Saturday, August 24, 2013

How to Have a Lobsterfest in the Rocky Mountains

The following are required for your Lobsterpalooza:


4 live Maine lobsters
1 functioning gas grill ( a charcoal one might work, but you're on your own here, Pal)
1 adult kid having a birthday, plus one sibling and their Mom
1-2 side dishes, such as corn-on-the-cob, rice, pilaf, French (or Freedom) fries, etc. We fixed suboise. A green salad is kind of nice, too.
1 to 1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted and mixed with four crushed cloves of garlic. This is in line with the Food Network and Julia Child's axiom that more butter generally improves anything. The butter is for dipping.
1 recipe of original Trader Dick's Mai-tais for all (recipe on request)
Why don't you go where fashion sits?

1 recipe of something else for those who don't like Mai-tais all that much
1 decent white wine, such as an oaky Chardonnay or, better yet, an Oregon Pinot Gris or California Fume Blanc. Or Pinot Noir, I guess.
1 really good California Zinfandel, preferably from Mendocino, but Sonoma will do. Amador County works, by the way. Or a Pinot Noir, I guess.
Extra wine in case you run out.


1. Engage the diners in a riveting discussion over Mai-tais. Rag on your boss, lie about your sales figures, blame Obama for something or whatever. When ice at bottom of glass appears to displace Mai-tai (or whatever is in the glass), light the grill.

2. Kill and bifurcate the lobsters. Bifurcate means cut in half, lengthwise. Well, to be precise, "bifurcate" doesn't connote lengthwise or horizontal, but just do it lengthwise, okay? And smack a good gash into each claw so the meat inside will cook (See below for how to store, kill, and bifurcate lobsters)

3 .Let the grill heat for 10-15 minutes. It's okay, and even good, to have soaked wood chips for 10-20 minutes to add smokiness, but if you forgot, WTH. If you remembered to soak some wood chips, place the metal box with wet chips on the grill. 

4. Pour the remaining Mai-tais to the now-excited diners.

5. In completing Step 4, do not overlook the chef nor those who may prefer cranberry juice, which goes well with vodka and Triple Sec.

6. Cooking the lobster: Baste each meaty side with the melted garlic butter and place flesh side down on the grill for about two minutes. Lower the heat and flip each lobster half so that the shell side is on the bottom. Cook another seven minutes or so, covered, until the lobster is done. If your grill is crowded, which it probably is, it may take longer than seven minutes, so don't go all batshit. The meat will be all creamy and yummy-looking when done.You'll have to shift the critters around, because it's kind of tricky to get the claw meat completely cooked without overcooking the rest.

Here is how it will look: 

A couple of assurances and warnings, here. First, I'd like to assure everyone that the lobsters starring in this post are (a) sustainably raised, (b) line-caught and (c) local. It's a little-known fact that Live Maine lobsters grow and flourish in a protected corner of La Poudre Pass Lake, the headwaters of the Colorado River, although you can only buy them in a store. But we are proud of these ethics, so if they disturb those of you on the far Republican Right,  you'll have to go to, hmm, well, I don't know. Someplace nice, like Redmond, WA, or maybe Martha's Vineyard. Palm Springs, I suppose, or anywhere in Florida. The video below may be inspiring, especially if you can manage to Photoshop in an American flag.

Second, to the Democratic Left: You need to know that the things we eat were, at some point, alive before someone, often an undocumented alien, killed them. This fact will be more disturbing the higher up the food chain you go. Live French wheat killed for Gray Goose is one thing--which, parenthetically and ironically, more Republicans can afford, but still. Point made.Terminating the life of a creature is, well, terminating the life of a creature. It's possible the lobsters in question were none to happy about the turn of events. Be aware that phone calls for comments were not returned. 

How to Store, Kill, Prepare and Bifurcate Lobsters

To store: Buy them the same day you plan to eat them, if possible. Store them in the refrigerator with some wet Rocky Mountain seaweed on top. If no seaweed is available, wet some newspapers and put that on top of the critters. Refrigeration really slows their metabolism, but they stay alive.

To kill the lobster: The first thing to do is find someone willing to act as Grand Executioner. Your Correspondent was perfectly willing to assume this task, but, alas, had to light the barbecue. The other diners, save one, scattered so fast you could play cards on their coattails. That left the sous chef to do the deed, and though it was his birthday, he took on the task with gusto. 

The second part is to locate a little T where the head and neck, if it had a neck, would join. Do not remove the rubber band from the claws, yet, as by now, the lobster is awake and kind of pissed off. Facing the lobster, take a French Chef knife and plunge it into the T, and pull the knife toward you with the blade cutting through the head between the eyes. The video below may be disturbing to the death-unawares, so if you're squeamish, don't watch it and settle for a review from Kenneth Turan or someone.

To bifurcate the lobster: Flip it over onto its back and, using the same French Chef knife, cut it in half lengthwise. You may have to employ the use of kitchen shears, depending on your strength and the quality of the French Chef knife. Be aware that during the execution and bifurcation process, lobster spoo will explode all over the kitchen, the sous chef and the interested bystanders, flavoring their remaining Mai-tais and making their eyeglasses a bit less useful.

Remove the stomach, intestines and all that kind of gross stuff. You will note some greenish yuck near the head. This is called the tomalley, which is some foreign language word for liver and pancreas. New Englanders consider this to be a delicacy and will use it for sauces, dips and soup base. But these organs also act as a filter and could be replete with pollutants. If there's some red stuff by the tail, it's a female lobster and that's the roe. Sushi lovers should be orgasmic at this discovery, and it can be used along with the tomalley. In any event, remove these before grilling and do what you will (recipes abound on the internet). You an also remove the rubber bands from the claws.

Serve each person one lobster and a ramekin of melted butter for dipping. The side dishes will have to go on another plate and may go uneaten, to a degree.

Bon appetitt!

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