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The Great Maine Lobsterbake


johnnyd
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Lobsterbakes are the most fun you can have on a New England shoreline in my opinion. The few I've been to take all day to engineer - which is fun in itself - and if you have a big old bonfire handy, the action lasts well into the night.

In the past few years, locations for lobsterbakes have gotten more difficult to find here in Southern Maine. Some members may remember my attempts in 2004 to stage an eGullet lobster feast somewhere near Portland but I was turned away from local city parks and private shoreline is, well, private.

This week, The Maine Switch, a Portland-based weekly lifestyle newspaper, featured this local tradition on it's cover, and to my delight, my charming friend Courtney MacIsaac, the Chef/Owner of The Great Maine Lobster Bake Co.

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Courtney grew up on Peaks Island, a short ferry ride from Portland, and really knows what she's doing. She has a special stainless steel steamer, custom-built to her specs, in which to get the job done. Her menu provides all the traditional side dishes - steamers, mussels, corn-on-the-cob, slaw, blueberry pie - and for a per-head price, sets it all up and breaks it all down too.

Mobile lobster Bake companies are the way to go in these parts. As suitable locations become harder to come by, leave it to the experts to come by your house and fire it up for you.

Other Mobile Lobster/Clam Bake outfits:

Sam's Great Northern Lobster Bakes

Portland, Maine

Up in Booth Bay, Cabbage Island Clambakes runs a regular feast on 5-acre Cabbage Island in Linekin Bay. Price includes a round trip aboard the Argo.

Further Downeast, you will find more location opportunities and relaxed shore access... and probably cheaper lobsters. Should you take the plunge and do your own, the Maine Switch link above has a 7-step lobsterbake checklist (Thanks go out to Karen Beaudoin, editor, The Maine Switch for photo permission)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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About 15 years ago, I went to a wedding in Friendship and the reception was held on an island a couple miles from town.

Roughly 120 guests were ferried to the island by a couple of local lobstermen who secured floats on either side of their boat and bedecked them with lawn chairs for the ferry passengers. Piloting a lobster boat with wings and then landing it--twice (once on each side) was not a simple feat, but pulled off expertly.

Once on the island, the back area of the house had been prepared by the local company putting on the lobster bake. Big pits of hard wood had been fired up and mounds of fresh seaweed lay at the ready.

While the guests sipped drinks and had appetizers, the crew built the layers of seaweed, canvas, steamers, potatoes, corn on the cob and lobsters, finally dropping the last canvas on top and settling everything in for a good steam.

When all was ready we lined up for our goodies. When I had finished, I naturally, when it comes to lobster and steamers, found I had room for a bit more.

The SECOND lobster I had that day was the best I'd ever tasted. Perhaps it was the friends and perhaps I was a bit tipsy, but no matter. For this lobster, I think for having stayed in the pit for longer than the others, had developed a slight smokey flavor. Still moist, still sweet, with that little hint of smoke. Honest to God, I can still taste that lobster, reaching back all those years.

Pure heaven.

Edited by CSASphinx (log)

"Democracy is that system of government under which the people…pick out a Coolidge to be head of the State. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies." H. L. Mencken

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Sounds devine, Chris. I love the creative "ferry" rig the captains fashioned for the trip. Very resourceful!

Interesting effect that hard-wood smoke created for your lobster. I confess I haven't had anything like that but I'll be damned if I don't try it now. Thanks for the recollection.

I have had a number of lobster bakes on the back side of Jewel Island, here on Casco Bay. The popular "Punchbowl" pool on the northern end has a beach made of rocks of a perfect size. I find they add a fast heat source when the fire reduces to coals. Ended up being only four hours from ignition to feast for our small crew of campers.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Here in the Boston area, Jasper White's Summer Shack does mobile lobster bakes. A friend hosted one recently as part of a wedding weekend, and it was a lot of fun. Along with the lobster, there was chowder, corn bread, and bag of mussels, steamers, chorizo, corn, and potatoes. It wasn't seaside, which is always best, but you can't have everything. For folks from out of town, especially, it was an experience.


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