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Lobster--smoked


MatthewB
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Time for a new adventure. So . . .

While thinking about grilling lobster this weekend, I was reminded that the best lobster I've had was a "Chinese Style Smoked Lobster" at DC Coast in Washington DC.

So, my thoughts moved from grilling to smoking.

Any advice on how I might pull off "Chinese Style Smoked Lobster" at home? (I would smoke it in my Weber Smokey Mountain, so that's not an issue.)

I'm assuming that I would smoke half lobsters (~1.5 to 2 pds each) for about an hour at ~200*F. Sound close?

And what about marinate, seasonings, etc.? I remember said lobster having a tea flavor.

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several thoughts based on experience

is the lobster to be served hot or cold?

in either instance the lobster should be blanched before smoking; not merely killed and put in the smoker for its own enzymes at the low temperature will turn the flesh to mush(not what you are looking for)

when smoking either remove the lobster entirely from its shell or split in half and rub with a spice rub in both cases to add a more intense flavor

mirror your spice rub by adding those same spices plus tea, rice, and sugar to your coals to create the flavor prophile you are looking for.

time in the smoker will be about 30 minutes if you are hot smoking and closer to the hour for a cold smoke.

good luck, and really watch and feel the lobster meat because with fish your window and the variables in your weber will constanly flucuate from the sun beaming down on the black finish to gusty winds reaping havoc.

cheers

h. alexander talbot

chef and author

Levittown, PA

ideasinfood

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Plan would be to serve hot.

Might a hotter temperature--say, 250*F--be better? (And, thus, not blanch? My only reference is grilling technique from Jasper White where lobster is halved, cleaned, & then grilled.)

Also, might a tea & spice rub plus a finishing oil (perhaps olive oil--or peanut oil--with garlic, scallions, ginger) be a good aim?

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mirror your spice rub by adding those same spices plus tea, rice, and sugar to your coals to create the flavor prophile you are looking for.

Sugar on hot coals? That'll burn quickly and the smell will infuse into the meat creating an off or burnt flavor.

Use a 'light' wood such as alder. You don't want to mask the flavor of the meat with something like mesquite or oak.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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More than likely that Chinese smoked lobster wasn't smoked in the fashion you're about to. I've seen Ming Tsai use his wok to tea smoke. After low-heat steaming the duck legs (in this case) for an hour to an hour and a half, he puts a one cup each mixture of rice, sugar and tea leaves on foil in the wok and puts the heat on medium. After the mixture starts to smolder, he reduces the heat to low and puts a bamboo steamer over the mixture. Put in the the legs and then place a wet towel around the base of the steamer and smoke for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and smoke for another 15 minutes. He probably lowers the temperature at some point but that's the basic method.

As for the bullet, I've never smoked lobster but I do know it's a delicate meat and it would be really easy to overcook it. If I were to try it, I'd go half an hour at 200F.

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NEVER BE AFRAID OF MEAT.

If you mess it up, chalk it up as experience and then try again (and report here of course).

The only time to be weary of your meat cooking skills is when you're planning a highbrow big dinner and you need/want to impress your guests. Then you stick with something you've done before. :smile:

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:ponders:

well, klink, let me sleep on this smoked lobster in the Weber thing. But it's just me & the SO this weekend so I can always pick up a dozen fresh kielbasas in case I fuck up the lobster. :biggrin:

Any more advice anyone? I'm still listening!

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I would be wary of smoking lobster at 200F. It seems to me that the trick is to cold smoke the lobster to impart the smokey taste without cooking it. Try the following:

Place two half burnt-out coals in a glass bowl. Add two or three pieces of crumpled tin foil larger than the coals- this is to keep the lobster from direct contact with the coals. Chuck a large tablespoon of olive oil onto the coals. Working quickly, place the shelled lobster on a piece of tin foil and place in the bowl. Cover with a plate and leave for 10 minutes. Remove and then grill the lobster.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Why not send an e-mail to DC Coast asking for the recipe?

http://www.dccoast.com/

It's the restaurant's signature dish. I'm sure people ask for the recipe all the time and they probably have it all ready to send or hand out to any customer who asks for it.

Also, Biba in Boston does a tea-smoked lobster. Might be worth checking out that recipe:

http://ae.boston.com/dining/recipes/t/tea_lobster.html

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Curious being that I am I checked out the Cookshack seafood forum and found a post addressing this very issue. "Redneck Almost Trained" pre-cooked the lobsters, removing them when still slightly underdone. He then split them and cracked the claws to allow a maximum amount of smoke in. Then put in the Cookshack smoker for about 20 minutes. Tried two different woods in two batches, hickory for one, alder for the second. Surprisingly the hickory was the taste favorite. You can read about it here. Think I’ll try it in my own Cookshack smoker. Sounds delicious. Besides, I have numerous woods I’d like to compare. Apple might be nice. Something as pungent as mesquite is not a candidate.

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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Why not send an e-mail to DC Coast asking for the recipe?

Couldn't find an email address so I called DC Coast this afternoon.

I was politely told that if the recipe wasn't on the website that "Gourmet magazine may have it but I'm not at liberty to divulge any additional information concerning that recipe."

So, I searched epicurious.com to no avail.

Perhaps I'll send a snail-mail letter to Chef Jeff Tunks at DC Coast. But I still need to decide what to do for this weekend.

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Matthew, where do you buy your lobster in GR?

The Jasper White method of grilling the split lobsters is pure genius. If you use lump hardwood charcoal it picks up a nice smoky flavor. I have a yearly lobsterfest where I buy some nice 3 pounders and cook them that way, it beats boiled/steamed any day.

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Matthew, where do you buy your lobster in GR?

The Jasper White method of grilling the split lobsters is pure genius. If you use lump hardwood charcoal it picks up a nice smoky flavor. I have a yearly lobsterfest where I buy some nice 3 pounders and cook them that way, it beats boiled/steamed any day.

Fresh lobster is available at the D&W chain of groceries. Unless, of course, you know of a better supplier here! :biggrin:

Maybe I should try the Jasper White method with the Rick Bayless recipe that I mentioned earlier. However, the link that Huevos del Toro provided certainly looks like I could pull it off in the Weber smoker.

At this point, I'm fairly convinced that if I want to do "Asian-style" smoked lobster that I should use my wok. But I don't want to sound like the "shoddy workman who always blames his inferior tools."

I'm still wavering but I think Mexican-style grilled lobster is the plan for this Saturday.

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Fresh lobster is available at the D&W chain of groceries.  Unless, of course, you know of a better supplier here!  :biggrin:

I usually buy my seafood at Meijer when I'm in GR, or try to bring it from Chicago :wink: . I thought there might be some kick-ass fishmonger that my parents hadn't heard of.

Mexican style lobster sounds great, I'll look it up in Jasper's book. Just remember, in Mexico they have those rock lobsters (no claws) which don't compare to Maine Lobster (they're still good though). I would cook a Maine Lobster much less time than a rock lobster (now I'm going to have that B-52s song in my head all day).

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I usually buy my seafood at Meijer when I'm in GR, or try to bring it from Chicago :wink: . I thought there might be some kick-ass fishmonger that my parents hadn't heard of.

(now I'm going to have that B-52s song in my head all day).

FWIW, the Cascade D&W has the best seafood--hands-down. Of course, if you can bring some from Chicago all the better. But next time you're in GR, check out that D&W's seafood, if you have a chance.

That B-52s song brings back memories of sunny days in the '80s at Holland beach. Being fair-skinned, I always felt as if all eyes were on me when that song was on. :wacko:

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I was politely told that if the recipe wasn't on the website that "Gourmet magazine may have it but I'm not at liberty to divulge any additional information concerning that recipe."

Pathetic. Certainly not the kind of behavior one would expect from a serious restaurant.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Decision made.

Tomorrow evening's meal will be Rick Bayless' "Grill Lobster w/ Toasted Garlic, Avocado, & Chilies" with Cactus Salad & Grilled Plaintains (the latter two from Steve Raichlen's Healthly Latin Cooking). Hopefully, I can talk the SO into making her marvelous flan.

I've collected some thoughts on smoking lobster. Big thanks to everyone that provided feedback & recipes. Later, I'll provide a brief synopsis on where I plan to go with smoked lobster. I'm still going to attempt it, but, alas, not this weekend.

If anyone is interested, I can report on tomorrow's grilling.

edit: clarity

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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Tomorrow evening's meal will be Rick Bayless' "Grill Lobster w/ Toasted Garlic, Avocado, & Chilies"

Sounds great. How does Bayless recommend grilling lobster? Any tips?

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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Sounds great. How does Bayless recommend grilling lobster? Any tips?

The recipe is from Jasper White's Lobster at Home, so the technique may be more White than Bayless. Not sure.

Here's the basic technique . . .

--Take live lobsters & use cleaver or large chef's knife to halve lobsters

--Clean lobsters

--Grill lobsters--shell side down--on hot grill for about 6 to 8 minutes (cover lobsters with pie pan or similiar to help prevent drying out)

That's it, if memory serves. (I don't have the cookbook with me right now.)

edit: cleared up poor quoting on my part

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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The grilled lobster turned out great. More or less glad that I didn't try to smoke it in the Weber Smokey Mountain.

The White/Bayless recipe is definitely worth doing again. The olive oil, toasted garlic, avocado, chipotle chile, & grilled scallion sauce rocks.

For your amusement, I did have a couple of minor problems.

First, I had not killed lobsters with a knife before. Using a 10 inch chef's knive, the first lobster was halved perfectly--after a deep breath & "thank you" to the lobster. I didn't halve the second lobster too well. Missed the spinal cord on the halving & I had to make another pass to get the spinal cord. Kind of fun though as the SO kept up a hushed mantra of "It's not dead, it's not dead, it's not dead."

Second, I had a great lump charcoal fire on the grill when I finished grilling the scallions to add to the sauce. Figured 10 minutes & the lobster will be on. 10 minutes was about right--as far as the lobsters being ready. SO & I headed to the grill. I look & no fire. Stupid me didn't use enough fuel & left the bottom vents open. Very embarrassing as I turned to the SO & told her, "Ummm, no fire. I'll start another one real quick." :wacko:

But, as I noted above, it all turned out well. Set up another fire, the lobsters were done in about 3-4 minutes, & we ate well--just a bit later than planned.

Edit: forgot the chile in the sauce

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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