Summer Lobster Boil

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Boils are also known as a Steam, Bake, Fish Fry, Potluck, Planks or Seafood Barbecue. Here are a few kinds of boils I’ve either been privileged to have attended in my travels or have had the pleasure of creating myself.

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George Hirsch's Lobster Boil

  • New England - lobster steamed with beer, corn, sausage and new potatoes
  • Montauk - mussels, clams, lobster, striped bass, duck quarters, LI Yukons, corn
  • Maryland or Chesapeake - blue crab, oysters and clams with steamed with beer, vinegar, and Old Bay cooked in a steamer basket served with crackers corn and slaw
  • Cajun & Creole Boil - shrimp, crab, crawfish, andouille sausage or kielbasa, small red new potatoes
  • Low Country or Frogmore Stew - usually just shrimp with smoked sausage & corn
  • Texan - crawfish, oysters and good old Texan smoked brisket
  • Monterey - Dungeness crabs, shrimp and artichokes when in season
  •  Seattle - planked salmon & oysters 

Types of seafood commonly used for a boil is typically shellfish with shrimp being the most popular ingredient. Local availability, taste preferences and imagination can rule your boil. You may consider: Dungeness & blue claw crabs, shrimp, oysters, calamari, hard shell & razor clams, mussels, crawfish, Pacific salmon or striped bass for your boil. Equipment: large outdoor gas grill, cooker, or large pit with charcoal, a large pot (size depends on amount of seafood and the number of guests). 20 gallon stock pot,  large paddle to stir, large wire strainer or skimmer to scoop, tongs, mallets, crackers, picks, picnic tables, No utensils––eat with your hands. 

Summer Boil

Flavoring ingredients: onions, split heads of garlic, salt, lemons, beer, bay leaves, crab boil seasoning, cayenne pepper, hot sauce 

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George Hirsch's Lobster Boil

Serve: Remove seafood from pot, drain well and dump on picnic tables covered with newspaper, brown paper or butcher paper with bowls of lemon wedges, melted butter, bottles of hot sauce, and good quality breads. Beverages: Iced tubs of tall necks or keg beer (keep it local to your boil theme), tall necks of root beer, chilled rosé, iced tea, or lemonade. 

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George Hirsch's Lobster Boil

Preparing George’s East Coast Seafood Boil Recipe

My boil is a combination of the New England, Maryland & Montauk and is easily prepared on the side burner of a gas grill. Change seafood according to your own taste and availability. Add snow peas for additional color and crunch.

Non-seafood additions to boil with cook times:

  • 1 link per person smoked or Italian sausage, grilled & add to boil at end
  • 3 small red new potatoes per person, 15 minutes
  • 1 ear of corn per person, 10 minutes
  • 1/4 cup snow peas, 2-3 minutes
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter per person, for dipping
  • Serve hot sauce on the side 

To prepare Seafood Boil:

Add 2 cups water, 2 bottles of beer, 1 head fresh chopped garlic, 4 bay leaves, several sprigs fresh parsley, 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 Tablespoon powdered garlic, 1 Tablespoon thyme, and 1/4 cup paprika. If you like it spicy add dried hot pepper flakes, or chopped jalapeño. Bring liquid to boil.

Add seafood in stages for different cooking times:

  • Lobster 7 minutes for a 1 pound lobster + 1 minute for each additional 4 ounces
  • Blue Claw Crabs 5-7 minutes
  • Steamers or Littlenecks- 5-7 minutes or until opened
  • Shrimp (shell on) 4-5 minutes
  • Mussels 3-4 minutes or until opened

Separately, to boil lobsters:

  • Fill a large pot three-quarters full of cold water and cover.
  • A good rule of thumb is to allow 2 1/2 quarts of water for each lobster. Two or more lobsters will cook in the same time providing the pot is large enough. When in doubt use two pots.
  • Bring the water to a rapid boil.
  • Lobsters should be alive with the safety bands left on the claws. Drop the live lobsters one at a time head first, let the water boil again and cover the pot. Now you will begin to time the cooking.
  • Allow 7 minutes for a one-pound lobster and add one minute for each 4 ounces. A 1 1/2 pound lobster will cook in 9 minutes.
  • Lobsters will turn a bright red when cooked. Remove lobsters from pot with a pair of tongs.
  • Allow at least 2- 1 pound lobsters per person since a 1 pound lobster offers only 4 ounces of meat.
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George Hirsch's Lobster Boil

To Grill Lobsters:

  • Lobsters, split and cleaned
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons seafood seasoning
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 pound clarified or drawn butter
  • 3 lemons, cut into wedges

Preheat grill to medium high

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil seafood seasoning and garlic. Place the lobster on its back and brush with some of the oil mixture.  Place the lobster on the grill, split side down, for 3 minutes. Brush with olive oil, turn, and cook until done, 5 to 6 minutes longer. A 1 1/2-pound lobster should cook in 9 minutes: 7 minutes for the first pound and 1 minute for each additional 4 ounces.

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