Simply The Best Way To Cook A Lobster!

by Jeff Berkowitz on April 11, 2011 · 18 comments

in gluten-free,Lobster,Seafood

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I have killed thousands of lobsters…this makes me a bad person? On the contrary, it makes me an expert lobster killer. You can become as proficient at killing lobsters as I am with just a little practice and some common sense. This would be the time on the television when they say viewer discretion is advised…I have seen a lot of stupid things on television about the best way to kill a lobster – and once again one’s fame in the cooking industry does not lessen the chance that you will utter something stupid about the best way to kill a lobster. Please do not run a knife or skewer into the beasts head…you will not kill the lobster that way…as if you could hit its minuscule brain with a mere thrust of a knife…LMAO. You will merely succeed in pissing the poor animal off and you will lose most of its precious vital fluids that can be used to flavor a soup or sauce.   Do you really think that such a small brain could support higher thinking much less a complex system of nerves…just rip or cut the damned thing up…it is the kindest of acts to just do it and get it over with; or just plunge the thing into boiling water, it will be dead in under a minute…I promise. And no they do not scream…honestly…where do people come up with these stories.

Lobster Tail Meat Submerged In Hot Butter

There are several ways one can cook a lobster: bake, roast or grill, way too dry – lobster has no internal fat so these methods are a recipe for disaster (or at least dry, tough lobster); boil, steam, poach – now we’re on the right track, lobster needs a moist method of cookery to bring out the delicate sweet nature of its flesh. Lobster has a natural sweetness in its flesh and, like most other seafood, suffers badly when overcooked; the secret is moist method of cooking and don’t over-do it, the flesh should just have turned opaque in the center when cooking is finished. A 1¼ pound lobster will take about 8-9 minutes to cook in rapidly boiling water.

Most of us like butter with our lobster…Right? I propose that the best way to cook a lobster, therefore, is to poach it in butter! I am screaming right now because very few people have ever tried this (except in very posh restaurants), and it is exceedingly simple. This method is so simple that I think you should try it at home so that you too can experience the succulent, delicate flesh bathed in it own essence and the exotic richness and perfume of cooked butter. So without further delay here is what we had for dinner last night:

Cold Water Lobster Tails, Shells Removed, Last Segment Left On

Poached Lobster Tails (We also had some steak…Surf and Turf…but this post is only about the lobster…we have discussed steak elsewhere and I am sure we will do it again, but today is all about the butter poached Lobster.)

4 each cold water lobster tails (such as those from Maine, Canada, South Africa, just to name a few. Warm water tails are generally inferior.)

4 oz unsalted butter

See, I told you it was simple. Only two ingredients.

Melt the butter over low heat in a narrow sauce pan that has a lid. While the butter is melting (and coming up to 180°F or so) use scissors to cut through the shell from the opened end toward the tail. I always leave the last section on…the tail fans nicely and makes a cool presentation. Peel the shell away with your fingers being careful not to pinch or cut yourself on the pieces of shell. Remove the dark sand filled intestine-like structure that may be exposed in the flesh once it is peeled; it is full of sand and is unpleasant to eat. Set that one aside and do the same to the other three (this procedure is pretty much the same no matter how big the tails are or the exact species) Place all of the tails into the butter making sure that they are submerged into the butter during the cooking process. Baste the tails several times; the total cooking time should only be from 4-7 minutes depending on the size of your tails. They are done when the meat is opaque and the tail has curled slightly. To flatten the tail meat for presentation simply make several small cuts using a sharp knife across the tail on the bottom side. This is the most perfect way to cook lobster meat. I promise the next time I buy whole live lobsters I will do a full video on how to pick the perfect lobster and how to handle it once you get it home. Enjoy!

Butter Poached Lobster Is Perfect With Steak, Perfect!

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April 12, 2011 at 10:10 pm

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristie February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

What if all I have is salted butter? This looks amazing, I’m so glad I found this method!


2 Jeff Berkowitz February 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

It should be fine to use salted butter. Usually, the lobsters have enough of their own salt, but the salt in the butter should fall to the bottom and not effect the taste of the lobster too much. I never buy salted butter. I find that unsalted butter tastes fresher and you can always add salt.


3 Mike January 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Your recipe calls for 4 oz. butter — can that be correct?


4 Jeff Berkowitz January 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

Yes, I have a pot that fits the lobster and 4 oz of butter perfectly. Having said that, if your pot is too big you may need more butter to cover the lobster or use a spoon to constantly wash the un-submerged with hot butter.


5 Mike January 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Thanks. We are trying this tonight. A friend gave us a box of 10 frozen tails for Christmas (a good friend :)


6 Jeff Berkowitz January 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

What a great gift, I hope you enjoy them!


7 Mike January 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Me, too. Im thinking to serve them over angel hair, dressed with some of the butter. Too much butter? Also, what if I steep the shells in the butter before poaching the lobster? Season with tarragon?


8 Jeff Berkowitz January 15, 2013 at 11:20 am

I like the idea of steeping the shells in the butter before the lobster, it should add some flavor and some color to the butter. Dressing the pasta with some of the butter should be great and I love tarragon, so this sounds great. I often use whole lobsters for this and take some of the butter, saute shallots and the tamale in the butter deglaze with a bit of sherry and use that to make mashed potatoes which I serve with the poached lobster.


9 Mike January 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

It was great! Lots of vanilla/lobster butter now in my freezer :). I cant believe how easy this was. I have grilled, broiled, baked and sautéed tails before but this produced the most tender and flavorful of all. Thanks for the tip.


10 Mike February 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Just a follow up: i hve made this twice now. Too much vanilla the first time (whole scraped bean) and two small tails; second time 4 small tails (and I learned how to preserve the presentation :) and just a touch of Tahitian extract. Very slight color in the butter but lots of lobster flavor; I used it a few days later in a seafood risotto and it was great.


11 Mike February 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm

By the way, the touch of terragon was a perfect accent.


12 damian November 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I Bought labster tails and wanted to know can i just throw them in pot of boiling water? and how much water


13 Jeff Berkowitz November 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I do not like to boil tails. They lose too much flavor in the water. That is why I like to poach them in butter. Alternately, you could broil them or grill them and that way they are quite delicious.


14 Amanda August 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm

U-uh…It looks delicious. Personally I don’t eat lobter, allergic, but I always appreciate a good skill from a chef who made the food with all his or her heart
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Mama Marie’s Moroccan Tuna Brik =-.


15 helloaphy April 15, 2011 at 5:38 am

I will have to admit that I am one of those that have never thought of poaching the lobster tail in butter, but that has now came to an end because this sounds absolutely delicious!
I cannot wait for the full Lobster video!


16 Roberta April 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

How did I miss this post? I love lobster. And butter, butter, butter.

Haven’t seen you on Twitter this week either. Thought you were on spring break. But I see you were hiding the lobster and butter from me.


17 Tim F April 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Thanks for this post.
I will have to admit that I am one of those that have never thought of poaching the lobster tail in butter, but that has now came to an end because this sounds absolutely delicious!
I cannot wait for the full Lobster video!


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