A Lobster Boil in Maine
What's a quintessential Maine meal? Is it seafood? Hearty Stews? For me it starts with our local produce and seafood. We’ve got an amazing selection here and few meals showcase them like a Maine Lobster Boil. From our world famous lobsters and clams to the local Butter and Sugar corn and baby Maine red potatoes, you can’t beat the bounty of what Maine has to offer. And if you can spend time outdoors with your family and friends and a tableful of food, I’d say that’s as good as it gets.
There’s something about the ‘event’ of a lobster boil that puts your guests in a party atmosphere. It allows them to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of this New England tradition. Like it’s spicy neighbor, the Crawfish Boil or a Chinese Hot Pot, Korean BBQ or any number of other communal meals, A Maine Lobster Boil takes the finest homegrown ingredients and pours them out in the best way!
Lobsters in Maine vary depending on the season. Granted at the end of the day, a lobster is a lobster but the difference in the hardness of the shell can be significant. During the colder months, March-June and November-January, we have primarily hard shell lobsters. They are packed with meat and are far less ‘watery’ than their soft shell cousins but are more difficult to open and often more expensive.
During the warmer months, June-November, lobsters shed their shells. During this time, they take on a lot of water to expand their soft shell. This makes the lobster easier to open but will yield far less meat. Many say the soft shell lobsters are more tender and sweeter than the hard shell variety and because the yield is lower, the soft shell variety will often be less expensive.
Regardless of what kind of lobster you get, invite some family and friends over, make a pitcher of sangria or open a beer, cover a large table with newspaper and get ready to party!
The lobster boil recipe I’m passing on is a modified version of the traditional meal. Traditionally, ingredients would be placed on seaweed over white hot stones buried in the sand. My home version uses the essence of that but brings a practical element so you can enjoy this meal anywhere. If you have the ability to cook everything outside, it’ll keep your house from picking up too much of the seafood smells but if you don’t, just turn on your hood vent or open the windows.
If you have a large stockpot, you can build the whole boil in it but if you don’t, you can still enjoy all the elements cooked separately. Lobster boils are versatile and chill so have fun with it!
Maine Lobster Boil
· ½ cup kosher salt
· 1 head garlic, top ¼” sliced off
· 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and halved
· 1 lbs. kielbasa sliced into 1” pieces
· 2 lbs. small red potatoes
· 6 (1½ pounds each) live Maine lobsters
· 2-3 lbs. steamer clams
· 5 ears , butter and sugar corn shucked and halved
In the sink or a large bowl, cover the steamers in water with ½ cup of salt for a ½ hour to remove any sand.
Fill a large stockpot with 2-3 gallons of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and stir until dissolved then add the onion and garlic. (For a more traditional flair, use seawater.)
Add the potatoes and cook for about 6 minutes. Add the kielbasa then add the live lobsters, one at a time, claw first. Cook for 12-15 minutes. When the lobsters are bright red, remove them to a plate or bowl and cover to keep warm. Add the clams and corn and cook for 7-10 minutes more.
Drain the stockpot leaving some of the broth for dipping the clams.
Serve with grilled bread, lemon wedges and plenty of melted butter for dipping.