Maine Lobster Pounds
Maine is very well known for its lobster pounds and seafood. Tourists each summer flock to the various pounds after a great day on the beach. I have been frequenting these places all my life starting when I was just a kid, visiting the Ogunquit lobster pound on Rte. 1. This actually is not what I would refer to as a “lobster pound”, it is more of a casual restaurant whose claim to fame is of course, the lobster. It is worth the visit though.
A true lobster pound is where you go to pick your freshly caught lobster out of open tanks filled with sea water. Even though the tanks are open and the lobster claws are held closed with elastics, pound owners frown upon you sticking your hand into the tank. There is a risk of substances on your hand contaminating the tank, so to avoid upsetting the owner or worse, killing the lobsters, don’t do it unless they say it’s okay.
Most pounds give you the option of cooking the lobster for you or as I prefer, taking them live and cooking at my accommodations. Of course, lobsters are not the only seafood that can be purchased from the numerous pounds around Southern Maine. A great complement to freshly cooked lobster is a few pounds of steamed clams (steamers) and/or mussels. There is also a huge variety of other fish found in the local waters.
Whenever I have enjoyed a lobster feast with friends or family, we tended to purchase our lobsters and steamers in mid to late afternoon. This is typically when the day’s fresh catch comes in. There is a better selection at this time. It is important to keep the lobsters cold once you get them home. They will stay alive on ice in the bottom of the fridge or in a good cooler.
Lobsters vary in size and amount of meat. Typical weight varies from just over a pound to 2 pounds. There are larger ones but they are not always available and become very costly. Price per pound varies depending on weight and time of the season.
How to cook your lobster.
Lobsters in spring or late fall are usually referred to as “hard shelled” as they have yet to molt their shell. The lobsters in summer are “soft shelled” and you will be paying for salt water in the lobsters as they grow into their new shell. You definitely need shell crackers to break the “hard shell” while you can usually break the “soft shelled” with your hands. Either way, you will get lobster “stuff” all over you. Donnie’s Advice: When I cook the lobster myself, I usually throw on an old shirt because it’s inevitable that collateral damage will happen. There is a reason why restaurants give you a bib! Once you have had one you realize that it’s all worth it. My personal record is 12 lobsters at one sitting, a feat I’m not sure I could do again but it was memorable.
How to eat your lobster.
Wells Beach Lobster Pound
Looney Lob-Store, Wells, Maine
Mike's Clam Shack - Fish & Lobster Pound, Wells, Maine