We show you how to boil a lobster and enjoy New Year’s Eve.
Lobsters by the Fire
In our family, there is a tradition that goes back several years. Eating Lobsters by the fire on New Year’s Eve. When our two sons were much younger (they are 27 and 26 right now) at Christmas time, we would pack the car and head to our cottage on Lake Leelanau, in Leland, MI. Located just west of Traverse City, Michigan, the cottage is not winterized. It usually took about 3 days for the place to get warm enough not to wear hats and gloves inside.
But we had many friends who lived in Leland, MI year-round, and a bunch more who also came up to the Lake to celebrate the holidays. New Year’s Eve in Leland was not Times Square. However, with our great friends (Bob & Arden Schlueter and Jim Ristine and Mardi Black), we established a New Year’s Eve tradition of drinking Champagne and eating lobsters by the fire. Lots of appetizers, stories, and great memories happened there every year.
As our boys got older, we started going to different locations for the Christmas/New Years’ holidays. But we always talked about Champagne and Lobsters by the fireplace. And we knew someday we would get back to that tradition.
Well, 2020 happened and we were not heading to Leland or anywhere for the holidays. So we decided to recreate our fun times in Leland, on Lake Leelanau, and have our own Champagne & Lobsters by the fireplace here in Milwaukee.
- A large pot
- Cocktail Forks to pick lobster meat
- A hammer or metal device to crack the claws
- 2 Live lobsters 1 per person
- 1 Large pot of salted water
- Butter melted for dipping
- Lemon slices
- Bread for dipping into the lobster-infused butter optional
- side dish like cole slaw or french fries
- Fill your large lobster pot with water. You need about three quarts of water for each 1.5 pounds of lobster. The lobsters should be totally submerged in water.
- Add 1/4 cup of sea salt for each gallon of water. This will add flavor to the lobsters.
- Bring the saltwater to a rolling boil.
- Put your live lobsters in one at a time. Do not cover.
- Stir the lobsters halfway through boiling. (cooking times below)
- Boiled lobsters will be bright red when done.
- Let lobsters stand for 3-5 minutes before serving.
- If you can, you a large kitchen knife to split the tail
Lobster Boiling – Notes
Whether you steam or boil, pick a pot with lots of room. Do not crowd the lobsters in the pot as the heat will not circulate evenly around the lobsters. If you do not have a big pot, you may cook them in batches, using a couple of pots. A 4-5 quart soup pot will work well for a couple of small lobsters. A 20-quart pot will cook about 6 of the 1.5 lb lobsters. The pot does not have to be heavy-duty as water will actually boil faster in a lighter gauge metal pot.
How to Tell if Lobsters are cooked
Another common mistake is adding to the cooking time just because you are cooking more than 1-2 lobsters in the pot. Many people mistakenly boil a 2.5 lb crustacean twice as long as a 1 1/4 lb lobster. For timing, use the individual weights, not the total weight of all lobsters being cooked.
The lobster is ready when the shell is entirely red. When properly cooking lobster, the meat becomes a creamy white color all the way through. The internal temperature should read about 135-140 degrees F. Remember when you take your lobsters out of the pot they will continue to cook. To stop the cooking process, put them in a bowl of ice water.
If you overcook them, you’re going to be eating tough lobster. If you under-cook them you can always heat them up. The reason many people believe larger ones are tough is that they overcook them. Just bring your pot back to a rolling boil and regulate the heat.
Cooking Secrets for Men
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If you liked our recipe for Boiling Lobsters, you should try our recipe for Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew)
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