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Lobster boiled or steamed in sea water maintains its characteristic ocean taste. But not every cook has access to a few gallons of the Atlantic Ocean, so boiling or steaming in well-salted water is the next best option. Figure about ¼ cup sea salt for each gallon of water.
Boiling and steaming are the methods of choice when you want to serve diners a whole lobster. Boiling is a little quicker and easier to time precisely, and the meat comes out of the shell more readily than when steamed. For recipes that call for fully cooked and picked lobster meat, boiling is the best approach.
Choose a pot large enough to hold all the lobsters comfortably; do not crowd them. A 4- to 5-gallon pot can handle 6 to 8 pounds of lobster.
Fill with water, allowing 3 quarts of water per 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of lobster.
Add 1/4 cup sea salt for each gallon of water.
Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Add the live lobsters one at a time, and start timing immediately. Cover.
Stir the lobsters halfway through cooking.
Let the lobsters rest for 5 minutes or so after cooking to allow the meat to absorb some of the moisture in the shell.
The following methods and recommended timings are from Jasper White’s authoritative Lobster at Home.
Is it Done Yet?
Cooked lobsters will turn bright red, but that’s not the best indicator of doneness, especially for large lobsters. They may still be underdone when the shell turns red. Jasper White recommends cooking the lobsters for the recommend time, then cracking one open where the carapece meets the tail. If it’s done, the meat will have changed from translucent to white.
Originally published in CIAProChef.com