When most people think of Maine, the first thing that comes to mind is probably “lobster!” And that’s with good reason: There are incredible and tasty lobsters lurking in those Maine waters, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge fan of Maine. Our editorial team tested and tasted fresh Maine lobster and came to the same conclusion.
We were lucky enough to partner with Get Maine Lobster, a company that delivers same-day-caught live lobsters to your home (or office) — anywhere in all 50 states. We asked Mark Murrell, the Maine native who started the company last year, what makes Maine lobster so special. Well, he said, there are several reasons: Murrell explains that the sweetest and best lobster meat comes from the coldest waters (like those off Maine), but also that Maine laws around harvesting lobsters are very strict, which means that the lobsters live in a consistent and stable ecology. (Now you can feel a little better about enjoying such a deliciously indulgent food!)
When are lobsters in season? Year-round, though fall is the biggest harvesting season. But there is seasonality to lobsters. Have you ever been confused as to why sometimes a lobster shell is super “soft” and can easily be cracked open with your hands (so-called soft-shell or new-shell lobsters), while other times it feels like you need a drill just make a dent (hard-shell lobsters)? Murrell explains that each spring lobsters shed their shell, which is why hard-shell lobsters become hard to find by early summer — though he says you can find some in the rocky areas of the coast because the environment forces the shell to get harder faster. What’s the difference meat-wise? “The meat tends to be sweeter in soft-shells, but you get more meat out of a hard-shell.”
Get Maine Lobster sent hard-shells to our office, alive and nestled between layers of seaweed and damp newspaper. If you’re hesitant to cook a live lobster or want a little more advice on how to actually prepare one, then check out our Ultimate Lobster Bible, which gives you step-by-step instructions on the process. Plus, check out more tips from Murrell below on how to best store live lobsters, cooking times, and some alternatives available if you’d rather not experiment with a live creature.
Whatever kind of lobster you buy, live or not, try some of the decadent recipes below.
If you're lucky enough to get lobsters fresh from the boat, still warm, just-cooked lobster meat needs little garnishing...
— Allison Beck
Delicate lobster meat nestled betwen citrusy goat cheese and creamy avocado makes for a fantastic meal...
— Yasmin Fahr
Some people get nervous about baking breads with yeast, which can be finnicky and unpredictable...
— Claire Bullen
These fried pockets of deliciousness are based on the classic crab Rangoon found on Chinese takeout menus...
— Valaer Murray
Cooking with lobster garners tons of bragging rights and maybe even a few Facebook status updates...
— Nicole Campoy-Leffler
Nam tok is a Thai dressing often used on grilled meats or fried fish; it's simple to make and pairs well with lobster...
— Will Budiaman
As far as sandwiches are concerned, there are few combinations in this world more perfect than crispy bacon...
— Molly Aronica
Hurricane Irene was no joke for lots of people, but huddle up housewatching on Long Island...
— Arthur Bovino
I love, love, love lobster. Simply steamed and served with butter...
— Maryse Chevriere
Quick Lobster Cooking Tips from the Pros:
You are looking for firm white meat. Toss in a little sea salt…maybe some beer for a little extra flavor. Practice makes perfect!
Cook time is key. The best way to tell if a lobster is done is by pulling its antennae. If it comes out easy, then it’s done.
Lobster Weight/Cooking Time
1-1 ¼ lb: 10-12 minutes
1 ¼ -2 lb: 12-18 minutes
2-3 lb: 18-25 minutes
3-6 lb: 25-40 minutes
6-7 lb: 40-60 minutes
8 lb. and over: 7 minutes per pound
Storing Live Lobsters:
While it’s best to cook lobsters the day they arrive, Murrell says that the key to storing lobster is to keep them cool and moist and NEVER put them in tap water. Simply place them in the crisper of the refrigerator and place a piece of damp newspaper over them.
What’s Murrell’s favorite way of eating Maine lobster? “The traditional way: steamed live, cracked and eaten right away. Dip the meat in a little butter and you have an amazing flavor.” Want more cooking ideas than what’s above? Murrell recommends baking lobster tails in foil because that makes for a “really juicy tail.” Also check out The Ultimate Lobster Bible for more tips on cooking and killing lobsters.
Now, we understand that you may be hesitant to cook a live lobster. And it makes sense. To combat this, GetMaineLobster.com also offers flash-frozen meat — the process locks in flavor — which can easily be thawed and then broiled, grilled, or baked, plus lobster meat that’s already been removed from the shell and is ready to use in any of the delicious recipes above.