Yahoo! Food Editor wrote an excellent article on the diversity and slight nuances of Lobster Rolls, with the ultimate conclusion being, “The truth about lobster rolls is that there is no truth except the lobster itself.”
Portland Head Lighthouse Food Truck Maine Lobster Roll . Photo courtesy of FoodandWine.com
There’s Maine and New England style Lobster Rolls which can be very similar, typically using lobster meat that’s either mixed or added onto mayonnaise, served in top of a buttered spit-top hot dog bun.
Connecticut Lobster Roll. Photo courtesy of LobsterofMaine.com
Then there’s the Connecticut style Lobster Roll that doesn’t use Mayonnaise, but instead tosses the lobster meat in drawn butter; some with or without lemon juice as well.
Served hot or cold is also a consideration, with most saying a Lobster Roll served cold is considered a Lobster Salad Roll. Makes sense.
Then there’s all these other variations such as the type of bun, where some put the lobster meat on a hamburger bun or other type of roll instead of the classic New England style split-top hot dog bun.
Some put a bed of lettuce, some don’t. And while we’re on fresh greens, some add diced celery and minced chives in with the lobster meat, some don’t.
Finally, seasonings can vary from either celery salt, paprika, Old Bay, to fresh cracked black pepper, and whatever other “secret spices” you can think of, where some use some or all the above, while some don’t use any at all.
All, ideally with one goal in mind: to LET THE LOBSTER MEAT SPEAK.
Ken Williamson, a native of Rhode Island who now calls Hawaii home presents his take on what a true Maine Lobster Roll is all about: Keep it super, super, and let the sweet Maine lobster meat speak for itself!
Ken also points out that a true Maine Lobster Roll is served on none other than a split-top Hot Dog Bun. And according to Ken, the only company outside of New England that makes the proper bun for an authentic Maine Lobster Roll is King’s Hawaiian, with their Original Hawaiian Sweet Split-top Hot Dog Buns…
With the King’s Hawaiian split-top Hot Dog Buns, there’s adequate open surface area on the sides of the bun so you can generously butter and toast it. While the split-top creates the perfect pocket to hold about an entire 1 lb. gross weight Maine Lobster’s worth of meat, which typically after being shelled, yields approximately 4 oz. of lobster meat, including the knuckles, claws and tail. It’s also a Portuguese Sweet Bread, so that slight sweetness and buttery accent enhances the sweetness and overall flavor of the lobster itself.
Ken’s “Purist” Maine Lobster Roll
1 lb. cold water lobster (Maine or Nova Scotia)
1/2 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 split-top Kings Original Hawaiian Sweet Hot Dog Buns
4 tablespoons melted butter
Add just enough water to a pot to steam lobster without it being submerged and bring to boil then add enough salt to make it taste like sea water.
Place whole lobster in pot and steam 10 to 15 minutes, or until its shell turns bright red and meat is opaque. Run cooked lobster under cold tap water until cool to touch.
Extract meat from tail, arms and claws, and cut into bite-size pieces no smaller than 3/4″ chunks, except for claws (keep intact for presentation). In a large bowl,toss cut lobster meat and claws with mayonnaise and set aside.
Heat a pan or skillet to medium heat, brush the crustless sides of split top hot dog bun generously with butter and toast until both sides are golden brown.
Add mayonnaise-coated lobster meat and claws to butter-toasted bun, arranging so claws are visible for presentation.
P.S. Here’s a live 7.5 lbs, 3 ft. Maine Lobster Ken and his wife enjoyed for dinner at his home in Rhode Island, New England back in 2003…
7.5 lbs, 3 ft. Maine Lobster, cooked and ready to dig in…
Makes that wine glass look like its for a doll house!….
Ken said he used to bring home a 6 to 8 pound lobster every Friday (Fridays were fish day in New England) for dinner (his fish monger had a special deal per pound, so as long as he supplied, Ken purchased) and his steamer pot was larger enough that they fit Granite•Ware®.
Ken and his wife would just tear the lobster apart and dip in clarified unsalted butter, along with a glass or two of white wine. Leftovers were made into lobster rolls, lobster stew and Lobster Newburg.
During the summer, Ken would hold a Down East Lobster Bake for 21 family members so the pot had to hold 21 each 1½ pound lobster for steaming, 21 pounds of clams, Portuguese sausages, potatoes, corn, onions and hot dogs. Plus he would grill smoked BBQ ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch with potato salad and green salad.
The restaurant Ken visits when he goes back to visit New England only serves 3 pound lobsters is Carrie’s Restaurant. But the fish shack he gets his lobster roll from in Boston, MA is Belle Isle Seafood, where a ½ pound lobster roll is $21 (check Yelp for photos).
And as if a 7.5 pound lobster isn’t large enough for you, not to fret, as they can come in TWICE the size, clocking in at a whoppin’ 15 pounds, ready for eating, such as at the Eddy House B&B, where for a Valentine Day Special, Ken and his wife shared one.
A ONE-pounder will snap a pencil with its claw, so just imagine getting a hand or foot caught in a FIFTEEN-pounder’s claws?! Don’t forget, it takes 7 years for a lobster to gain one pound of weight, making this “Big Eddy” about 105 years old! Whoah, Big Eddy!