Thursday, July 5

Lobster So Big, You Could Put a Saddle On It and Ride It (video)

In my family, everyone loves lobster.

I mean just look at my dad and my husband: who's more ecstatic?

It all started one glorious summer Sunday afternoon many years ago when Jeff and I were dating. We took a ride with my parents to Galilee, in Rhode Island, where local fishermen were selling freshly caught lobsters. My dad (in a typical moment of generosity) offered to buy a couple; he’s had Jeff eating out of the palm of his hand ever since.

Jeff and I recently took a red-eye to Rhode Island for an impromptu visit. Since the New England lobster season starts in April-May, we timed it perfectly.

One afternoon we took a ride to fabulous Newport and discovered a fish market that was selling lobsters. Not just any lobsters. 10, 12, even 14 pound lobsters! My dad picked up a 14-pounder and exclaimed, "this one's so big you could put a saddle on it and ride it.”

Fearing that a 14-pounder's meat might not be tender enough, we asked the fisherman’s advice. This guy couldn't have been cast better if he were in a movie about RI: Red Sox cap-wearing, Right-out-of-the-Soprano's-massive guy with huge hands, which were clearly accustomed to scooping up lobsters.

He also had a wicked sense of humor, and in-between wise cracks, assured us that meat from larger lobsters can be tender. The key is in the cooking. "Whateva youz do, DON'T overcook it. Otherwise, youz'll be back here tomorra complainin that these were no good," he warned us.

Most people agree that the smaller the lobster, the more tender the meat. Yet, the very thought of feasting on an 8 or 12 or 14 pound lobster easily seduced my dad. He settled on two: an 8 3/4 pounder and a 9 1/2 pounder (which is the one he's holding), mostly because of logistics -- we simply didn't have a pot big enough for a 14 pound lobster.

As he went to pay the lobster guy, words were exchanged, and then suddenly, my dad turned and left. We all panicked. Oh, no! Did dad offend the lobster guy? "No lobster for you!"

Thankfully, no. My father explained, the guy told him, “Come back in an hour or so. Something tells me the prices might go down.” An hour later, we returned, and as he said, the prices went down.

My dad left the market holding his lobsters like a proud father of twins coming home from the hospital. I think this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Dad and the lobster guy.

There are myriad ways to cook lobster, including boiling, baking, grilling, and poaching in vanilla, which seems to be de rigeur on this season’s Top Chef, doesn't it? We opted for grilled lobster, which was a hit with everybody.

So how do you grill a lobster? As most chefs and grilling experts suggest, we boiled the lobster first. The amount of water and cooking time will vary depending on the size of the lobster you use. Just be sure that you have a BIG POT.

To kill the lobster, hold a butcher knife over its head, about an inch behind its eyes (as shown below) and puncture and slice forward in one motion.

Drop the entire lobster into boiling unsalted water. Most recipes suggest boiling until the shell turns red, about 5 minutes for a 1 ½ pound lobster. We cooked ours about 20-25 minutes because of their large size. Just note that the lobster should not be completely cooked at this point; it willl finish cooking on the grill. After you remove the lobster, let it cool slightly before continuing.

In order to save my mom's kitchen, we took our boiled lobster outdoors, where my dad proceeded to slice them in half, lengthwise, and to crack the shells in order for the meat to get exposed to the grill’s flames. This was no easy task. Check out this short film of a 200-pound-guy-with-a-hammer whaling on a lobsta that just wouldn't crack.

Now, that it is open, you can brush the meat and the inside of the lobster with melted butter.

Place the lobster flesh side down on a pre-heated grill, and cook until the meat forms some grill marks and begins to turn opaque, about 4-6 minutes for a 1 ½ pounder. Ours took about 8-10 minutes.

Baste them with melted butter, as Jeff's mom, Dorothy, is doing, to help seal in the moisture and make the meat succulent.

Flip the lobsters over and cook for the same amount of time that you did on the first side. Be careful to not drip too much butter directly onto the grill or large flames will leap up at you. (Who needs eyebrows anyway?) Thank goodness my husband's a dermatologist. Oh wait, he tells me dermatologists don't do burns; however, if the medication used to treat the seared eyebrows causes some kind of rash, then he could help us.

The lobster is done when the shell turns a deep red, and the meat is opaque. Check the meat at the thickest part of the tail to make sure it's fully cooked. Remove the meat from the shells, and serve with your desired accompaniments.

Everyone at our house savored the smoky flavor of the grilled lobster and enjoyed it with simple melted butter and lemon or with my mom’s famous tartar made from horseradish, ketchup, mayo, lemon juice, and Tabasco.

According to everyone who ate the grilled lobsters (in a state of buttery drenched delirium) that evening, their concerns were allayed; the meat was perfect.

*Print recipe only here.

*For a simple how to grill lobster guide, check out this article from

*I also just discovered a delicious recipe for Grilled Lobster and Potatoes with Basil Vinaigrette on that was featured the June 2007 issue of Gourmet.

*Finally, thanks to my new friend Mark from New Hampshire who sent me a link to this interesting article from The Boston Globe. It's about "colossal crustaceans" and corroborates my story!

Come'on over. Food Blogga will be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging next week (July 9-15).

Save This Page on

You might also like:
Painful polenta
What threat? I made you a Ricotta pie.

Waffles, Coffee, and Lentil Soup
Bring back Sunday dinner


Sara said...

That is such an awesome post - I love it!!! Your dad is so dwarfed by that lobster. Thanks for the grilling tutorial, I'll be showing this to my husband, he'll go crazy.

Scribbit said...

I love your stories. That is one HUGE lobster! The only time I've ever eaten them is when someone sent my dad a crate of them and they had us over to enjoy with them. The kids played with the lobsters on the floor before we cooked them :)

cookiecrumb said...

There are more things in this post than I could possibly comment on, though I'd love to. (Sigh, weak, tired.)
So I will just say, which one is your dad?
And -- Big Pot. Ha!

sra said...

I always had the impression these crustaceans had more shell than meat in them - going by my experience, but that lobster-on-grill photo came as a revelation! I've eaten lobster just once, I think!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Wow, that is a saddle-worthy one! I've forgotten completely about lobster living here - it's extremely expensive! I do miss a good crab, though.

Thanks for the cooking instructions, too!

sher said...

Wow!! That's like a lobster dream! Wonderful post indeed. You always combine family and food in the most beautiful way!

thepassionatecook said...

oh my... what a feast! i love my lobster but would never find a pot large enough for such a monster! i have never finished them off over the grill but you've just given my an idea for our sunday bbq... i love your little movie, too. i usually use my claw crackers, but they're not nearly big enough for a 14 pound specimen! you need heavy machinery for that...

Anonymous said...

I just love the play by play here, Susan. But just when I was getting ready for the finale, and salivating for the shot of the lobster, with grill marks and opaque meat, dripping with butter -- nothing! I want my lobster!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Drooling in a state of buttery drenched delirium. That's me.
That is flat out fantastic and you've got the movie to prove it! Great fun and sure good food!
Your day is pretty cool.

Chris said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours! Memories....(singing). Sadly, I am not a fan of lobster (blasphemy being from Boston), but I remember my dad doing the puncture and slice in the kitchen, and the crunch of the shell as he opened it the lobsters up. Thanks for this! ...made my day! Now, I want to fly home - too bad no one lives there anymore. But, hotels will work!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Great story, photos and video! Glad to see that you didn't let those giant Rhode Island lobstahs get the better of you! It's the perfect time of year here in RI -- lobsters AND fresh corn are now in season.

Asha said...

14lbs!! Whoa!! I guessed 20lbs!:P
Your dad looks happier there Susan!:))
I see you could feed a village with that.Not a Indian village because most are vegetarians!!Hahaha!!
Loved the photos.Butter dipped Lobster must have tasted great.Enjoy.Looks like great fun.Have a great weekend.

wheresmymind said...

My Mom probably could've eaten that giant lobster by herself! lol

Anonymous said...

You gotta be kiddin' me! 14 pounds! I've lived in New England all my life and eaten plenty of "lobstas" but I've never seen a gargantuan one like that! I'm in Massachusetts now and will have to take a day-trip to Newport with my husband. Love your big pot too. ha-ha.

Anonymous said...

Another great story, Susan! I read your blog for the entertainment factor as much as the food. After your admission of vegetarianism in your previous post, I have to ask: Did you sample the lobster?

MarkM said...

A great story, and wonderfully illustrated! Can't wait to get back to NH in August to enjoy some lobster, steamers, chowhah, and fresh corn. Can remember going to fish markets in Galilee and Point Judith, as well as buying them right off the boat in Pt. Judith years ago. And our family lobster pot, which is white enameled, has done steady service for nearly 60 years. I'm hungry now!

Mishmash ! said...

This is your best post till date, in my opinion :) Truly Enjoyed it !

"My dad left the market holding his lobsters like a proud father of twins coming home from the hospital."....I was giggling when I read that :) So thats the pic of the Man who store cartons of food in his basement ,huh ? :))

Hey, you and Jeff are made for each both look very cute :)


cindy said...

if that big one was only 9 1/2 lbs, the 14 pound one would maybe wrestle a person trying to put him in the lobster pot! (maybe the 'lobsta' would win...that's scary!) :o

Warda said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. Trully a feast for the eyes, and the stomack too, this 14pounds lobster. Thanks to your dady for this adventure and to the fisherman for the bargain...Lovely!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Sara-My mom who has made lobsters for years, swears that the grilling gives it the best flavor.

Michelle-Coming from you, that's a compliment of the highest order!

Cookiecrumb-Ha-ha. :)

Sra-There was enough meat to feed 6 with leftovers!

MsAdvernturesinitaly-Yeah, but you get to live in ITALY! That's a pretty good deal, in my book! :)

Sher-I really appreciate that! :)

Johanna-We had to go buy the BIG POT. ;)

Christine-I was so snap-happy all afternoon, that my camera ran out of juice by the time we served dinner. I couldn't justify keeping everyone waiting while I ran to the store for more batteries.

Tanna-Thanks! It was a memorable day!

Chris-My mom and dad have an extra room; they'd be happy to put you up and cook for you! Thanks for the compliment; that means a lot coming from you.

Lydia-Losbta and corn just remind me of home.

Asha-That's a good one about the Indian village. :)

Jeff-You're pretty close to Newport. Is her b-day coming up? ;)

Anne-You won't be disappointed.

Terry B-Nope. Despite my dad's best efforts, I didn't have any. I just ate the grilled veggies and pasta.

Mark-I'm so happy that this helped jog some memories for you. :)

Shn-You are too sweet.:)

Cinderelly-You're not kidding. The 14 pounder WOULD win! ;)

Rose-I'm so pleased to hear it!

Anonymous said...

I have total lobster envy. Thanks for sharing those I'm hungry.

Barbara said...

Wow they are great. I Love lobster but it is so expensive here we don't have it often.

Anonymous said...

Being a former New Englander (CT), just recently moved to Oregon 4 years ago I can really appreciate your lobasta guys lingo..when I was a kid we went to California to visit family friends and brought a 21 pounder with us.. the claws were over an inch thick.Living on the west coast doesn't stop me from having at least one lobsta fest every summer, we just have them shipped from Maine or Massachusetts. The price really isn't that bad..if you went to a restaurant and ordered one they'd be smaller than what we got and cost about the same.(2 lb ers, but they ship the jumbos too,the more you order the cheaper they are). Just wanted to say I love your blog, the ones about your family..hit home!

SteamyKitchen said...

Holy lobster claws, Aquaman!

Wendy said...

Fantastic post!! What a lobster!
Had my first experience with live seafood just recently - a big crab ( )
Now want to find a lobster. :)

MeloMeals said...

wow! that is insane... what a huge lobster!

I can finally get on your blog. I haven't been able to get to your blog for a month or so since the google ads were added.. it would freeze my computer, but Igot a new computer and now I can see your blog again!

Lisa Johnson said...

OMG! Lobsters as big as people and grilled no less!! I'm feeling that I have not fully enjoyed my New Englandness!! ; ) I'd better hop to it!!

Rasa Malaysia said...

OMG, those are some gigantic lobsters...I loooooove lobsters...once I chose a big lobster in a Chinese restaurant and it cost me over $ now I choose the small ones. LOL. But I still want the big claws...yum.

Katie Zeller said...

Sigh..... It's been years since I've had lobster!
April- May you say? Rhode Island?
What on earth would you cook a 14lb lobster in? How would you get the pot on the stove?

Anonymous said...

Wicked good blog!

Amy said...

I've never seen such a big lobster! It's been a long time since I had lobster, I was too young to remember what it tasted like. But I'm definitely tempted to splurge and buy one. :D

Anonymous said...

Those are huge lobsters. I have never seen them this big before. We love lobsters but they are way too expensive here.

Unknown said...

OMG!! I have NEVER seen lobsters that size, and I grew up on the east coast! I absolutely love, love, love this post! You make me want to make a special trip back just for this kind of lobster.

Anonymous said...

Woochacha! Love love love this post, and that video is absolutely tops! You lucky thing, to have such delicious 'lobsta' within your grasp!

Anonymous said...

OMG, those are some lobsters! I've got some lobster story to tell pretty soon too. Yes, I agree the secret to succulent lobster is in not overcooking the meat. Love that picture of your dad holding lobster gigantor!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Awesome! I'd love to get a grip on one of those big lobstas...

Anonymous said...

Well Susan you certainly have outdone yourself with this one. I enjoyed it immensely. We have never had grilled lobster, but you can be sure we will this summer. The video was the best!!! Keep up the good work. Next time you're in RI and are planning on having lobster, just let me and Lou know - he has a four pound hammer as well as many power tools!!!! Take care and say hello to Jeff.


Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) said...

Time to call in the lobstersquad! And I love that you tell us to get a BIG POT, and the pot in the picture below has the brand name "Big Pot." I don't know why, but it just made me laugh. Now I want some lobster!

s'kat said...

I've never seen a lobster bigger than the size of my hand, but should I ever wander into LOUS territory, I'll know how to handle those suckas!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Anne-Marie-And we're all out of leftovers to share. Sorry. ;)

Barbara-It's a treat in our family too.

Yakasoba-Thanks for leaving a comment! I'm so pleased that you like my blog, esp. the family stories, which I love writing. Thanks for the heads-up about ordering lobster too; my husband will be quite happy.

Steamykitchen-Good one. ;)

Wendy-I'm not too familiar with crabs, but they're supposed to be great on the West Coast.

Melody-Sorry to hear about that, but I'm glad you're back!

Anali-And apparently, they're abundant in Massachusetts, so get hopping! ;)

Rasa Malaysia-$300? Yikes!!

Katiez-I have no idea! A GIGANTIC POT? ;) That's why we went with smaller ones and still had to go buy a new BIG POT!

Anthony-Thanks! (fellow Rhode Islander, I assume?):)

Amy-Hope it inspires you!

Cookingninja-I know what you mean; that's why they're a special treat for my family; too pricey to eat regularly.

Toni-I know! I couldn't believe my eyes that day! Thanks so much!

Ellie-Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Veronica-He liked it too! :)

Rosa-You'd be in for a ride! ;)

Jo Ann-Power tools! Why didn't I think of that? :) I love reading your comments; thanks so much. And say "hello" to Lou for me too!
p.s. Mom says, "hi."

Lisa-It cracked me up too; glad you liked it!

S'kat-Glad to help! ;)

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic looking feast! I have never had a lobster that looked that in the Midwest I rely on our restaurants for good lobster.Looks like I need to visit you instead :)

Sig said...

Woa Susan, can I pleeeeeease get an invitation to your next family gettogether? :) Siv and I would never even attempt cooking such a monster, we wouldn't know where to start..... I can't stop staring at the pics, and now I have a huuuuuuuge craving for a huuuuuuuge lobster... sigh....

christine said...

WOAH!! Those are colossal indeed!

I really enjoyed every word of this post, I need to make a trip up there myself. :)

Anonymous said...

Great story. Just getting back from Maine, ODing on lobster and loving every minute of it. I never have seen one so huge, much less eaten one that size. Also, in all these years I have only steamed them. Next time, to the grill I go.

Mikaela said...

Huh. I always thought they were lobSTAHs... ;)

Madame K said...

The sight of that lobstah brings me back home...did you ever go to Rocky Point (The Shore Dinner Hall!)?
My husband is a Midwestern boy who needs his lobster fix every summer so we go directly to Maine (plus we visit his sister, who lives there)...
Grilling that bad boy was a great idea - Yum!

Lis said...

All I can say is.. *swoon*


Nora B. said...

I'm COMPLETELy seduced, as your dad was. I've never seem such a huge lobsters before. I don't even think I have a pot that's big enough to boil that. WOW.

Abby said...

I still can't believe how big that thing is. A-MAZ-ing. Too bad my husband is allergic to shellfish or I'd be searching out one of those monsta lobstas to grill this weekend!

Cute video, too. It's great your family is all there!

Anonymous said...

Wow these photos are awesome! When I was in college there was a lobster fest every year with free lobster, fried dough and other good food for everyone. I never tried the lobster, but sometimes I wish I had. I generally have a hard time with lobster because it looks so much like a bug, but maybe one of these days I'll give it a taste. Glad you had such a fabulous time and enjoyed your feast!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Anonymous said...

Giant lobsters! Grilled! Massive amounts of butter! This is food porn without a doubt.

Count me as one more made hungry by this post. And tell your mom I love her kitchen!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Kristen-Just email me for directions to my parents' house. ;)

Sig-You and Siv are cordially invited to my parents' house for one HUUUUUGE LOBSTA. So, what are you waiting for? ;)

Christine-Aw, I am so pleased to hear that. :)

Ronnie-My mom usually boiled them, but now she's hooked on grilling, so you might be converted.

Mikaela-As long as there is no "r" at the end, they're all good. ;)

Karen-Rocky Point rocked! I loved the musical express! As for the food, I always picked out all the clams from the clamcakes. The batter was the best part, anyway. ;)

Lis-My family would really like you. :)

Nora B-Neither did we, which is why my mom had to buy the BIG POT.

Abby-The video was fun to do; glad you liked it.

Ari-My family could probably convince you.

Julie-I just did since she's visiting. She's was tickled. :)

Sheela said...

i don't eat lobsters - tried and didn't like - but, your pictures are awesome. and, believe it or not, i was at Galilee a few years back - just looking around for some one there to take us whale-watching ;-)

Chris said...

I sent my dad the post, telling him of my lobster/Boston memories. He loved it! He reminded me, however, he cut the lobster down the belly - who knew? I just know I flew the coop when it was happening!

Unknown said...

I am from Boston, and I totally love lobster. I have never seen one so BIG! When you said put the lobster on the grill, you Really put the lobster on the grill!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Sheela-I don't eat lobster either, but I enjoy watching everybody else. :)

Chris-That's great that you sent your dad the article. Thanks for mentioning it.

Lannae-Good one. :)

Jeanne said...

Oh please please pretty please can I come to your next family lobster BBQ?! What a great post and what simply gigantic creatures! I'd be scared to turn my back on them lset they muster reinforcements and turn on the chef! I would not have a pot or a space large enough in my fridge for these babies, but oh my does that flesh look succulent and wonderful. Great tutorial btw.

Anonymous said...

Oh my dear God. Look at the size of those claws!
Where did you say you lived again??