How to buy Maine Lobster
Let’s be honest, lobsters are odd looking. Imagine the first person
to decide this would be a delicious dinner. That took courage.
Buying crustacean, locousta, langoustine, hommard, homarus, you
can’t be too squeamish. Here are some tips on how and where to buy
Maine Lobster to bring home to cook. You can also have live Maine
Lobster shipped fresh and ready to cook from
1. Make sure they are Maine Lobster – not some imposter
Maine has the majority of American Lobsters, and Mainers believe – they are the best. Big tail, two claws, two long antennae, typically weighing a pound and a quarter to pound and a half – that’s a classic Maine lobster. There are culls and chicks, referring to lobsters with one claw or small lobsters. And there are lobsters in Mass and in Canada that are similar. But lobster aficionados pledge that Maine waters are ideal for harvesting lobster, the water temp is just right, not too cold or too warm, off the Maine coast in the deep Atlantic. So confirm that the Maine lobster pound is selling the real Maine deal. If you have ever had Caribbean or Pacific Lobster – you know they don’t even belong in the same crustacean category – spiny tail and no delicious meat filled claws.
2. Make sure Lobsters are fresh
Maine lobster pounds and seafood stores should have fresh lobster in their tanks, the busier the store and the closer to the water the better. Roadside trucks are often direct from the lobstermen, with low overhead. Don’t you feel badly for those lobster bumming in a tank in some supermarket in Florida, like puppies at the pound … “someone please pick me and take me home already.”
3. Fresh Maine Lobsters are lively
The fresher the lobster, the more active they are in the tank, and as you put them in the pot. You want a little feisty-ness in your feast.
4. The Hard Shell Soft Shell Debate
Hard-shell lobsters are more expensive because they contain more meat, they are in the mature cycle of their shell development which is packed full of delicious lobster meat. You can tell a hard from a soft shell by gently squeezing their body (don’t crush or crack it before it’s cooked– that’s bad lobster form) Hard shell are better for shipping. Soft shell have just molted their outer shell and the meat is not as plentiful or firm. However soft shell can be bountiful mid to late summer at the market and less expensive. Hard-shell lobsters are reasonably priced from Mother's Day through the Fourth of July as a rule of thumb.
5. Buy a Male or Female Lobster?
To determine the gender of a lobster, flip it over and check its little swimmerets under the tail. The swimmerets closest to the body on a male lobster are hard, whereas on a female lobster, they are soft and feathery. Please no sexist jokes here. Lobster LOL. There is no taste difference from male to female lobsters. If you are looking for more tail, you’ll want a female lobster. Ok, more lobster jokes here. The female lobsters carry unfertilized eggs or roe in the tail, which is the red caviar of lobster – considered a delicacy to some. Once cooked the “coral” or roe will turn a bright red, but it is black before the lobster is cooked.
Finally, for tips on How to Cook a Maine Lobster when you get home, see our Guide on the proper time to steam a lobster and most importantly how to eat a Maine lobster.