Even after spending almost all of his life around lobsters, Bill Atwood still loves the taste of them. His own recipe is true Maine simplicity: Fill the pot with 1/3 salt water or sea water. Drop lobsters in. Cook.
For other lobster cooking basics, the following guidelines come from the Maine Lobster Promotion Council's book, Cooking Maine Lobster... there’s more than one way.
Allow 2 quarts of clean seawater for each lobster to be boiled. Or use the same quantity of fresh tap water, adding 1/2 teaspoon salt per quart.
1/4 cup butter, melted, per lobster 1/2 lemon, quartered lengthwise, per lobster
The number of lobsters to be boiled determines the minimum kettle size. The water should fill the pot one-half to not more than two-thirds full. Bring water to rolling boil over high heat. Place lobsters head first into the pot, completely submerging them.
Cover the pot tightly and return to a boil as quickly as possible. When the water boils, begin counting the time. Regulate the heat to prevent water from boiling over, but be sure to keep the liquid boiling throughout the cooking time.
Boil a lobster for 7 minutes per pound. Add 3 minutes per pound for each additional pound thereafter. For example, a 2-pound lobster should boil for 10 minutes and a 1 1/2- pound lobster should boil for 8 1/2 minutes. When the tail temperature reaches 180 degrees, the lobster is done.
Pour two inches of seawater into a large enough pot to comfortably hold the lobsters. Some cooks also place a steaming rack large enough to hold the lobsters above the water, in the bottom. Bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Place lobsters in the pot, cover tightly, return to a boil as quickly as possible and start counting the time.
Steam a lobster for 10 minutes per pound. Add three minutes per pound for each additional pound thereafter. For example, a 2-pound lobster should boil for 13 minutes and a 1 1/2-pound lobster should boil 11 1/2 minutes.
NOTE: These times are for new shell lobsters. If cooking hard shell lobsters, add three minutes to boiling or steaming time. Because shells may turn red before the water even returns to a boil, do not use color as an indication of doneness. When the antennae pull out easily, the lobster is done.
Immediately transfer boiled or steamed lobsters to individual plates and serve at once, garnished with lemon quarters. Pour melted butter into small bowls and present separately with the lobsters.
Not quite sure how to eat a lobster?
Click here to see step-by-step instructions.