselves is to overcook it. What that does is make the lobster tough and stringy and not very pleasant to eat.

Actually, a lot of the recipes and instructions you find online for how to cook whole live lobster will have overly long cook times. That results in a tough lobster, and we don’t want that.

Give the Lobster Space

Another tip I want to share with you that’s very important for cooking lobster on your own is to ensure that there’s enough room in the pot for the lobster to cook well. Do not overcrowd the lobster in the pot. For people who do not have a very large pot, I would recommend cooking the lobster in batches.

It needs enough space to cook thoroughly. If you just have a 4 to 5-ounce soup pot, that will work fine for cooking a few lobsters.

You might think you need a heavy-duty pot to boil your lobster, but it’s not necessary. In fact, the lobsters will cook faster in a lightweight pot than in the heavy duty one.

How to Cook Live Lobster Humanely

I know a lot of people are concerned about what the lobster feels when it’s cooked, and there is some debate over whether lobsters feel pain at all. Many people imagine lobsters are screaming as they are cooked in boiling hot water.

The “screaming” sound that lobsters make is really just air rushing from the holes in their bodies. lobsters have no vocal cords, so they cannot scream or vocalise at all. 

Lobsters also have no central nervous system, so it is very unlikely that they can feel any pain at all. You don’t have to worry about the lobster being in pain as it is cooked, however, if you do have concerns about the lobster’s discomfort, there is a humane way you can cook the lobster.

It can help to freeze the lobster first before boiling it. If you freeze the lobster for half an hour to an hour, then it won’t thrash around when it is being cooked in the boiling water. Cooking your lobster in a pot of boiling water will kill it almost instantaneously, but freezing it first keeps it from moving around much while cooking.

How to Cook a Live Lobster at Home

The convenient thing about cooking lobsters is that you don’t need to season them before cooking them. All the seasoning and flavouring happens after they’re cooked when you boil them.

Start by filling a large pot with water. You want to make sure the pot is large enough to accommodate the lobsters, as I talked about earlier. Make sure there’s enough water there to submerge all of your lobsters with about 3 inches of water leftover.

Then, you want to salt the water, adding in 2 tablespoons of salt for every quart of water you use.

Using a high heat, boil the water. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, you can place the lobsters in one after the other. Place them in head first and submerge them completely.

You should take the rubber bands off the claws before putting them in the water, because the bands can affect the taste of the water and therefore your lobster. To pick up the lobster, hold it at the upper end of the thorax pinching the lobster with your thumb and middle finger.

Once all the lobsters are submerged, cover the pot completely and bring the water to a boil once more. After the water begins to boil, keep it from boiling over but make sure it stays boiling the entire time.

The cook time for your lobster will vary based on how much weight is in the pot. One pound of lobster should cook for about 8 minutes. 2 pounds should cook for about 11 minutes, and 3 pounds for 14 minutes. 5 pounds of lobster should cook for about 23 minutes.

When is the lobster is finished cooking, you can take them out of the pot with tongs. Allow them to rest in a bowl for about 5 minutes before you crack them open. This is the best method for how to cook live lobster at home.

How to Cook Live Lobster on the Grill

You don’t have to use a pot of water to cook your lobster, and if you’d prefer to grill out, that’s a great way to cook this seafood. The method for how to cook live lobster boil or grill is very different. There is more prep work that goes into grilling the lobster to ensure that the entire animal is cooked evenly and completely.

You want to start by preparing your seasonings, which can include chilli flakes, lemon zest, parsley, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, split open the lobster with a cleaver, opening the lobster lengthwise halfway.

It should be cut open from head to tail at that point. Then, scoop out the tomalley which is yellowish green. Break the claws off and place your lobster halves onto a baking sheet facing shell side down. Crack the claws open and put them on the baking sheet as well.

Next, drizzle a little oil on the claws and lobster halves. Then, use salt and pepper to season. How to cook live lobster video that will show you this process in more detail. It’s definitely a lot more complicated to grill the lobster than it is to boil it.

Heat up your grill, and if it is a gas grill, set it to high. Use only one side of the grill, so if you’re using a charcoal grill, place the coals onto one side. Make sure the claws are on the hottest part of the grill how long with the lobster halves facing flesh side down.

Cook the lobster parts until they’re charred slightly, which should take about two to three minutes. Then, turn the lobster over with tongs and coat with your butter and seasoning mixture. Keep grilling until the lobster meat tenderises, which should take about 3 to 5 more minutes.

Now you know how to cook live Maine lobster and can make it at home for yourself.

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!