Jason Bolton: Hello. My name is Jason Bolton.
I’m the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Food Safety Specialist. Today I have with
me Bob Bayer. Bob Bayer: I’m Bob Bayer, Executive Director
of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, and also Professor of Animal and
Veterinary Sciences. Jason: Today Bob and I are going to be talking
about the proper ways to cook and prep lobsters. Bob: A Maine lobster’s probably the icon for
Maine. It’s our most famous seafood. Probably internationally, it is the most famous seafood,
perhaps, in the world. It’s well known for its flavor. It’s the prized seafood. It’s not only good, but it’s good for you.
It has less total fat and cholesterol than lean beef, poached eggs, even roasted, skinless
chicken breast. It’s high in iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A,
B12, B6, B3, and B2, so it’s good and good for you. When we buy lobsters in Maine or anywhere
else, depending on the time of the year, we may be buying hard-shell lobsters, shedder
lobsters or soft-shell, or new-shell lobsters. The new-shell lobster tends to have a lesser
meat yield. Some people think the flavor is better. The hard-shell has more meat, but
it’s certainly harder to get into. Usually you need a nutcracker, or sometimes a hammer. The lobsters we’re using today are new-shell
lobsters. One of the ways you can tell…just by looking at them. You can touch them. The
shell has some give to it. If you turn the lobster over, if this were a hard-shell lobster,
it would be black. There would be bits of black, it would be very dark, and the lobster
would obviously be very hard. Some people prefer one sex lobster over the
other. This is a male. The reason we know is…We look at the structure right here.
In the male, it’s armor-plated with shell material, hard and bony. In the female, the
same organ is soft and feathery. Many people prefer a female. In this female,
when it’s cooked, there is what’s called the “coral” by the consumer. It’s actually the
ovary. It’s bright red. It’s waxy in consistency. Many people do like to eat that, so they’ll
ask for a female lobster. Jason: Let’s talk about the most common ways
to cook live lobsters. Three most common ways are boiling, steaming, or grilling them. Bob: It’s best to take the rubber bands off.
It’s just a good idea to take them off if you have the time and are not doing mass quantity.
A knife works well. Jason: The first procedure we’re going to
talk about is boiling. In order to start this process, you want to get a large stock pot,
fill it about three-quarters of the way full with either sea water, or you could even add
salt to tap water. We’re going to do that. It’s about a tablespoon of salt per quart
of water. Get this to a rolling boil, and then you want
to add your lobsters. Bob has already removed the rubber bands from these ones. You drop
them in, and you bring it back to kind of a simmer. The timing for this, how does this work? About
18 minutes for a pound to a quarter-pound lobster. For anything larger, about one-and-a-half
pounds, it’s about 20 minutes. If you’re using soft-shells, you want to make sure you reduce
this time by approximately three minutes. Steaming is very similar to boiling. Obviously,
you use less water. When you start the actual steaming process, you’re going to use about
two inches of water at the bottom of a large stock pot. You can use sea water or, once
again, you can use salted water. Same ratios apply as boiling. We want to remove the rubber bands, which
has already been done, and you’re going to drop the lobsters in. The cook time is also
pretty much the same. For a pound to a pound-and-a-quarter lobster, you’re going to do about 18 minutes.
The cook time for over a pound-and-a-half or about a pound-and-a-half is 20 minutes.
You’re going to reduce this time by three minutes if you’re talking or using soft-shell
lobsters. If you decide to grill the lobsters, the first
thing you want to do is parboil them. Same procedure as boiling, except you’re only going
to boil them for about five minutes. Once the lobsters come to a rolling boil — you’ve
set them for five minutes — you want to remove the lobsters and put them in cold water. You’re going to remove the lobsters and put
them in an ice bath. This stops the cooking process. About 50 percent ice, 50 percent
cold water. After they’ve cooled down, you’re going to
remove them from the ice water. Try to remove as much of the water as possible. After they’ve
been removed from the cold water, they can be either put into a plastic bag for storage
in the refrigerator, or frozen. Or we go onto the next step, which is grilling. Bob: This process involves taking our knife
and… [sounds of cutting] …as long as you’re on the center…you open it up. There are
a couple things that we will remove. First is the tomalley, which is right here. The
sand sack, but it’s actually
the stomach. We’ll also remove the intestine, which is in the tail. [crunching sound] Oops. Sometimes the intestine is hard to see. If
it’s not full, it’s not pigmented. Oh, here it is. There’s the intestine. Often it’s full
and pigmented, and it’s a lot easier to see. This one is relatively empty. There it is.
We’ll remove the intestine because sometimes that can impart a flavor. Jason: You want to add some kind of butter
or olive oil to the lobster before you grill it. This helps with the sticking and also
helps with flavor. Once you’ve done the parboiling and you’ve
done all the prep work by splitting the lobster, you can now put them on the grill. You want
to put them on the grill flesh-side down, making sure to spread the lobster’s cavity
here as you place it down, and also open up the tail a little bit. Make sure the tail
is folded out like that with the cavity open. You’re going to cook them flesh-side down
for five to six minutes. You’re going to want to make sure also that the lid of the grill
is put down during this whole process. Then you’re going to flip them and cook them another
four to five minutes. You’ll want to do it on relatively low heat because the lobster
shell and the meat can burn pretty easily. One anatomical fact about the lobsters. They
have very distinct claws. There’s one claw that’s the ripping claw, the ripper claw.
It’s got serrated edges on the inside here. It’s literally for ripping things or tearing
things apart. It’s usually smaller than the other claw, which is the crushing claw, a
lot larger. It’s used for grasping things and breaking things. These can switch. They’re
not always on necessarily the left side or the right side, they can switch back and forth. For more information on cooking and preparing
lobsters, you can visit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension website or… Bob: …the Lobster Institute website at the
University of Maine.