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Lobster Roll 101: How to Make a Lobster Roll

Lobster. Mayo. Split-top bun. That’s how you make a lobster roll, right? Almost. We’ve got some key tips to lift your lobster roll experience to the next level.

Think of this guide not as a complete reinvention of the experience, but an invigoration. Oh, and we also want to talk beer pairing. Because if there’s one thing that’s better than lobster, it’s beer and lobster.

As a general rule, we’ll say something that sounds simple: lobster rolls are all about lobster. Meaning, you don’t want a lot of heavy flavors to overpower the delicate and complex flavor of the lobster meat. The goal is to augment and amplify what’s great about that tender and tasty lobster.

PUTTING THE ROLL TOGETHER

There are two widely accepted types of lobster roll: the Maine style and the Connecticut style. The Maine-style roll features lobster tossed in mayo on a buttered, toasted, and split-top hot dog bun. The lobster in the Maine-style roll is traditionally served cold. In the Connecticut-style roll, you’ll find warm lobster tossed in melted butter atop that same buttered-toasted hot dog bun. Both simple preparations. Both supremely delicious.

Concerning lobster meat, there are two ways to go about getting it. One way is to buy lobsters, cook them, and then pick the meat yourself. Certainly more time consuming, but not a bad way to go. Or you could just buy picked lobster meat. If you go this route, we recommend getting only knuckle and claw meat, and save the tail meat for grilling, or heartier preparations. If you do put tail meat in your roll, we’d recommend chopping it up into about ½-inch pieces, so that you don’t pull out half of the lobster meat in one bite. Knuckle and claw meat, on the other hand, should be left as whole as possible. There’s something appetizing about seeing a whole claw nestled into a roll.

MAINE-STYLE LOBSTER ROLL RECIPE (Makes 2 generous rolls)

  • ½ Pound Lobster Meat (knuckles and claws only, if possible)
  • 1.5 tbs Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Fresh chives
  • Celery salt
  • Split-top Hot Dog Buns
  • Butter (salted or unsalted, depending on your preference)

Directions: Acquire lobster meat, either by buying picked meat, or cooking two, ~one-pound lobsters and picking the meat yourself. In a bowl, gently toss the cooled lobster meat with mayo and lemon juice. Spread butter on both sides of two hot dog buns and toast them in a skillet or on a griddle until golden brown. While hot dogs brown, mince about a tablespoon of chives to set aside. Once buns are toasted, heap both rolls full of lobster meat. Don’t worry if it’s just barely contained. Dust the top with celery salt and chives. Serve immediately.

CONNECTICUT-STYLE LOBSTER ROLL RECIPE (Makes 2 generous rolls)

  • ½ Pound Lobster Meat (knuckles and claws only, if possible)
  • 3 tbs melted butter (salted or unsalted, depending on preference)
  • ½ lemon, quartered
  • Celery salt
  • Split-top Hot Dog Buns

Directions: Acquire lobster meat, either by buying picked meat, or cooking two, ~one-pound lobsters and picking the meat yourself. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan. With a pastry brush, apply butter to both sides of two hot dog buns. Using a skillet or griddle, toast both sides of both buns until golden brown. While buns are toasting, toss the lobster meat in the non-stick pan with the remaining melted butter over very low heat. The goal is to warm the meat while coating it with butter. Should take no more than 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook the meat. Once meat and buns are ready, fill the buns with the warm, buttery meat. Sprinkle with celery salt and serve with a lemon wedge as an accoutrement.

PAIRING LOBSTER ROLLS WITH BEER

Enhancing your lobster roll experience is as easy as pairing it with the right beer. The key here is similar to the lobster roll ingredients: you want something that won’t overpower the taste of the lobster meat. As a Maine brewery, we in fact have a beer that we love with lobster rolls: Allagash White. Subjectively, we love the way that the beer’s subtle citrus and spice notes complement the lemon and salt of the lobster roll. Objectively, plenty of people love a lobster roll with Allagash White, so we don’t think we’re steering you astray with the recommendation. Also, the beer’s carbonation does a fine job of cutting through the fat (whether that’s butter or mayonnaise) and preparing your palate for another bite of lobster.

Belgian-style witbiers aren’t the only style of beer that work nicely with lobster rolls. Saisons are an excellent match, as their spicy, tropical, and dry profile is a great counterpoint to the lobster. We’d only caution against big stouts or heavy IPAs, as those sweet, heavy hoppy or roasty flavors can easily overshadow the lobster.

We hope these tips help to transform your next lobster roll experience into the best one yet.

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