How to Boil Lobster

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 54,251
    Chef Ray Hayes demonstrates how to poach a lobster.

    Ray Hayes: Hello, my name is Ray Hayes. I am an Executive Chef, you are watching my series on lobster and next we are going to show how to poach a lobster. So when you are going to cook two lobsters that you and your wife or someone is going to eat, you have a large lobster, this three pounder, you want to go ahead and put him in head first into the water and you want to make sure that, that tail doesn't come flapping around. Lobsters motivate themselves to the water by flipping their tail and forcing the water forward, so once you put them in or you want to just hold that tail a little bit until the lobster has quieted down, now you are okay.

    So what happens sometimes when you drop a lobster in the water that tail will start flapping back and forth and it will splash water on you. This one is pretty calmed down, now we can take our hand off or take our tongs off of the tail, he is not going to do any damage to us there. This is one is about three pounds, it is a good pound or so heavier than the other one so I am going to let this one cook for three or four minutes in here. When I feel like this one is well on its way to cooking I will drop the smaller lobster in there. That way they will both come out of the water at the same time and you can eat it at the same time.

    We have got this one cooking here for three or four minutes, we are going to tuck the tail and drop this little guy in there all ready to go just like that. Again, lobsters move themselves through the water by flapping their tail, so as soon as he becomes distress, he is going stat flapping so you want to hold the tail inside there a little bit so it doesn't splash water on to you. After he sets there and calms down, that is it, simple thing to do. Now, it is hard to tell the lobster, you can't say it like with meat, you say 120 degrees, 125 is where or 65 minutes per pound, it is different in this way. Some of the shells are thicker than the other, some of them are more muscular than the other lobsters. So basically, I tell my cooks just take it out when it is done and the only way to tell that is when you pick the lobster up out of the water, you will able to feel the resiliency in the tail, when you try to straighten it out again, it will be very firm. If it is squishy or still moves, the lobster meat is not cooked all the way yet. So they range anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on the size of lobster, the temperature of the water and how many you have put into the pot at the same time.

    These should take about 10 or 12 minutes and they will be ready to go. Now lobsters turn red when you start cooking them, this is the -Carotene that is in the shell. Carotene is what also some people are allergic too. When they say, I can't eat shell fish, most of the shell fish have that little color in them. When you cook them, they turn red. Shrimp has that carotene in their shell also, that is why they turn pink or red, lobsters are like that, shrimp is like that, slipper lobster meats anything with the hard crustaceous shell like that has that carotene in there which is what most people are allergic to, the chemical in that.

    As you can see these guys turned red right away and then the white stuff you see here, the foam is the juice from the lobster just like when you cook a steak you see juice comes out of the steak, this is the same thing that comes out of the lobster. We are going check its tails and see how they bend. Yeah, he still pretty bend, not too bad, and now we are probably two or three minutes away now. As I said before, when you are testing it for doneness here, if you pull the tail and the less flexible it is, the more done it is. So once you get that thing out of the water and pull the tail, it doesnt flex as much, it is done, you can pull it out. Here we go, just get him out here and then like I said before, we cook the other one first for a few minutes so they would be done. Oh yeah, this guys is really too -- now we got a three pounder and a two pounder out of the water at the same time, there you go.

    Alright, we put the rubber bands on here because the lobsters are mean. They bite you, they fight each other for space occupancy. So I put them on there, but we do not need them on there after they are done. So once you cook the lobsters the carotene comes out, turns the lobster red, but it also dries out from the heat from inside the shell and stuff, so what we do in the restaurant is take a little butter and we just put butter on there and it adds the moisture back into the outside of the shell so you get nice and red color on the lobster. This is why when you get the lobster in the restaurants it is always nice and shiny and you go, Ooh, it is so pretty. This is why. There is a lot of work to make that lobster look pretty.

    Alright, now that we have boiled our lobster and steamed them through and through, they are ready to go. Now we are going to show how we can bake them or grill them again after you have done this. We are also going to show how to crack the shells out of here and take the tail meat out of this shell.