How to Select Lobster

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 28,546
    Chef Ray Hayes demonstrates how to select your lobster.

    Ray Hayes: Hey, my name is Ray Hayes. I am the Executive Chef here and you are watching my series on lobster. I am going to first show you how to select your lobster. So let us talk about lobsters. When you go to pick up your lobster, the store in a lot of your supermarkets will have a tank there with the lobsters in them. You want to make sure when you pick the lobster that they are moving around like this. If they are hanging, these guys are pretty alive, but if they are hanging with their claws down like this when you pick them up, they are dead. They are probably not going to be as sweet or tasty.

    These guys are looking pretty lively here, so this would be the kind of lobster you want to pick, something that is moving around and is fairly active. This is a 3.

    3 pound, just a little bit over a three pound lobster, this is a one-and-a-half to two pound lobster. This is basically what you find in your restaurants nowadays, two pound, one-and-a-half to two pound lobsters. The small ones that you see, the real small ones, they are usually on special 16.

    95 sum like that in a restaurant are called chicks. They are one pound to one-and-a-quarter pound lobsters.

    So we have chicks or the small ones, then we have the one to twos, then we have the threes and up. Threes and up mean they go up to five, six, eight pounds, eight pounds are hard to get by though. These particular species of lobsters have claws on them, these are the main lobsters, they come out of the east coast, cold waters and stuff. The ones that you see in California would have just the tail without the claws on them are called Rock lobsters. They also come out of Brazil, Venezuela, Australia, New Zealand, but they are just the tail, most of that creature looks just like this without the claws. The two different species we just talked about the rock lobster and the main lobster tail, some of them like the sweeter and let meat that is in the main, some like the consistency and resiliency to the bite of the rock lobster tail. Once you get these home, the best way to kill them, the best way is to just drop them in the water, if you like, you can just put them in your freezer. Now they already live in cold water and stuff, in the subzero most of the time but if you put them in your freezer they just take a little nap and get real comfortable and they will perish in your freezer, then you don't have to worry about their screaming or the noise and all kind of stuff you put in the water when you drop them in the water to cook them.

    The noise is actually just an air sack that's inside the lobster here and what happens is though water gets -- the air inside the lobster gets super-heated, if you drop it into the water this way, it just forces the air to come out and steam so it sounds like a whistle. Then some wonderful person said, It is screaming at me. So that is how it has always been. So you want to make sure if you do cook them live without killing them, first, you want to drop them in head first. You drop them in head first like this, that super-heated air wont come out and you won't have any noise and it wont scare off the kids and all that kind of stuff.

    So this is where we are going now. We can go straight to the water pot with this one or we can put them in the freezer and save them for later.