How to Do a Lobster Bake the Traditional Maine Way

A Guide to Do-It-Yourself Lobster Bakes or Hiring a Maine Lobster Bake Caterer

Traditional Lobster Bake Maine
••• Are you the DIY type? Follow these instructions for how to prepare your own backyard lobster bake. Not so much? Hire a Maine lobster bake caterer. Media photo courtesy of the Maine Office of Tourism

If Maine lobsters and clams steamed in a pile of rocks and seaweed, dipped in melted butter, and served with hot corn on the cob sounds good to you, get yourself to a Maine lobster bake. There are a number of ways to experience this traditional Maine summer meal, from hiring a caterer to doing it yourself.

Do-It-Yourself Lobster Bakes: Here's How

To do your own lobster bake (or more accurately, a "lobster steam"), you'll need a large galvanized washtub, some rocks, salt water and seaweed.

Place the washtub on the rocks about a foot off the ground and build a fire underneath. Place two inches of salt water in the tub and bring it to a rapid boil. Add the lobsters (bought fresh the day of the bake), and cover with two inches of seaweed. Add the clams and mussels and cover with another thin layer of seaweed. Place the corn on the cob on top, leaving some of the husk on the ears. Cover with seaweed. By this time, you should have a roaring fire going. Place butter in a coffee can, set it next to the fire, and allow it to melt.

Boil everything for approximately 20 minutes. Don't overcook. Lobsters are done when they turn bright red. Clams and mussels are done when they open. A lobster bake is best enjoyed on a beach (make sure you don't need a permit for the fire), but you can do it in your backyard.

Maine Lobster Bake Caterers

If you want somebody else to do the work, consider hiring a caterer.

Foster's Downeast Clambake in southern Maine has served their Downeast Clambakes worldwide, including a clambake for Congress served on the White House lawn and a clambake at the Pentagon. The clambakes feature a prize-winning chowder, cultivated mussels, freshly dug steamed clams, Maine lobster, fresh corn on the cob, roasted red bliss potatoes, roasted onions, hot drawn butter and Maine blueberry crumb cake.

A barbecued half chicken or vegetarian option may be substituted for the lobster, upon request, and a children's menu is available. Foster's will prepare and serve your clambake at your location or theirs.

Coastal Critters Clambakes serves basic, standard and deluxe lobster bakes at the location of your choice in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts. Standard bakes include whole Maine lobster, steamer clams, smoked Kielbasa, corn on the cob, homemade potato salad, coleslaw, fresh bread, fruit and beverages.

Yarmouth-based Finest Kind Caterers has appeared on Bobby Flay's Food Nation program on the Food Network, and the celebrity chef's rousing endorsement makes this caterer an excellent choice for traditional Down East-style lobster bakes. They'll bring everything to your location and steam Maine lobster, clams, potatoes and corn on the cob in a blanket of seaweed over a smoky wood fire.

Hire Cape-Port Caterers, and they'll cook you up a lobster feast, either at the Rhumb Line Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, or at an off-site location. The Bake Master makes sure lobster newbies know how to eat a lobster and also explains how lobsters get from the ocean floor to the plate, making this lobster bake a memorable meal experience.

Lobster bakes are also provided by: