June is the height of lobster season in Newfoundland and Labrador. One question I am always asked about cooking these delicious crustaceans is this:
"How else can you prepare lobster besides boiling it?"
The beauty of lobster is that you can have them boiled, grilled, steamed, baked or even pan-fried. One of my favourite ways is grilling them on the barbeque. Here are some tips for doing it.
You must first cut the live lobster in half down the centre - a comparatively humane way to kill lobster as it happens instantly. This job is best left to a sharp 10-inch chef's knife, and one with a good deal of heft. Make sure the rubber bands around the claws stay on during this process - you don't want to be dodging the claws while cutting up the lobster.
Step 1 Place the lobster on a cutting board with its tail flattened out and grasp the tail where it joins the body. With your other hand, place the knife's point between the eyes about an inch or so above the tail. The blade of the knife should be facing away from your hand holding the tail.
Step 2 Press the point of the knife into the lobster's head until the point of the knife goes all the way through to the cutting board, then bring the blade down between the eyes to finish the cut of the head. Pivot the knife towards the tail and work it through to split the entire lobster in half.
Step 3 Remove the intestinal tract, which looks like a thin vein that runs the length of the lobster, and the sandy sac underneath the eyes. Crack the claws and knuckles and remove the rubber bands. Now your lobster is ready for grilling.
Rub the exposed flesh with garlic butter and salt and place it on the grill, flesh side down. Grilled lobster meat has a different texture than boiled - you will get that caramelization you find with steak done on the grill, and sweet flesh on the inside. It takes around 12 minutes on a high heat to cook the lobster fully. As you are cooking it, ensure that you turn it for six minutes with the shell side on the barbeque. This will allow for even cooking throughout.
Be careful not to overcook lobster, which makes it dry and tough - it's better to undercook it, then put it back on the grill for a minute. Lobster shells will turn bright red well before the meat is thoroughly cooked inside.
To know when the lobster is ready, pull off one of the small walking legs or an antenna. Both will come off easily when the lobster is done. The meat will be firm, white and opaque and the tomalley, which fills much of the body cavity, will be greenish-yellow. The roe in female lobsters will be bright orange-red and firm. If it is a dark greenish-black, with an oily consistency, the lobster is undercooked.