Need to know what to do in Maine? You'd be missing part of the Maine experience if you didn't learn how to cook a lobster on your own. While many visitors to the state do the "tourist thing" and simply order lobster cooked for them by any of the hundreds of coastal lobster pounds and Maine seafood restaurants, adventurous people who want to create the experience for themselves learn how to cook a lobster the right way. But if your tastes are anything like that of the typical Mainer, you'll need to know more than how to throw a writhing lobster into a pot of boiling water: Lobster Stew, Baked Stuffed Lobster, Lazy Lobster and Lobster Rolls are just as much a part of the Maine lobster experience.

Whole Boiled Lobster

There's only one real way to cook whole live lobsters. First, use seawater. Even if you purchased your lobster at a local grocery store, walk down to the coast with a bucket and fill it up. Seawater is the ultimate medium for cooking lobster – adding a few teaspoons or even a tablespoon of salt to tap water just won't do the trick.

If you want your lobster to be as tender as possible and avoid any unnecessary suffering to the creature, add the lobster to the pot while it is still cool, then turn the burner up. As the temperature of the water rises the lobster will be rendered unconscious before it gets hot enough to kill it. Boil the lobster according to the following:

5 minutes at rolling boil for 1 POUND

7 minutes at rolling boil for 1.25 POUNDS

9 minutes at rolling boil for 1.5 POUNDS

12 minutes at rolling boil for 2 POUNDS

14 minutes at rolling boil for 3 POUNDS

20 minutes at rolling boil for 5 POUNDS

As long as the water is boiling you don't need to add extra time for additional lobsters. If you have purchased lobsters of different sizes, be certain to leave their claw bands on so that you can tell which is which when they are done cooking. While you're allowing the lobster to boil, be sure to put a small pan of real butter on to melt.

Lobster Stew

Making lobster stew is pretty simple if you do it the true Maine way. While some people think that you add potatoes and carrots and a ton of other chunky ingredients to make it a traditional "stew," lobster stew has nothing more in it than lobster meat. That's it. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper, then simmer and you've made the real Maine deal; all in just a few minutes.

Lobster Rolls

If you've ever traveled up Route 1 in Maine you've unquestionably witnessed the overabundance of shacks, shops and restaurants vying for your lobster roll budget. But at $15 or more for one measly little roll (and possibly some cole slaw), why not just make them yourself? All it takes is some cold lobster meat, hot dog rolls and some condiments. Make them one of two ways:

1.) Traditional – Lobster meat tossed lightly in mayonnaise and served on a toasted hot dog bun.

2.) Maineah – Lobster meat warmed slightly, then served in a toasted hot dog bun with a side of drawn butter.

Lazy Lobster

There's really nothing lazy about lazy lobster. It must be cooked, then picked out of the shell, then chilled, then sautéed briefly. But if you buy chilled lobster meat, you can simply sauté the meat real quick in some butter and enjoy. That's the great part about all of these Maine lobster dishes – they're easy and fast. This next one isn't so easy or fast, however.

Baked Stuff Lobster

Baked stuffed lobster is the Cadillac of Maine lobster dinners. But unlike many fancy restaurants, Mainers don't cut off the claws or legs. The lobster is served whole instead – the live lobster is blanched, then a stuffing prepared from bread crumbs, (Ritz crackers work quite well) butter and crabmeat is stuffed into the underside of the belly. The tail and legs along with the natural contours of the lobster's shell will hold the stuffing in place. A properly blanched 2 pound lobster will then need to be broiled for a minimum of 30 minutes.

If you're looking for what to do in Maine, consider learning how to cook a lobster as part of your vacation. Don't have the time or just want to kick back and relax? Stop by Nana's Kitchen on the way to Bar Harbor and ask her to prepare your lobster any way you like, or ask about any of her specialty coastal Maine seafood dishes.

Heading to Bucksport, Bar Harbor and Acadia National park this summer? Check out the best Maine seafood right here on Verona Island.

Click here for seafood dinners and lunches without all the tourist hustle and bustle.

Author's Bio: 

A writer for most of his career, Casey has been published in numerous journals and magazines and has four books in print. Widely considered an expert on addiciton and alcoholism, Casey is also a passionate writer of fiction.