Back before the lobster pot was invented, Native Americans would gather the abundant crustaceans at the shoreline and cook them by covering them in seaweed and topping that with fire-heated rocks—or what would become known as the classic New England Clambake.

But admittedly, cooking lobsters that way is a lot of work!

Today’s lobster cooking pot—the kitchen stock pot, not to be confused with the alternate word for lobster trap—comes in a variety of sizes and metals. We turn to a number of experts to conclude what makes the best lobster stockpot for the job.

Steel vs. Aluminum

The advantage of aluminum pots is that they are lightweight and conduct heat well, which boils water faster. The second point in their favor is that they are less expensive than steel pots. The disadvantages are mostly cosmetic. Aluminum tarnishes over time and the bottom and sides of the pot will blacken. Depending on whether you consider that a badge of honor, you may want to consider that steel pots may cost more, but they are durable, clean easily, stay shiny and are a bit heavier.

How Many Lobsters Can Fit Into a Pot?

Here’s a kitchen hack: If you cook lobster infrequently, and just for one or two people, a regular old 4-5 quart pot you already have in your cabinet will cook two good-sized lobsters. But, for a bigger crowd, consider the 19-20-quart pot, which can handle 5 to 6 lobsters. The key is not overcrowding the pot and covering all of the lobsters with water or else the heat won’t circulate evenly.

Steaming vs. Boiling

Some lobster connoisseurs will tell you that steaming with seawater or saltwater is the preferred method of cooking a lobster as it is a gentler technique producing more tender meat and flavor. Although not necessary, some pots have a colander insert which comes in handy for steaming or simply draining the lobster. However, steaming takes longer than boiling, so if you have a hungry crowd, boiling is better when cooking four or more lobsters at a time. For that method, wait until the water in the pot has come to a rolling boil and gently place the lobsters into the water headfirst. Note: Cooking times for soft and hard shells are different, so watch the pot carefully. Whatever method you choose, always remove the rubber bands from the claws before dropping the lobsters into the pot.

Whatever your preference, having Maine lobster should be on your bucket list. With the 73rd Annual Maine Lobster Festival set to serve more than 20,000 pounds of lobster in 2020, it is a perfect opportunity to cross that off of your list! Visit our website often for details and updates to the schedule of events.