Cooking Time for Atlantic Lobster

by Katherine Macropoulos

Retain tenderness and flavor with steaming.

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From the Atlantic to your table, nothing tastes better than succulent lobster cooked to perfection through boiling, steaming or broiling. Cooking times vary per each method, however; checking for done-ness is the best way to assure your lobster is safe to eat. Atlantic lobsters have five sets of legs and large meat-filled claws. The tails yield the most meat and provide 4 to 6 ounces. Choose 1 to 1 1/2 lobsters per person.

Traditional Boiling Method

Plunging a lobster headfirst into boiling salted water is a traditional way of cooking Atlantic lobster. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt for each liter of water. Your lobster pot should be large enough to accommodate and cover 1 or 2 lobsters comfortably when fully submerged. Once thus submerged and boiling resumes, cook the lobster for 7 to 10 minutes for the 1st pound, then 2 to 4 minutes more for each additional pound. Increase the cooking time accordingly for each additional lobster: Cook 2, 1- pound Atlantic lobsters for approximately 14 to 20 minutes.

Steaming Adds Flavor

Not only is steaming gentler than boiling, it's harder to overcook lobster with steam, and this method yields a more flavorful and tender meat. Use a large covered pot and set a steaming rack into the bottom. Fill the pot with approximately 2 inches of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. When the water begins to boil add the lobsters 1 at a time. Retain the steam by keeping the pot covered; periodically move the lobsters around to ensure even cooking. Steam lobsters for approximately 10 minutes per pound.

Broiling Your Lobster

Gourmet lobster dishes such as lobster thermidor call for broiling, but broiling is not for the faint of heart. It requires the lobster to be split from head to tail before cooking by piercing the back of the head and cutting toward the tail. The lobster may twitch, but rest assured it will die instantly. If preferred, the lobster may be blanched in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes prior to splitting. Once the lobster is split lengthwise, the cartilaginous stomach sac and intestines from the head to the gills and any broken shells must be discarded. Split lobster may be brushed lightly with butter or oil and placed under the broiler 4 inches from the flame, and cooked for approximately 15 minutes.

Are They Done Yet?

Atlantic lobsters turns bright red when cooked; however, depending on their size, red color may not be an accurate indication that they are fully cooked. Use the appropriate cooking time and check for done-ness by pulling at the front legs of the lobster. If they pull away easily, then the lobster is ready. Also, check for done-ness by cracking open a portion of shell on the tail. The meat should be pearly white and opaque rather than translucent in color.

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About the Author

Katherine Macropoulos has authored two books; a fictional, young reader and a spiritual autobiography. Her areas of expertise include food, beauty and style, travel, culture and society, business and spirituality. Macropoulos holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a diploma in photography, graphic design and marketing and certification in esthetics.