Either a very large kettle or wash boiler of rapidly boiling sea water, or tap water with 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt for each quart of water

Or a large kettle or wash boiler fitted with a rack with a surface 1-1/2 to 2 inches above the bottom of the kettle and 1-1/2 inches of rapidly boiling sea water or salted tap water

a cover (or tray) for the kettle plus, if needed, a weight of some sort to make a tight fit

five lobsters (1 to 2 pounders for single servings)



1. If you are boiling by complete submersion, plunge the live lobsters head first and upside down into boiling water, cover the kettle and weight it down if necessary. As soon as the water comes back to a boil, remove the cover, reduce the heat so the lobsters boil slowly, but steadily, and begin timing.

2. If you are steaming, place the lobsters on the rack, cover the kettle, weight down the lid if necessary and as soon as the steam begins to escape start timing.

3. Timing, from the moment the water boils or the steam escapes:

1 to 1-1/4 pound lobsters | 10 to 12 minutes
1-1/2 to 2 pound lobsters | 15 to 18 minutes
2-1/2 to 5 pound lobsters | 20 to 25 minutes
6 to 10 pound lobsters | 25 to 30 minutes
10 to 15 pound lobsters | 35 to 40 minutes
15 to 20 pound lobsters | 40 to 45 minutes
*add 5 minutes more if the shells are very thick

4. Lobster is done if the underside of the tail is opaque and springy, if the leg meat can be easily pulled away from the shell (break off a leg and test), or if the green matter inside the chest section is set, not liquid.
5. Drain the lobsters. Plunge a knife through the front of the head, between the eyes, to split the shell. Hold the lobster up by its tail and let the water drain out through the head. Hold it up by its claws to drain them, then repeat with the tail.


From Julia Child’s Kitchen

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