Lobsta Lessons

Still alive, terrified of their impending doom.
The McNair Method:

2 live Maine lobsters, approx 1.5 lbs each
3 stalks celery
½ a white onion, in one piece
2 lemons, cut in half
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 teaspoons sugar
3 beers, lager or pilsner

This is a simple, pretty-much-foolproof way to cook lobster. It was demonstrated to me by my good friend Scott McNair from Yemassee, South Carolina. Scott is a shrimp farmer, amongst other things, and as such understands crustaceans better than most mortal men. I made some slight alterations to his technique, but the idea of boiling the lobster with beer and pickling spice is his idea, or his grandma’s idea, not sure which. 

Fill a very large pot 3/4 of the way with water. Add celery, onion, lemon, seasonings, and beer.  Cover and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Take off lid and drop live lobsters headfirst into water. Return water to a boil and turn heat to medium. Cover tightly and boil for 10 minutes for the first pound of lobster, and 5 minutes for each additional pound, just about 20 minutes total for this recipe. Pull lobsters from water. Lobsters are cooked when the first one floats to the surface AND you see some white, coagulated fluid leak out from the joint between the lobster body and the beginning of the tail section.
At this point the hot lobster is ready to eat. Holding the lobster with kitchen towels, twist off lobster tails. Cut tails in half lengthwise along the curved top of the shell with a very sharp, heavy chef’s knife. Remove digestive tract and discard. Using meat mallet gently crack claws and knuckles to loosen meat. You can wiggle the bottom part of the claw perpendicularly back-and-forth and pull off. This makes the removal of the claw meat much easier. Serve as-is with drawn butter and lemon wedges.
Feeling no pain.

If you wish to cook the lobster for later use, plunge the entire cooked lobster into an ice bath for about 15 minutes to stop the cooking and chill quickly. At this point the lobster can be broken down for salad, sandwiches, or yummy delicious pasta.

Regina loves lobster, perhaps more than anything else in the world. She was born in Boston, which means she has loved “lobsta” since birth!

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