Best Lobster Online: Buying Guide

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For those of us who are busy, we can opt to buy Maine Lobster online and have it delivered right to our door live or frozen.

In this guide we will cover all aspects of buying lobster online including shipping considerations such as what do with a lobster that is DOA (dead on arrival).

Lobster Online or In-Person?

Things To Consider When Shopping For Fresh Lobster:

If you’re looking for a fresh Maine lobster for a special meal or event, be aware that live lobsters can be shipped overnight to your home for a luxurious dinner.

Depending on where your live lobster is being shipped, transport costs alone can add up.

Ambient temperature and distance will impact lobster shipping requirements, so be prepared.

1) Tender Tail and Succulent Claw Meat

Many diners agree that the best meat on a lobster is either in the tail or in the front claws.

lobster claw meat

Large front claws are found only on cold weather lobsters, and the most popular cold water lobsters are harvested in Maine or New Hampshire.

The best lobster meat you’re better off buying two one-pound lobsters rather than one two-pound lobsters. As lobsters age, their meat toughens.

Additionally, large lobsters are hard to cook evenly. For sweet, fresh lobster meat, think small.

Related | How To Cook Lobster

2) Order Fresh Lobster Overnight From The Coast

A great deal at the grocery store on live lobster may not be your best bargain. The live lobster delivery sent to your home via an overnight delivery service will provide you

lobster shipping

a) Consistent temperature. The best shipping temperature for live Maine lobster is between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 to 4 degrees Celsius.

While a trusted fishmonger may be able to guarantee that on the coast, lobster in Kansas City or Omaha will probably have been subjected to larger temperature variations.

Ordering direct reduces the amount of questionable storage conditions.​

b) Less exposure to ice. Fresh lobsters can’t tolerate extreme cold.

Long-term exposure to fresh water from melted ice will cause your lobster to swell up and burst, and the carbon dioxide from dry ice will asphyxiate them.

Lobsters can live above water for four to five days so long as they are not subjected extreme temperatures or over-feeding. If lobsters are allowed to dry out completely, their gills fail.​

Cooking With Frozen Lobster

If budget constraints are a concern, consider practicing your lobster preparation skills on frozen tail.

Many lobster tails are taken from rock or warm water lobsters. These portions are often flash frozen, so the cooking process is simpler and you’ll have less risk of ruining a delicious and rather costly piece of meat.

Related | What Is Flash Freezing?

When starting out, frozen lobster tails provide better options for portion control as well.​

thawing lobster tails
  • Per LiveStrong, thaw your lobster tails in a glass dish in the refrigerator. Don’t bring them to room temperature as it may impact the texture.
  • Drop the meat into boiling salted water, then reduce the heat to allow the pot to simmer for eight to twelve minutes. The shell will turn bright red.
  • To confirm the meat is done, pull a small portion from the thickest section of the tail. All the meat should be white and tender.​

When the tail is cool enough to handle, twist it slightly to separate the flesh from the membrane. Remove the black vein running through the tail, and serve with butter and garlic. A bit of toast to sop up the extra butter will let you enjoy every bite!

Related | How To Eat Lobster​

Things to Consider Before You Order​

Order From A Reputable Company

A lot of problems can be avoided by selecting the right lobster professional. Lobsters molt, and for a time have a very soft shell.

Shipping these creatures is a real challenge. Order from a company that only ships hard-shell lobsters.

Death Is A Fact of Life

Many companies can guide you through how to handle a recently deceased lobster and how to prepare it. While a guaranteed replacement is pretty uncommon, the lobsters went in the box alive.

If you got them overnight, blogging experts at Get Maine Lobster suggest they’re probably okay to cook and eat. A qualified customer service representative can help you determine how to check out the quality of your purchase.​

The Box Is Here!

Your lobster should be moving. If you have a roommate, warn them! Keep it in a bag, tied loosely, with a chilled gel pack. The colder it is, the less active it will be.

That being said, do not remove the rubber bands as it’s a battle you’re not really armed for.

live maine lobster

If any of your lobsters have not survived the trip, contact the shipper and describe the condition of the flesh of your lobster.​

Lobsters are enzymatic feeders. If the lobster dies, the enzymes feed on the flesh inside the shell. Decomposition will be obvious by the smell and the texture of the meat, which will be bumpy instead of smooth.

Once you’ve determined it’s not ruined, cook it immediately.

Lobster can be frozen at that point and kept from nine to twelve months.​

Timing Is Key

If you want fresh Maine lobster shipped to your house, order it between the end of December and before June.

Lobsters molt to allow for more growth. They shed their hard shells, then puff themselves up with water while their newer, softer shell becomes more durable.

This impacts the flavor of the flesh and reduces the yield. Also, soft shell lobsters are at higher risk of dying in transport.​

Size Matters

How big of a lobster should I order? Bigger is not always better. Smaller lobsters have larger tails and sweeter meat.

Because lobster meat is naturally buttery and slightly sweet, lots of garlic can go a long way to making your fresh lobster a meal to remember.​

Is The Best Lobster In Portland Maine?

It’s debatable, but here are a few facts to consider:

Maine lobsters are cold water lobsters, caught from Canada to Virginia. Nearly half of all cold water lobsters are caught around Maine.

Cold water lobsters have two large front claws which warm water lobsters (spiny lobsters or rock lobsters) do not have.​

best lobster in maine

Maine lobsters are more likely to survive shipping when in their hard shell phase from December to June.

Prior to that, they’re growing into their new shell and cannot survive transport. Other softer shelled lobsters don’t fare so well in the mail.

The cold water lobster Homarus americanus (American lobster) are what most people think of when they hear the word “lobster.” Warm water lobsters are a different species and have no front claws.

Lobsters are a celebratory food and often prepared to honor birthdays and anniversaries. While this crustacean is an investment, a qualified lobster processor can help you purchase live lobsters for delivery to your door.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.