Cooking Live Lobster: Tips and Tricks to Make it Perfect

If you’re a seafood lover, you’re probably well acquainted with the rich, succulent taste of lobster. But if you’ve never cooked one before, the prospect of preparing a live lobster can seem quite daunting. In this article, we’ll walk you through some tips and tricks to make cooking live lobster a breeze. From selecting the right lobster to preparing it for cooking, we’ve got all the information you need to make your lobster the star of your next meal.

Cooking Live Lobster: Tips and Tricks to Make it Perfect | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Live Lobster: Tips and Tricks to Make it Perfect

What is the Ideal Size of a Live Lobster?

Before cooking a live lobster, it is important to choose the right size to ensure that it will be cooked perfectly. The ideal size of a live lobster can vary depending on personal preference, but there are a few things to keep in mind when making your selection.

Weight Matters

The weight of a live lobster is a good indicator of its size and maturity. Generally, the larger the lobster, the older it is and the tougher its meat may be. It is recommended to choose a lobster that weighs between 1 and 2 pounds for the best flavor and tenderness.

Consider Cooking Method

The cooking method you plan to use can also play a role in selecting the ideal size of a live lobster. If you plan to boil or steam the lobster, it is best to choose a smaller size to avoid overcooking and ensure that the meat is cooked evenly. If you plan to grill or broil the lobster, a larger size may be more suitable to retain its moisture and texture.


It is important to note that the ideal size of a live lobster may not always be available depending on the season and location. During peak seasons, smaller lobsters may be more difficult to find as larger lobsters tend to be more abundant. It is important to check with your local seafood supplier for availability and recommendations.

How to Choose a Live Lobster?

Choosing the right live lobster is crucial for the quality of your meal. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a live lobster:

1. Movement

When choosing a live lobster, it is best to select one that is active and moving around in the tank. A lobster that is sluggish or lethargic may indicate that it’s not as fresh or healthy as a lively one.

2. Shell Color

The color of a lobster’s shell can also provide useful information. A healthy live lobster typically has a bright, shiny, and colorful shell. If the shell appears dull or discolored, it could be an indication that the lobster has been sitting in the tank for quite some time.

Additionally, take note of any discoloration or spots on the lobster’s shell as this could indicate a disease or injury, which may affect the flavor and safety of the meat.

3. Size

The size of the lobster is also an essential factor to consider. A bigger lobster may mean more meat, but it may also indicate that the animal is older and tougher. On the other hand, a smaller lobster is typically younger and more tender, but it may yield less meat.

If you’re unsure about which size to choose, ask the fishmonger or the waiter for recommendations based on what you plan to do with the lobster.

4. Gender

The gender of the lobster can also affect the taste and texture of the meat. Female lobsters, also known as “hens,” usually have a wider tail and are known for their delicate meat. In contrast, male lobsters, also called “cocks,” often have bigger claws and denser meat.

Ultimately, choosing the right live lobster comes down to personal preference. By considering these factors, you can ensure that you select the freshest, healthiest lobster for your next meal.

How to Prepare a Live Lobster for Cooking?

Preparing a live lobster for cooking can seem daunting, but with a little practice, it can become an easy process. Follow these steps to ensure that your lobster is prepared correctly and humanely:

Step 1: Cleaning the Lobster

Cleaning a lobster involves removing any dirt, debris and sand that may have accumulated on its shell, legs or claws. Take a stiff-bristled brush, such as a vegetable brush, and gently scrub the lobster under running water for several minutes. Make sure to scrub the legs and claws thoroughly to remove any sand or debris that may be lodged in these areas.

Step 2: Chilling the Lobster

Chilling a lobster is important for a few reasons. First, it helps keep the lobster calm and still, which makes it easier to dispatch humanely. Second, it can help to anesthetize the lobster, making it easier for you to handle. To chill a lobster, place it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes prior to cooking. Make sure to keep an eye on the lobster during this time to ensure that it doesn’t freeze.

Step 3: Dispatching the Lobster Humanely

Dispatching a lobster can be one of the most challenging parts of preparing it for cooking. However, there are a few simple methods that can be used to ensure that the animal is dispatched quickly and humanely. One of the most common methods is to plunge a sharp, heavy knife into the lobster’s head, just behind its eyes. This will immediately kill the animal. Another method is to place the lobster in boiling water (see our instructions on how to cook a live lobster for more information), although some people consider this method to be less humane than using a knife.

Tip: If you are unsure about how to humanely dispatch a lobster, it is best to seek advice from a professional.

What are the Different Cooking Methods for Live Lobster?

When cooking live lobster, there are several popular methods that you can choose from. Each method has its own unique benefits and can affect the flavor, texture, and appearance of the lobster.

1. Boiling

Boiling is the most popular method for cooking live lobster. To boil a lobster, start by filling a large pot with enough water to cover the lobster. Add salt and any other herbs or seasonings that you prefer. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then carefully add the lobster to the pot. The lobster should be fully submerged in the water. Boil the lobster for about 10-12 minutes per pound of weight, or until the lobster turns bright red and the meat is cooked through.

2. Steaming

Steaming is another great way to cook live lobster. To steam a lobster, start by filling a large pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, place the lobster in a steamer basket or on a rack above the water. Cover the pot and steamer basket with a lid and steam for about 14-16 minutes per pound of weight, or until the lobster is bright red and the meat is fully cooked.

3. Grilling

Grilling live lobster is a great way to add a delicious smoky flavor to the meat. To grill a lobster, start by splitting it in half lengthwise and removing the tomalley, or green liver. Brush the meat with oil or butter and season with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill to high heat and then place the lobster halves on the grill, meat side down. Grill for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the meat is opaque and cooked through.

4. Microwaving

Microwaving live lobster is a quick and easy way to cook it, but it can result in a slightly rubbery texture. To microwave a lobster, start by placing it in a microwave-safe dish and covering it with a microwave-safe lid. Microwave the lobster on high power for about 2-4 minutes per pound of weight, or until the meat is fully cooked.

How to Tell if a Lobster is Cooked Well?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when cooking live lobster is to cook it just right. While undercooked lobster may not be safe for consumption, overcooking it can make the meat dry and tough. Learning how to tell if a lobster is cooked well is crucial to ensure that the meat is tasty and juicy.

The Time Approach

One way to determine whether your lobster is cooked is by checking the time. Typically, it takes around 10-12 minutes to cook a 1 pound lobster and an additional 3-4 minutes for every pound above that. So if you have a 2-pound live lobster, it may take around 13-16 minutes to cook it fully.

Visual Clues

Another approach to determine if your lobster is cooked well is by checking its color. When cooked, lobsters turn a bright red color and their tails will curl. However, take note that simply checking the color of the lobster may not always be enough. Sometimes, lobsters may turn red before they’re fully cooked, so it’s essential to combine it with other methods to ensure that it’s cooked well.

The Probe Method

The most accurate way to tell if a lobster is cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the lobster, which is usually in its tail. If the thermometer reads 140°F, then the lobster is cooked through.

Different Cooking Techniques

Keep in mind that the cooking time and method of cooking the lobster may affect how well it’s cooked. For instance, boiling a lobster in salted water may cook it faster and may result in a juicy and flavorful meat. Conversely, grilling a lobster may take a bit longer, but it can give it a smoky flavor that’s worth the wait.

Cooking live lobster may seem like a daunting task, but with enough practice and by following these tips, you’ll be cooking the perfect lobster in no time.

What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid While Cooking Live Lobster?

Live lobster is a versatile and delicious seafood that can be cooked in a variety of ways. However, cooking live lobster can be a tricky process and requires some careful attention to ensure it is cooked perfectly. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid while cooking live lobster:

1. Overcooking the Lobster

Overcooking your lobster is one of the most common mistakes made when cooking live lobster. It can lead to tough and chewy meat. The best way to avoid overcooking your lobster is to monitor the cooking time carefully. A good rule of thumb is to cook a 1-pound lobster for about 8-10 minutes. Larger lobsters will need to cook for a bit longer, but be careful not to overcook them.

2. Undercooking the Lobster

Undercooking your lobster is just as bad as overcooking it. The meat will be raw and unsafe to eat. Make sure to cook your lobster until the shell turns bright red and the meat is opaque. The internal temperature of the lobster should be 140°F.

3. Not Chilling the Lobster

Before cooking, it is essential to chill the lobster in the fridge or freezer for at least 20-30 minutes. This will put them to sleep and make them more relaxed, and they will be easier to handle and cook. Not doing so will lead to a more challenging cooking process and can also cause the lobster to become stressed and agitated.

4. Incorrectly Preparing the Lobster

Preparing the lobster correctly is also essential before cooking. To clean the lobster, remove the rubber bands from the claws and rinse the lobster thoroughly under cold running water. Make sure to remove any sand or debris that may be caught in the shell.

5. Not Using Enough Water

When boiling the lobster, it is essential to use enough water to allow it to move around freely in the pot. If there is not enough water, the lobster may become stuck to the bottom of the pot, making it challenging to cook evenly. Use enough water to cover the lobster by at least an inch or two.

6. Not Letting the Lobster Rest

After cooking, it is crucial to let the lobster rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices in the meat to distribute evenly, resulting in a more flavorful and tender result.

Thank You for Reading!

Now that you know how to cook live lobster perfectly with these tips and tricks, it’s time to give it a try on your own. Impress your friends and family with your cooking skills and serve them a delicious lobster meal. Don’t forget to share your experience with us! Visit us again for more exciting recipes and cooking tips.

Cooking Live Lobster: Tips and Tricks to Make it Perfect

Learn how to cook live lobster perfectly with these tips and tricks. Impress your friends and family with your cooking skills and serve them a delicious lobster meal.

  • 4 live lobsters
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  1. Rinse the lobsters and remove any bands or ties from their claws. Place them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to sedate them.
  2. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add the salt, lemon, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
  3. Carefully add the lobsters to the pot and cover it. Boil for about 20-25 minutes for a 1 1/2 pound lobster. Once they are cooked, remove them from the pot and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.
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cooking, lobster, seafood, tips, tricks

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