One of the highlights for many passengers on our windjammer is our traditional Maine Lobster Bake – a feature of all our weeklong and Maine Lighthouses & Lobster trips. It’s an all-you-can-eat feast with all the fixin’s. Seven lobsters eaten by one person in one sitting is the record (please do not try this at home). After anchoring near an undisturbed island in the early afternoon, the yawl boat (our launch and tugboat) ferries us ashore and we hop across granite rocks to the beach. Everyone wanders off in different directions – exploring inland, walking the shore, swimming – some even help set up for dinner. The crew has already rowed ashore and brought everything we need to the island and we all work to put the meal together for our guests.
A fire is lit below the high tide mark, corn is husked and various goodies are put out to tide us over until the lobster is ready. Once the fire is really going, the lobster pot, a huge steel tub, is filled with 2-3 inches of salt water and set on the fire to boil. While we wait for the water to come to a boil, several armloads of seaweed are gathered, being careful to leave some seaweed at each spot so that more can grow back in its place. Once the water is boiling we layer the lobsters, corn, mussels, and clams in the pot, cover it with a “lid” of seaweed, wait for it to come to a boil again, and rotate the pot (for even cooking on the fire). We then pull some of the seaweed aside and check to see that the lobster is done – when the outer shell is bright red and the two antennae pull out easily. At this point the pot is carried away from the fire, the seaweed is arranged on a flat rock, and everything is placed on the seaweed bed, ready to eat!
Come back tomorrow for the continuing story of a Maine lobster bake – windjammer style!
Maine Lobster Bake in Your Backyard
You’ll need to either make a roaring campfire or use a propane cooker on a tripod stand. It is also possible to use an outdoor grill to set the pot on, but make sure that the heat can get high enough even when the lid of the grill is open. You’ll also need a large pot with a steamer basket and lid in which to cook your lobsters. The size will vary, but for 8 people, 12 lobsters, a 36-quart pot will do.
12, 1 1/2 pound live Maine lobsters
2 pounds clams
2 pounds mussels
8 ears of corn
8 small whole onions, peeled
2 whole heads of garlic
1/2 cup butter, melted
juice of 1/2 lemon
Bring 2-3 inches of salted water to a rolling boil in the lobster pot with the steamer basket inserted. Add the lobsters, clams, mussels, corn, onions and garlic and cover for 20-25 minutes. While the lobsters are cooking, melt the butter with the lemon and keep warm. Lobsters are done when they are red all over and the antennae pull off easily. Remove the steamer basket and arrange your feast onto several platters and serve hot with the melted butter.
Waiting for the water to boil