Take a bite out New England with these Maine Lobster rolls! These buttered buns are stuffed with fresh lobster, celery, and mayo- then served cold!Jump to Recipe
Boston lobster rolls
Cape Cod is where it’s at in the summertime! The Vanderbilt’s had the right idea when they decided Newport, RI would be their summer retreat. The New England region is packed with history, cultures, and some of the best seafood you’ve ever had!
Lobster rolls are served at basically any Cape Cod restaurant. They are a super popular beach food because they are easy to eat while on the go. Fresh Main lobster is mixed with a little squeeze of lemon, some mayonnaise, a bit of chopped celery, then stuffed between buttered and toasted New England style buns. It’s safe to say it’s one of my favorite ways to eat lobster.
You cannot visit Boston (or New England, for that matter) without trying these highly sought after Maine lobster rolls. Maine is known for their delicious cold water lobsters, which are always freshly imported to Massachusetts. Cold water lobsters are sweet, full of meat, and tender, this is why they are considered the best lobsters on Earth!
This leads me to ask you a very, very important question. Will you be eating these Maine lobster rolls cold or hot? Which tempurature you decide to eat it at will dictate what you end up calling the lobster roll. Yes, it’s that serious!
What are Maine lobster rolls
New England is the Northern region of the United States that consists of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. These regions are best known for the rich colonial history, the variety of cultures, and the best seafood that comes out of the Atlantic ocean.
Main lobster rolls use the freshest lobsters caught off the (extremely cold) coast of Maine. These cold water lobsters are sweet, full of meat (compared to the spiny back lobster), and tender.
The lobster is prepared, cooked, then removed from it’s shell, yielding the fresh meat. Next, the lobster is tossed with mayo, lemon juice, some celery (to add a crunchy texture), and a little salt and pepper.
The New England style buns are then buttered and toasted to create a delicious crunchy texture, then stuffed with the lobster mixture. Add a handful of Cape Cod chips or french fries (why not both!) to the side and you have yourself a classic New England meal!
Maine lobster rolls vs. Connecticut lobster rolls- what’s the difference?
Maine lobster rolls start with a steamed lobster. The meat is tossed in mayonnaise, then chilled in the fridge. When they are made to order, the bun is prepared. Butter is slathered on the flat edged, spilt top buns then toasted on a griddle. The cold lobster meat mixture is piled into the bun, and, resulting in a delicious combination of flavors.
Connecticut lobster rolls are prepared by steaming the lobster, extracting the meat, then tossing in melted butter. The rolls are prepared the same as the Maine lobster rolls, although I have eaten plenty of lobster rolls with just a regular bun rather than a buttered and toasted bun.
Maine lobster rolls are served with cold lobster meat and dressed in mayonnaise, while Connecticut lobster rolls are served warm and dressed with butter.
What are New England style buns
New England style buns are similar to hot dog buns. They are split top hot dog buns that have flat sides, which make them perfect for buttering and toasting.
The New England style buns are a little more bulk than traditional hot dog buns, which comes in handy since these things get stuffed to the brim with fresh Maine lobster.
Since I live in Florida, it’s very hard to come across these New England style buns. Trust me, I ran to three different grocery stores- I was on a mission! I could not locate them, so regular hot dog buns it is!
I recommend using potato hot dog buns as they are a little bulkier than regular hot dog buns. No matter what, they will taste delicious when they are coated in butter and toasted. Plus, the star of the show is the Maine lobster, so don’t worry too much about the bun!
Maine lobster roll ingredients
- Lobster- We’ll dive into the ways to cook lobster, but look for lobsters that weigh around 1.5 lbs, which ensures the meat will be tender, not tough.
- Mayonnaise- You want just enough mayonnaise to bind all the ingredients together, but not super wet.
- Celery- A little chopped celery will add the perfect crunch and flavor to your lobster rolls.
- Lemon juice– Lobster and lemons are a delicious combination. Add just enough of a squeeze of lemon juice to enhance flavor, but not to soak the lobster mixture.
- New England style hot dog buns– Can’t find these flat edge, split top hot dog buns? Don’t sweat it. Opt for regular hot dog buns, you’ll be so busy reveling in these lobster rolls deliciousness, you won’t notice the difference.
- Butter– Softened butter is smeared all over the buns to help them toast and lock in flavor.
- Salt and pepper
- Add lettuce. A little layer of lettuce between the lobster meat and bun can really make a difference!
- Don’t make the lobster mixture too wet. The mayonnaise and lemon juice is to add flavor and help bind the meat together, but you don’t want it to be soaked.
- Add French fries or Cape Cod chips to the side. Traditionally, lobster rolls are served with either or, and it’s the perfect salty addition!
How to pick out a Maine lobster
Live Maine lobsters are easy to pick out! Look for the distinctive Maine lobsters which have large claws (that’s where the best meat is!), rather than spiny back lobsters which have small claws (their meat is mainly in the tail).
When the lobster is grabbed out of the tank, make sure it is lively and feisty. Lobsters should not be slow reacting or sluggish. Their tails and claws should flail when they are picked up.
Ask for a lobster that weighs between 1-2 lbs. Large lobsters means they are older, and their meat tends to be tough and sometimes lacks flavor. Younger, smaller lobsters have sweeter and more tender meat!
How to cook a Maine lobster
Steaming a lobster is the best way to render the most juicy, tasty meat. This method of cooking ensures the meat will be super tender and cooked to perfection.
To steam a lobster, fill the bottom 2 inches of a large pot with salted water. Place a steaming rack in the pot, then place your lobsters in it and cover the pot with a lid. Steam your lobster for 10- 15 minutes for a 1 – 1.5 lb lobster.
If you are buying the lobster from a grocery store, ask if they can steam to lobster for you. This is usually a free service most grocery stores offer, and it saves you time!
Boiling a lobster is the best way to ensure the meat will extract easily. The meat will pull away from the shell so you can easily crack it open and pull the meat out.
Boil a lobster by filling a large pot with salted water. Once the water is rapidly boiling, add the lobsters head first into the water. Cover the pot until it returns to a boil. Boil the lobster for 9- 13 minutes for a 1 – 1.5 lb lobster.
Baking a lobster is not an ideal way of cooking it since it takes much longer. This method could be useful if you are cooking more lobster than what you can comfortably fit in your large stock pot.
To bake a lobster, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the lobster in half, then place it on a baking sheet. Roast the lobster for about 10 minutes until the meat is bright red.
How to crack open a Maine lobster
You now have a cooked lobster, your mouth is watering, and you can’t wait to dig in, but now what? Here is a simple guide to help you extract the lobster meat the easiest!
- Lobster or nut cracker -OR-
- Sharp scissors
- Fork- preferably a tiny one for those little crevices that hides meat
Breakdown a Main lobster
- Twist the claws off. Use the lobster cracker to crack the center of the claws, then pull the meat out with your fingers or fork.
- Separate the tail from the body. A quick twist of the tail and it’ll easily come apart from the body of the lobster. Discard the body. Bend the tail the opposite way of its natural curl, then pull the tail meat out in one piece. Remove the main vein from the back of the lobster tail and discard it.
- Pull the small legs off the body. These legs are hard to extract meat from, but you can suck on them and grab the meat with your teeth. It sounds barbaric, but they are SO good.
How to make Maine lobster rolls
- Cook your lobster. Choose a method of cooking, and cook your lobster for as long as it needs according to its weight.
- Extract the lobster meat. You can use scissors or a lobster/nut cracker. Pull the meat apart into smaller bite sized pieces.
- Toss the ingredients together. Combine the lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, celery, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Place the mixture in the fridge to chill if you want this lobster roll to be “Maine style.”
- Toast the buns. Slather softened butter over the buns, then place them on a hot cast iron or griddle. Allow each side to toast.
- Stuff the buns. Load the hot dog buns with tons of lobster meat. If you don’t like your bun to get soggy, add a layer of lettuce!
What to serve with a lobster roll
First, crack open a nice cold beer! You can serve these lobster rolls with a variety of side dishes like coleslaw, French fries, or kettle chips, like Cape Cod chips.
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New England Lobster Rolls
Take a bite out New England with these Maine Lobster rolls! These buttered buns are stuffed with fresh lobster, celery, and mayo- then served cold!
- 2 1- 2 lb live Maine lobsters
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- hot dog buns
- 4 tbsp softened butter
- lettuce optional
Cook the lobster and remove the meat. Boil or steam the lobster for 9-15 minutes, adjusting the time according to the weight. Use a lobster cracker to remove the meat from the claws, knuckles, and tail. But the meat into bite sized chunks, then place in a mixing bowl.
Combine all the ingredients. Add the mayonnaise, chopped celery, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the lobster in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in the fridge for atleast an hour if you want the cold "Maine style" lobster rolls.
Toast the buns. Slather the butter on all sides of the buns, then place them on a griddle over medium heat. Allow each side to toast.
Stuff the rolls. Once the buns are toasted, place a layer of lettuce in them, then stuff them to the brim with the lobster mixture. Dig in! Mangia!
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