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Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Andrea Boudewijn gives us the answers

Whether you are planning a trip to a seafood restaurant to indulge in lobster or plan to cook the crustacean yourself in your own kitchen, you may be pondering a common question — is the sound a lobster makes when immersed in boiling water a scream? 

To get an answer, we turned to our cooking and baking expert, Andrea Boudewijn. In addition to shedding light on the source of the sound, she also provided alternatives to cooking with live lobsters and suggested items for preparing the delicacy at home.

In this article: Farberware Classic 16-Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot, OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs and DELLING Large Serving Platter Set

Do lobsters scream when placed in boiling water?

If you’ve ever observed live lobsters being cooked, you know that the sound that occurs when they are put in boiling water is an unpleasant one. However, according to Boudewijn, it’s not actually the lobster reacting to the hot water. 

“Nope! A sound can emit from the shells of the lobsters — a high-pitched sound — but it’s due to steam escaping through a fissure in the shell, not the lobsters ‘screaming,’” she explained.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the cooking process is pain-free for the lobster. We asked Boudewijn if the crustaceans feel pain in this scenario. 

“This is an age-old debate between animal activists and fisherfolk. Science points out that lobsters lack the neural anatomy to feel pain. I believe anything with any kind of eyes or senses, including lobsters, feels pain when immersed in boiling water,” she said. 

Alternatives to cooking with live lobsters

The thought of lobsters feeling pain during the cooking process is concerning to some home chefs, especially those who are also animal lovers. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Frozen lobsters is one, Boudewijn said. “You can purchase frozen lobsters (already dead), but they’re not as fresh and soft. They may still make the high-pitched noise when immersed in the boiling water.”

Boudewijn advised that other crustaceans are also good alternatives to pricey lobster. 

“You can purchase a crab. These are also delicious and less expensive,” she explained, adding that crawfish are another seafood choice that mimics the lobster-eating experience. 

“Crawdads, or crawfish, or mud bugs — whatever you like to call them, these smaller cousins of the lobster are a great way to get the fresh seafood-boil vibe without the expense. Boil a bunch with corn on the cob (short cobs), new potatoes, and lots of Cajun spices for an unforgettable dinner,” Boudewijn said. 

She also offered a tasty option for vegans and vegetarians who want the seafood-boil experience without the sea creatures. “For those wishing to avoid the animals altogether, just cut them out. Boil a bunch of your favorite hearty veggies: Corn, potatoes, artichokes, chopped onions, and lots of spices, then dump them out on a newspaper-covered table and serve with lemon wedges. Heaven,” she said.

Different methods for cooking lobsters at home

“Steaming and boiling are the two most common ways to cook a lobster, but they can also be grilled. All these methods work with whole lobsters or just the tail meat (this is how it’s frequently sold in markets, usually in sets of two),” said Boudewijn about the best lobster cooking techniques to use at home. She also provided a list of tips to help you achieve mouthwatering results:

  1. Remove the rubber bands on the claws before cooking. Otherwise, they’ll impart a rubbery flavor to the meat.
  2. Prepare to get messy. Storing a live lobster, cooking it, and eating it is messy, but it’s all part of the fun.
  3. Melted butter and wedge lemon slices are the traditional dips and pour-overs for lobster, but you could do something nice by mixing melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, dried cilantro, and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Pick the leftovers and store them in an airtight container. Then mix the next day with mayo and a touch of mustard and smear on a toasted bun for a delicious snack.
  5. If you have pets, discard the shells in a tied-off bag and put them in your main refuse bins. Lobster shells can be dangerous for a family pet to consume, handle or play with.

Best products to cook lobsters at home

From a stock pot to seafood tools, Boudewijn’s recommended items can make your home lobster cooking endeavors successful. 

Large stock pot

Farberware Classic 16-Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot

Farberware Classic 16-quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot

A stainless steel stock pot is the perfect cookware for preparing lobster as well as many other recipes. This model does a good job maintaining cooking temperatures and features a large 16-quart design for large amounts of food. 

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Kohl’s

Metal tongs

OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs

OXO Good Grips 16-inch Locking Tongs

When it’s time to serve your lobster, you’ll need a durable pair of tongs. This pair is 16 inches in length, which is ideal for removing food from large pots. The slip-resistant handle provides a secure grip.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Serving platters

DELLING Large Serving Platter Set

Delling Large Serving Platter Set

Large platters are better than standard plates when serving lobster. This set includes three ceramic platters that are oven, microwave and dishwasher-safe. 

Sold by Amazon

Tools for serving and eating lobster 

Mercer Culinary 8-Inch Chinese Chef Knife

Mercer Culinary 8-inch Chinese Chef Knife

A chef knife is a good kitchen tool to have on hand for cutting lobster into smaller pieces. An 8-inch blade like the one on this model is a suitable size. 

Sold by Amazon 

Melocean Seafood Tool Set

Melocean Seafood Tool Set

This set includes two shell cracking tools for breaking through the shells of lobsters and other seafood and six seafood forks for indulging in the meat. The handles are made to be easy to grip and are contoured for comfort. 

Sold by Amazon

Toadfish Crab and Lobster Seafood Tool Set

Toadfish Crab and Lobster Seafood Tool Set

With serrated teeth and slip-resistant handles, the two shell crackers in this set get the job done. You’ll also get four seafood forks that are slip-resistant. 

Sold by Amazon 

Bowls for lemon slices

Libbey Small Glass Bowls with Lids, Set of 8

Libbey Small Glass Bowls with Lids, Set of Eight

These eight small glass bowls are ideal for placing lemon slices to squeeze onto seafood. They are also perfect for side dishes. Lids are included. 

Sold by Amazon 

Large metal bowls for shells

All-Clad 3-Piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

All-Clad Three-piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

Stainless steel mixing bowls come in handy for numerous tasks in the kitchen. Placing lobster and other crustacean shells during meals is another use for them every time you make seafood meals. 

Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

Towels for keeping hands clean

Harringdons Kitchen Towel Set

Harringdons Kitchen Towel Set

Eating shellfish of any kind can be messy, so it’s a great idea to keep extra dish towels on hand for each of your dinner guests. These 12 cotton towels are ideal for this purpose, plus they look nice on a table. 

Sold by Amazon 

Airtight containers for leftovers

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers with Lids

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers with Lids

Don’t forget food storage bowls like Rubbermaid’s large set for your lobster leftovers. The airtight latch lids will keep the contents from spilling. 

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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