Growing up on the coast of Maine, no summer was complete without a lobster roll featuring plenty of claw meat lightly coated in mayonnaise and nestled in a golden toasted bun. I had more than my fair share of lobster this year, but as the summer of canceled travel plans winds down, you may feel robbed of your own coastal seafood experience.
Luckily, it’s not too late. Many people equate lobster with summer, but Chris Welch, a lobsterman whose family has been fishing the gulf of Maine for generations, said this is a common misconception. The best time to eat lobster is actually right now when lobsters have a brand new shell.
Hard-shell lobster that’s picked from the ocean from January through the end of June has a tougher texture, and makes up most of the lobster available around the U.S., Welch told me. But in mid-July, lobsters outgrow their old shell and shed it in favor of a softer, thinner shell that grows underneath.
As lobsters go through this process of molting, lobstermen like Welch hold off on picking new lobster and resume once the process is complete. Lobster harvested at this time, generally from August through September, has a softer shell that is easier to break through. The meat is also much more flavorful because salty ocean water is able to pass through the thinner shell, essentially brining the meat as the lobster traverses the ocean floor.
“Maine new-shell lobster is really a delicacy,” he said. “It’s probably the most tender and sweetest lobster that you’re going to find anywhere.”
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In all of the kits mentioned below, the meat comes cooked and ready to go, so there’s no need to break through the shell or boil it in a roaring hot pot. All you need to do is lightly coat it in mayo, salted butter, or both, and pile it high on a toasted, buttery bun.
Here are some DIY kits that have everything you need to make lobster rolls at home:
If you’re a lobster lover outside of Maine, you already know Luke’s Lobster. The restaurant has about 35 locations around the world, and the lobster roll kit brings the fresh meat and secret seasoning its known for to your kitchen. Choose from kits with ingredients for four ($75) or eight ($130) rolls.
Get Maine Lobsterhas a truly decadent lobster roll kit you just have to try. Dubbed the Black Tie ($125), this lobster roll kit makes the meat even richer with white truffle tarragon butter and fluffy brioche rolls.
Black Point Seafood mixes it up a bit. You can coat your lobster meat in mayonnaise or butter, but this kit comes with the shop’s secret spice blend that features dill and other spices for a more flavorful roll. Choose from kits with ingredients for six ($109) or 12 ($159) rolls.
Hancock Gourmet‘s lobster roll kit does all the work for you (and puts dessert on the table). The kit comes with lobster already coated in a thin layer of mayonnaise so all you have to do is toast up the hot dog buns, throw the lobster on top, and dig in. Plus, the six-roll kit ($129) comes with whoopie pies for dessert.
Eventide Oyster‘s lobster roll is anything but ordinary. This super rich variation comes with nutty brown butter to melt and coat the lobster in and soft, fluffy steamed buns. Choose from kits with ingredients for two ($59) or four ($99) rolls.
Most of these services ship lobster overnight on the same day it’s picked from the ocean, so you’re getting the freshest product around even if you’re hundreds of miles away.
Once it’s time to assemble, you pretty much have free rein. When it comes to the meat, Welch said a good lobster roll will have parts of the tail, knuckle, and claw so you’re getting flavor from the whole creature. But you’re welcome to fill it up with just your favorite sections too.
“When I’m eating lobster at home and picking it for my family, they don’t get a chance to eat too many knuckles. I make those disappear as I’m working on the rest of the meat,” Welch admitted.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.