How to cook Maine Lobster
The two most popular ways to cook Lobsters are Steaming and Boiling. These are explained here. But before we get started, we just want to dispel a common myth: Lobsters do not scream when you put them into boiling water. The sound you hear is air whistling out of the shell as it expands due to the heat. That's our story, and we're stickin' with it. That out of the way, here's how you cook a lobster:
Humanely Killing Before Cooking
Whether you are going to steam, boil, or broil the lobster, there is an easy and humane way to kill the lobster first. Simply put the lobster in the freezer for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how cold your freezer is). It's not long enough to freeze the lobster but it is long enough to make the lobster go dormant. Sort of like how anestesia works on humans. The lobster goes into a deep sleep but is still alive. No matter how you cook it the lobster won't know what hit him. I learned this trick from the pbs cooking show Lydia's Italy. Since using it I see a difference in how the lobster reacts when I toss it into a pot of boiling water. There's no reaction when using this method, unlike the old way of seeing the lobster tense up. It certainly makes me feel better knowing I'm not causing something unnecessary pain. (Contributed by Mandy Fox)
Put about 2 inches of sea water or salted fresh water in the bottom of a large kettle. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Put in the live Lobsters, one at a time, grasping just behind the claws. Let the water boil again and begin timing. Allow 18 minutes for a 1 to 1 1/4 lb. hard-shell Lobster, and 20 minutes for a 1 1/2 lb. hard-shell Lobster. If the Lobster has a soft-shell, reduce the cooking time by 3 minutes.
Fill a large kettle 3/4 full of sea water. If sea water is not available, add 2 tablespoons of salt for each quart of water. a good rule of thumb is to allow 2 1/2 quarts of water for each Lobster.
Bring the water to a boil. Put in the live Lobsters, one at a time, and let the water boil again. Lower the heat, cover the kettle, and simmer for about 15 minutes for 1 to 1 1/4 lb. hard-shell Lobsters, and about 20 minutes for 1 1/2 to 2 lb. hard-shell Lobsters. Like with steaming, soft-shell Lobsters take a little less time to cook, so reduce the cooking time by 3 minutes.
A general rule of thumb: When the antennae pull out easily, the Lobsters are done.