In today’s “Friday Faves,” I’m spilling the beans on one of my very FAVORITE DAYS OF SUMMER!
But first, let’s back up. You know that we have lived in New England for a number of years (Connecticut for 4 years and Massachusetts for 1 year). And Joel spent the first 18 years of his life in Maine.
Between the two of us, we have spent a considerable amount of time in New England. Frankly, I don’t like winter, so it’s a surprise I’ve lasted this long, hah! Over the years, we’ve done a lot of New England-ey things, like hiking, camping, sitting next to various bodies of water, and #alltheDunkins… but this summer we did something totally NEW to us…
We hosted a lobster bake!
(Forgive me for the click-baity title – I really do feel that strongly about lobster.) :)
Being that lobster bakes are usually a summer thing, I debated whether I should post this at all, given that we are now into Fall. But I decided to go ahead with it anyway. After all, this is a day for sharing favorites, and this is TRULY at the top of the list!
When we first started planning the lobster bake, I did a ton of research on the history and the how-to. I had only ever had a “whole lobster” once before in my life, and didn’t know what I was doing :) …still tasted great though.
While reading up on it, I came across this post from the Reluctant Gourmet which presented all the information in a digestible and non-intimidating way. This really helped me to wrap my mind around the task at hand.
I ordered special forks and crackers from Amazon which are designed for seafood. The crackers were handy for breaking into those tough lobster shells. They can also be used for other types of seafood (crab) and, I’m told they can also be used as nut-crackers. As for the little forks, I barely used mine at all. It was a bit fiddly. I saw a few of my friends using their tiny forks expertly though.
I also bought these awesome disposable lobster bibs which were useful for keeping the “juice” off our clothes. They had the added bonus of looking awesome in photos, too! The bibs are probably not a necessity, but added to the theme, since they had big red lobsters printed on them. You could get away with cloth napkins or paper towels tucked into your shirt-neck. Just be careful, lobster can be quite messy! I was definitely glad we had the bibs.
Except for one thing… a design flaw on the bibs is that they would flap around anytime the wind kicked up. We were on the patio, so there was no escaping the wind. If you were indoors this wouldn’t be an issue. For us, it wasn’t a particularly windy day, so this wasn’t a huge issue per se, just a minor annoyance. Maybe the next time I’m bib-shopping, I will look for bibs that tie around the waist, apron-style. :)
Another thing we bought from Home Depot was an enormous pot so that we could steam the lobsters. Now that we have this gigantic pot, we are thinking up other things to do with it… like maybe, possibly, frying a turkey at some point lol :)
The actual steaming process was pretty simple. You put the lobsters in the pot when they are still alive (this was weird to our friends who had never seen the process before), and steam them. When the shells turn bright red, they are done! Easy. Some of the websites I read beforehand had fancier and more technical ways of assessing “done-ness,” but it worked pretty well to go by shell color.
I tell you what. The lobster was a mega hit.
Other things on the table included kielbasa sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, watermelon cornbread/muffins, key-lime pie, and plenty of beer and wine. It was a delicious spread.
Like many get-togethers with our friends, this was potluck style. Everyone’s contributions were spectacular.
My favorite part of the lobster is the claw — not only is it the easiest part to get out of the shell, it is also the tastiest! My least favorite parts were the legs… they require the most work for the least amount of meat — there’s not much in those little legs, is there?
Leftover lobsters were de-shelled and set in the fridge for next-day lobster rolls. For the lobster rolls, we added some salt and fresh lemon juice, mixed it up with the lobster meat, and put it all into a toasted roll with fresh lettuce. Perfection!!! Some recipes also call for mayonnaise, but we didn’t have any. Still tasted amazing.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Lobster is messy – put newspaper down on the table to allow for easier cleanup.
- Do everything in your power to avoid spilling “lobster juice” ANYWHERE in your house or fridge. It WILL smell like death. And scrubbing every inch of the entire fridge top to bottom is annoying.
- Lobster is expensive. Look for deals at stores near you. We hunted around and found that one of our local markets had a sale for $6/lb for the first 10 lbs (then $10/lb after that). We got lobsters that were 1.25 lb each. Bigger ones are more expensive.
- Again, lobster is expensive. If your guests are willing to chip in, that can really help. If they don’t offer and you’d rather not ask, maybe consider doing it potluck style where everyone contributes a dish.
- Have an alternate option on hand for anyone who doesn’t eat lobster, or is allergic to seafood. We had grilled kielbasa sausage. Yum!
Turns out, hosting a lobster bake was not as difficult as it seemed at first! Plus, not only was the lobster ridiculously delicious, the entire day was also even more fun and special since it was our very first time hosting a lobster bake.
And that is why one of my favorite days of summer is LOBSTER BAKE DAY! We had an absolute b.l.a.s.t. and are already excited to do it again next year!
Have you ever been to a lobster bake? What is your favorite memory from the summer?