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Lobster Fest

Updated on July 22, 2015
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Tips for a Lobster Fest

August is Maine Lobster Month, but don't wait for a special occasion. Summertime in New England is prime time for a lobster fest.

Just get together a few friends, some tried-and-true side dishes and some lobster for a marvelous taste treat and a fun time for everyone. I'll share some tips for putting on a lobster fest and for cleaning up after one. It's worth all the effort and is a special meal that your friends and family will look forward to every year.

Photo by Virginia Allain

My sister and her husband are ready for their very first lobster feast.
My sister and her husband are ready for their very first lobster feast.

A Lobster Fest Can Be 2 People or 30 People

Anytime you have lobster, it's a lobster fest

Here's my sister and her husband, Larry, on their first visit to New England. Of course, we had to have a lobster feed so they had the full New Hampshire experience.

My husband steamed the lobsters and we ate them on the back deck. It was 78 degrees outside, a typical New England summer temperature, and tall pine and maple trees surrounded us and provided shade. A wonderful place to be and the lobster feast was heavenly.

Photo by Virginia Allain

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You'll Need a Lobster Pot - like this graniteware pot

Granite Ware 6139-1, 34-Quart Stock Pot, Black
Granite Ware 6139-1, 34-Quart Stock Pot, Black

The size of pot needed depends on if you are steaming or cooking chicks, 1 1/2 pound lobster or even larger ones. How many people are you trying to feed? Reviewers say they fit 6 to 10 lobsters in this big pot.

 

Corn on the Cob Is Traditional with Lobster

Get farm fresh corn from the nearest farm stand.
Get farm fresh corn from the nearest farm stand. | Source

Getting Ready for the Lobster Fest - Steps for putting on a lobster fest for your friends and neighbors

  1. Choose your date. Look ahead at the weather forecast or plan for possible rain. We use a big canopy so rain isn't a problem.
  2. Make up your guest list. Ours is limited to the number of people that will fit under our tent and the number of lobsters that will fit in our pots.
  3. If you're independently wealthy, buy all the lobster yourself. For the rest of us, I recommend setting the lobster fest up with everyone chipping in for the cost of the lobster. Let them know the approximate cost of lobster and find out how many they want. Call the seafood place to reserve the number and size of lobster that you will need. Let them know that the actual cost of the lobster will be market price as it fluctuates from day-to-day.
  4. Make up your menu and include it in the invitations if it's going to be potluck. Let the guests sign up for appetizers, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, cole slaw, dessert. Figure out what you will provide like napkins, plastic ware, sodas, beer and wine, butter, etc. If you are ambitious, prepare and serve all the food yourself. The potluck spreads the workload and no one minds bringing one portion of the meal.
  5. Send invitations or call to invite guests. Here's an example of the invitations you can find at Zazzle. Click on this one to browse for other lobster invitations.


    Shiny Red Lobster Invites available from Zazzle

  6. Check your supplies and stock in any needed items. Be sure you have enough butter for both the lobster and the corn on the cob. I've bought a lot of my lobster plates, lobster crackers, and related gear at Reny's. If you're in Maine, you'll find the Reny's at these locations.
  7. Set up as much as you can the day before the lobster fest. I get all my lobster plates, crackers, picks, napkins, etc. out and stacked ready for the event. Put up your tent if you are using one. Don't forget that you'll need large plastic bowls for the center of the tables for everyone to throw their shells into.

Outdoor Gas Cooker - for cooking lobster

You can steam lobster on the side-burner of a regular grill. Don't try boiling them that way as the water and lobsters are too heavy and will break most side-burners off. This can be slow to get the water to the boiling stage.

The better and faster way is to get one of these gas cookers. We use a two-burner one so we can heat two pots of lobster at once.

How to Steam Lobster

Basically you put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot, add sea salt, bring to a boil. Put the lobsters in & return to a boil for 15 minutes. Check these lobster recipes for more details and variations.

My Husband Steaming the Lobsters - Photos by Virginia Allain

Choose your lobsters at your favorite fish market.
Choose your lobsters at your favorite fish market. | Source
You're lucky if you find prices like these.
You're lucky if you find prices like these.
Get out your pots and recipe.
Get out your pots and recipe.
Heat the water.
Heat the water.
Pick up the lobster carefully...
Pick up the lobster carefully...
And place it in the pot of hot water.
And place it in the pot of hot water.
Remove them with tongs when done.
Remove them with tongs when done.

Lobster Themed Table Cloths and Placemats - for the lobster fest

Lobster is meant to be eaten outside. Cover your picnic or patio table either with disposable paper placemats or plastic tablecloths. Take a look at these cute lobster weights to keep the lightweight tablecloth in place. Alternately, you can use those plastic or metal clamps for holding down the tablecloth.

For anyone who is eating lobster for the first time, it's great to have placemats that show how to eat a lobster.

Luxurious Lobster Napkins

These make a lovely hostess gift for whoever is putting on a lobster fest. Probably they'll save them for sometime when they are having lobster pie or lobster bisque and eating inside. For the outdoor lobster feed, I recommend thick paper napkins and LOTS of them.

Ready to Eat Lobster

Of course, you'll want to eat the lobster outdoors.
Of course, you'll want to eat the lobster outdoors. | Source

Lobster Napkins

White Cotton Napkin with Lobster, Set of 6
White Cotton Napkin with Lobster, Set of 6

I think I'd save these cotton napkins for a time I'm serving lobster rolls.

Probably paper napkins work best for messy eating which a juicy steamed lobster is. Then there's all that butter, so paper is my choice for lobster when we eat outdoors.

 

Prepping for the Lobster Feast - Photos by Virginia Allain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Make side dishes or buy them.Melt the butter.
Make side dishes or buy them.
Make side dishes or buy them.
Melt the butter.
Melt the butter.

You'll Need Lobster Crackers and Lobster Picks - for the lobster fest

I recommend having a cracker and a pick for each guest. It is too much trouble to share these. (people use wooden hammers for crabs but they aren't good for lobster). The long slim crackers that look like a nutcracker work best. The short, stubby ones shaped like a lobster claw are cute but not as effective, in my opinion.

Tips on Lobster Picks

Some people use nut picks. Those are fine, but you can also get seafood picks like I'm showing here.

When clearing up afterwards, hunt up the metal picks from the plates or around on the table so those don't accidentally get thrown out.

Tips for the Butter

It has to be real butter. Margarine just won't do the job for lobster. Melt the butter shortly before everyone sits down. Do not put it in the microwave. That's a no-no and creates a big mess.

Just heat it in a small pan on the stove. If the weather is cool, the butter will congeal at the table and not be good for dipping the lobster into. In that situation, the individual heaters like shown below can keep the butter liquid.

Melt the Butter for the Lobster

These are the deluxe way to serve the butter for the lobster.

It's OK to just get the small butter ramekins, then melt butter in a pan on the stove to pour into the ramekins. It's best for everyone to have their own butter for dipping.

How to Get to the Meat in a Lobster

The first time you eat a lobster, it's rather daunting. How do you get through that shell, is there meat in the claws and should I eat what I find in the upper body cavity?

The answers to these questions is made clear in the videos I feature below.

How to Remove the Shell and Eat a Lobster

Add Color with Lobster Themed Oven Mitts, Potholders & Towels

If you've been invited to a lobster fest or lobster boil, the items below make great hostess gifts to take. A bottle of white wine is always welcome as well.

Cleaning Up from a Lobster Fest

  1. If you have leftover cooked lobsters, you can freeze the lobster whole and then re-steam them to eat another time. You can also take them apart and just freeze the picked lobster meat. This has never happened that we had any leftover though. People love their lobster too much and all are consumed immediately.
  2. Bag all the debris from the lobster, keeping an eye out for stray lobster crackers and picks that you'll need to retrieve. Put the bag in a secure outdoor trash bin that raccoons or other critters can't get into. Hopefully your trash pickup will be in a few days as the lobster shells will quickly stink to high heaven on a warm summer day.
  3. Wipe down the picnic tables and chairs with a spray cleaner like Windex.
  4. Wash the lobster pots, plates, and everything with lots of hot, sudsy water. You may have to spray them with Windex to cut the grease from the butter. Put the pot out in a sunny spot to air dry.
  5. I store my lobster pots in a large trash bag and then put them into a deck box outside. The lobster plates, picks and crackers, and other accessories get stored inside.

Use the Leftover Lobster to Make Lobster Rolls - the next day

Actually, we never have any leftover, but just in case you do...

Here are videos showing how to fix a lobster roll.

For the lobster roll, mix it with a little mayo and serve on the toasted roll like New Englanders use for hot dogs.
For the lobster roll, mix it with a little mayo and serve on the toasted roll like New Englanders use for hot dogs. | Source

Two Ways to Make a Lobster Roll

© 2012 Virginia Allain

Share Your Lobster Experiences Here - or at least let me know you stopped by

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have never cooked lobster at home only eating it in various forms in restaurants. Here is a tip for you... If you have enough freezer space, freeze those leftover lobster shells and parts until time for garbage day. We do that with shrimp shells, fish and other things that can get stinky if left out at room temperature.

      Your lobster fest looks great! Wish we were on your invitation list. Ha!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 2 years ago

      Love the photos of the lobster feast set up. And, I recognize those plates! We used them just last night for our own little 3 person shrimp and lobster fest.

      Sitting here waiting for my invitation....

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 3 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Yum, looks delicious!

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      What a terrific lens! It'll be on our Tumblr page later today!

      http://whats-cooking-at-squidoo.tumblr.com/

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      @SusannaDuffy: We had some lovely ones in Hobart when we traveled around Tasmania for a week. Straight off the boat, it was the biggest one I'd ever seen. It was yummy, for sure.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 3 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      We call them crayfish in Australia - from medium size saltwater crays like the ones I see your husband cooking to the giant freshwater crays. They're all delicious but, sadly, very pricey

    • johnshade lm profile image

      johnshade lm 4 years ago

      Those lobsters look delish!

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 4 years ago

      Nice Lens, i have eating lobster only once, i need to make it again.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @hartworks lm: Sounds like it is time for another visit!

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 4 years ago

      I was about 12 the summer we roamed around New England visiting family and friends. That's when I went to a lobster fest, and that WAS a while ago!

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