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So you picked your lucky lobster out of the tank, named him Spikey McClawface and brought him home. Now what? Stick him in a bathtub filled with ice? Leave him in the sink to free-range? Drop him in the aquarium? Find out after the jump.

So you picked your lucky lobster out of the tank, named him Spikey McClawface and brought him home. Now what? Stick him in a bathtub filled with ice? Leave him in the sink to free-range? Drop him in the aquarium? First off, don’t do that. He’ll eat all your fish and then promptly drown. To avoid shameful wastes of seafood like that, follow our easy tips on how to store a lobster in the fridge. Until you’re ready to toss him on the grill, that is.

  • Keep the rubber bands on. It may be tempting to see just how tough those guys really are, but if you have any love for your fingers, don’t remove the bands until he’s cooked.
  • Keep the lobster wrapped in a layer of damp — not soaking wet — newspaper. The cold temperature will make the lobster sluggish and unlikely to fight his way out of this wet paper bag. It will also keep him nice and moist. A dry lobster is a very unhappy lobster.
  • If that’s not secure enough for you, wisdom from Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobster himself: “Keep them in a bag or container with a frozen gel pack inside, as they will move around less the colder they are,” he says. “Keep them on the bottom shelf of the fridge to avoid cross-contaminating any of your other food with raw lobster. A hardshell lobster should stay alive for 36-48 hours this way.”

You heard the man, buy the lobster a maximum of 48 hours before you’re planning to cook. Any more than that and you risk “dead lobster syndrome.”

If Spikey does kick it before you’re ready to cook:

Throw it away and start over. Lobsters begin to decompose the moment they die unless they’re cooked immediately. Cooked dead lobster is slimy, flavorless and gross. If you’re certain the guy was alive when you opened the fridge an hour or two ago, there may be a window to save your investment.

Toss it in a pot of boiling water for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size. If, when removed, the lobster’s tail curls stiffly under its abdomen, you’re good to go. If it’s limp or floppy in the least, toss it. 

Great lobster recipes on Food Republic: