It’s hard to believe that lobsters were originally used in Maine during the colonial era to fertilize the soil and to feed hungry prisoners and servants. In Massachusetts, servants actually rebelled and demanded their contracts stipulate that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week. Indeed, the prized “taste of Maine,” now loved by locals and tourists alike and a more than $400 million dollar a year industry, was once a poor man’s food.
The first official report of a lobster catch on American soil dates back to 1605 in Maine, making the Maine lobster industry one of the oldest continually operated industries in America. Up until 1850, lobsters were typically caught in the tidal pools that dot every mile of the rugged New England coast. That was the year that the lobster trap was invented and now roughly 5,800 commercial lobstermen in Maine are thankful for.
In Maine, the lobster industry is regulated by law to protect the “crop” for future generations. Every lobsterman is required to carry a gauge to measure the distance from the lobster’s eye socket to the end of its carapace (the body) where it’s tail starts to ensure it’s the right size. There is a legal minimum size of 3 ¼ inches and a maximum of 5 inches in Maine, and the lobster cannot be a female with visible eggs on her tail. It takes anywhere between 4 to 7 years for a lobster to grow to legal size. Harvesting lobsters in Maine is by trap only – no diving or dragging is allowed.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about our local delicacy, go find your perfect lobster at the local pound! Look for ones that are squirming and lively, not lethargic and don’t be intimidated by cooking them. Even though there are lots of ways to grill, bake or boil lobster, we prefer the recommended steaming process – it is a great, yet simple way to cook, but not overcook, the delicate meat. We recommend using a steamer insert placed inside a lobster pot fitted with a heavy lid. Be sure to not overcrowd the pot too much, and keep the water at a serious rolling boil. It’s better to cook the lobsters in several small batches than to rush them by fitting too many into the pot at once. Another great perk of steaming the lobster is that they will stay hot for quite a while, so you can easily cook just a few at a time.
General Cooking Guidelines:
- 1 pound: 5 minutes
- 1 1/8 pound: 6 minutes
- 1 ¼ pound: 8 minutes
- 1 ½ – 2 pounds: 8 to 10 minutes
- More than 2 pounds: 12 to 14 minutes
When they are ready, serve with real, melted butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. We like to add corn on the cob, crusty French bread and a fresh salad to complete the meal. All that’s left to do is get out the picks, crackers and plenty of napkins and a chilled bottle of Pinot Gris or ice-cold beer and you’re set for the best Down East feast you’ve ever had. Check out our website for all the lobster essentials you could ever need.
In the chance that you have some lobster meat leftover, make sure to enjoy our favorite Lobster BLT the next day! One of our favorite summertime lunches.
- 1 ¾ cups cooked lobster meat (roughly two, 1 ¼ pound live lobsters)
- 2 strips great quality, thick, smoked bacon
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices brioche bread, a crusty roll or your favorite bread
- 4 romaine or buttercrunch lettuce leaves
- 2 to 4 thick slices vine-ripened tomato
- Stonewall Kitchen Basil Pesto Aioli
- Coarsely chop cooked lobster meat and set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Add the celery to the lobster meat. Fold in 2 Tablespoons of the aioli and the lemon juice to lightly coat the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Assemble and enjoy the best sandwich you’ve ever tasted!