To me, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a fresh Maine lobster. But, since I don’t live in Maine I have to rely on my local supermarket for my crustacean fix and the pickings are usually pretty slim.
You’ve probably seen it before. It’s usually right near the fishmonger section of the grocery store. It’s the tank where they usually cram in 10 to 15 lobsters with their claws fastened together by those rubber bands to prevent lobster skirmishes and the resulting injuries. But, before you take one of them home and kill it and eat it you must first choose your victim. Here are a few tips on getting the most bang for your buck when selecting said victim.
Always opt for fresh over frozen. Frozen lobster can suffer freezer burn and is usually tougher and drier than its fresher counterpart. Besides, the whole point of this node is about killing a lobster. If you’ve opted for frozen, feel free to move on. Feel free to ask the person behind the counter how long the lobsters have been languishing in the tank. If it’s more than a couple of days, I’d move on.
It’s hard to tell if a lobster is “active” or not by just watching them in the tank. Given the cramped quarters most of their time is spent staring at the outside world with their beady non blinking little lobster eyes with the occasional flick of their antenna. You need to have somebody stick their hand in there and try to remove it. If the lobster puts up a fight and starts flapping its tail and waving their claws that’s usually a good sign there’s some life left in the fucker. That’s the one you want. If it just kinda lays there it might be old, sick or injured. There’s no fun in killing them since they’re almost dead already.
For us humans, color is not supposed to matter. For lobsters though, color is very important. The older a lobster is, the darker it will get. Look for ones that are grayish brown or the color of dark bricks. Most likely those are the youngest and will make for a much better meal once you execute them. (Don’t worry, we’re getting to that.)
Avoid any lobsters that are obviously already injured. I know, I know, it might be hard to tell an injured lobster from a non injured lobster since they aren’t like dogs that whine or cats that meow or children that cry but sometime you can spot what’s out in the open. Is the shell cracked? If yes, choose another. Are the antenna broken or missing? Again, if yes, move on.
Ok, you’ve chosen your lobster, put it in one of those little lobster carrying cases and are now ready to take it home. Don’t be alarmed by those little scritching noises you hear come from the back seat of your car. Live lobsters do not like to be encased in small cardboard boxes and that’s just them trying to get out. Where the fuck they think they’re gonna go should they do get out is anybody’s guess.
The moment has now arrived where you must kill the lobster before you eventually consume it. Please do not try and get creative when it comes to ending the lobster’s life. I know everybody, well most everybody, there are some fuckin’ sickos in this world, would like the end to be as painless as possible. Even though they are swift, the following methods are not recommended for taking the lobsters life.
Running the lobster over with your car might seem like a good idea and is indeed a painless means to a swift and sure end but it certainly isn’t practical. Separating the squished meat from the crushed shells would surely be a major pain in the ass.
Bashing the lobster over its little lobster head with a hammer also might seem like sound logic but again, it’s rather impractical. If, after your long drive home your lobster still has some spunk left in it, it will still try to thrash around as you hold it down. Lobsters as rule do not like to be held down and the risk of missing your intended target and smashing your non hammer holding hand rises exponentially.
Do not try and shoot the lobster with a shotgun or any other large firearm unless you don’t want to have any lobster left for yourself.
Do not microwave the live lobster. I think it’s fair to say that it’s not cool to microwave anything while it’s still alive and lobsters are no exception.
There are probably umpteen other bizarro ways to end the lobsters life but since I’m pressed for time I won’t bother listing them here. Suffice to say to each his or her own.
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way there are basically two sure fire ways to ensure that your lobster meets its demise as mercifully as possible.
The first method is kinda easy and I’d recommend its use if your just going to boil the fucker anyway. Bring a large pot, big enough to hold the entire lobster, of salted water to a rolling boil. Don rubber glove to avoid splashing of boiled water. Grasp the lobster by its midsection. Plunge lobster headfirst into the pot of boiling water. Cover pot to avoid watching the lobster die. Actually, experts claim that lobsters can’t feel pain and hence don’t even realize they’re dead. I’m on the fence about that.
The second method takes some balls as well as a sharp knife and a steady hand. Find yourself the sharpest knife that you have on hand. I’d recommend a ten inch kitchen knife with a hefty blade and handle for leverage. With one hand, hold the lobster down flat on a cutting board. With the other take hold of the knife and with the blade facing in the opposite direction of the hand that’s doing the holding place the tip of the knife about an inch or two behind those beady little lobster eyes. With a sharp downward thrust plunge the knife through the lobster until you feel it hit the cutting board. Then in a swift motion bring the knife downward between the eyes and through the head of the lobster.
If you’ve done this correctly, your lobster should have been killed instantly and you’re ready to prepare it for consumption in any way you see fit.
I know many people out there hold certain reservations when it comes to killing lobsters and any other of God’s little creatures and I’m sorry if this offended you. It was intended to be addressed both practically and lightheartedly for the others amongst us who feel differently when it comes to eating.
For a more humane way to go about killing a lobster our very own The Debutante says re Killing a lobster: I'm not a lobster-eater, being kosher and all, but I've been led to believe that placing them in the freezer induces some coma-like state and is painless. Then you can proceed as you wish.
I welcome all other reasonable and not so reasonable suggestions...