How To Have the Best New England Lobster Boil EVER

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How To Have the Best New England Lobster Boil EVER

How To Have the Best New England Lobster Boil EVER

Would you believe me if I told you that you can eat fresh lobster, straight from the ocean, as soon as tomorrow- no matter where you live? Believe me, because it is true!

I’m going to walk you through how to prepare for and host a New England style lobster boil. Can you think of a more perfect way to celebrate a milestone birthday, holiday or anniversary? (Or just a normal Saturday if you really love lobster!)

This summer, we hosted a 4th of July/birthday celebration lobster boil! We had originally planned to spend our 2020 family vacation on the coast of Massachusetts and Maine, and had every intention of eating fresh lobster all day, every day. We cancelled and then rescheduled and then cancelled again because you know, Covid-19 has ruined a lot of things!

We were pretty disappointed our travel plans never worked out. Since we couldn’t go to New England and eat all the fresh lobster our hearts desired, I decided to bring New England to Indiana! I know you can buy live lobsters at certain grocery stores, but I’ve never done it, and I don’t know anyone who has. Besides, how long have those lobsters been in those tanks? And of course, a lobster plucked straight from the ocean and flown to your home would be most ideal, right? You can’t really get more ‘fresh’ than that!

There are quite a few companies that will deliver lobsters to your door. I scoured the internet, reading reviews and checking prices. I finally decided to go with The Lobster Trap out of Bourne, Massachusetts. I was not disappointed!

We ordered whole, live lobsters and decided on a dozen of them at 1.25 pounds each. Each lobster this size will feed roughly 1-2 people, so you need to first determine how many people you’re planning for. Once you have the lobsters, you need to cook them within 48 hours. The sooner you cook them, the more delicious they will taste!

Storing Your Live Lobsters

Do not immerse your lobsters in water. I repeat, do not immerse your lobsters in water! Naturally, you would think that you get live lobsters delivered to your door, so you need to keep them in water or they’ll die, right? Wrong. Your lobsters need to be stored in a cool, damp place. The ideal storage location is your refrigerator crisper, but you can also keep them in a cooler by covering the lobsters with cool, damp newspapers and placing ice packs on top.

Lobsters start to decompose the moment they die. If you think your lobster is dying, you need to cook it immediately! As long as your lobster is moving, it is still alive and is fine to eat. You can store your lobsters for 48 hours, but cooking and eating them within the first 24 hours of delivery is most ideal.

Prepare Your Lobster Boil

A New England lobster boil sounds super intimidating, doesn’t it? Lobster can be pricey, and the thought of cooking anything that is still alive, really shies people away from attempting it. But let me tell you- it is so easy!

You need to first gather your ingredients. You can modify to fit your needs, but typically, you will want to use the following:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Raw shrimp
  • Andouille sausage
  • Mussels
  • Potatoes
  • Lemons
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • A LOT of salt

We used a propane burner outdoors to boil our water in an extra large stock pot with a steamer basket. The steamer basket is important and convenient! With the steamer basket, you can just grab the basket out of the pot and dump it on your table.

Get your water boiling and add a lot of salt. When you think you’ve added enough salt, add more. The goal is to recreate the ocean in your pot. The salt will also help season your food while boiling.

I bought a stash of disposable aluminum pans. I wanted to separate my ingredients by batches, since our pot would only hold two lobsters at a time. Since I had a dozen lobsters, I set out 6 trays and divided my corn and potatoes, shrimp and sausage, mussels and lemons. You are going to want to keep each item separate in the tray, because each ingredient needs to be added to the pot at different intervals due to cooking times. Season the entire tray generously with Old Bay seasoning.

Cooking Your Lobsters

Lobster needs to cook 7 minutes for the first pound, and 3 additional minutes for every pound thereafter. We had to tweak our cooking times a little bit after the first or second batch, but we found the most success with these steps:

  1. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Add your potatoes first.
  2. At the 12 minute mark, add your corn and lemons.
  3. When your timer says 10 minutes left, add your sausage to the pot.
  4. With 8 minutes left, you need to drop in your lobsters, claws first. Remove any banding on the lobsters, and be careful to not get pinched! If you would like to kill the lobsters in a more humane way, you can pop them in the freezer for a few minutes first before the boiler.
  5. At 4-5 minutes until your buzzer goes off, add in your mussels and shrimp.

When your 15 minutes is up, lift your steamer basket out of the boiling water and dump on your table. You will want to have a prepared space. Just clean your empty table and top with brown, food-grade kraft paper! This will make for an easier clean-up and for that you will be grateful. Once you have your boil on the table, sprinkle on some more Old Bay seasoning and dig in!

You will know that your lobsters are done when they turn that gorgeous scarlet color we all know and love. Don’t forget your shell crackers to help open the lobsters up, mini forks to scoop out the meat, and melted butter for dipping! Keep paper bibs and plenty of napkins on hand since things are bound to get deliciously messy. If you’ve never had lobster claw, you’re in for a treat! It is much sweeter and more tender than the popular tail. The corn and potatoes and other seafood add-ins complete this boil and really make it top-notch!

I hope you enjoy this super easy and fun New England style lobster boil! Share photos if you decide to give it a try!

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