Lobster: From Shore to Door
Anyone who’s cooked a lobster (or watched a lobster cooking video segment) knows the tried and true process of plunging the crustacean into the water, turning the once squirming, squiggly, claw-snapping creature into a perfectly beautiful, bright red, sweet and succulent dining delicacy—settled on a plate next to a ramekin or two full of warm, drawn butter and a lemon wedge to punch up the flavor.
Like many people who consume animal protein, giving thought to cooking chicken, beef, pork or fish barely raises an eyebrow. With the exception of catching and cooking fish, purchasing a package of cut, trimmed, wrapped and sealed portion of meat doesn’t normally elicit a reaction. So we don’t often think about or question how a formerly living creature like a lobster met its demise.
Pondering the position of human beings on the food chain though, and thinking about how the lobster gets from sea to sit-down dinner, thoughts about making its end more humane come to mind. With that in mind, here are some ideas to think over to killing a lobster more humanely. Thanks to our friends at Maine-ly Lobster for the inspiration for this blog.
A Quick and Sharp Stab
If you want to go the truly humane route, a sure and fast way to do in a lobster is by giving it a flip so that the legs are facing up toward you, and then plunging a large, sharp knife quick and deep below the eyes and above the legs. No need to cue the soundtrack from “Psycho”, but if it helps, it will experience an instant death.
Steam the Life out of it
You can choose the traditional method to kill and cook by plunging it into a pot of steaming water. The idea is to hold the lobster by the carapace (the shell covering some or all of the dorsal part of the lobster, like a turtle) with its nose down in the steaming pot. You should put on an oven mitt for protection from the moving legs and hot steam. By inhaling the steam for just a few seconds, it dies, quickly and painlessly.
Chill it to Kill it
The Lobster Institute (yes, there is such a place), which is based at the University of Maine, works to educate, research and conserve lobsters as a sustainable resource and also works to support our favorite crustacean industry. Their recommendation is to chill it in a freezer before killing it (by either method mentioned above). Apparently, the cold air puts the lobster to sleep which makes it numb to any sensation.
Special thanks to all the lobsters out there providing us with a delicious and healthy source of protein!