Tips for Buying from the Best Live Lobster Delivery Outlet

Although North Atlantic lobsters are caught and served up and down the New England coast, the crustacean is often synonymous with the state of Maine, where the lobster supply chain makes a significant impact on the state's economy. Those outside the New England region might crave the succulent white meat of lobster, and for that, there are Maine lobster delivery services. To get the best product possible when ordering online or over the phone, choose delivery services that sell fresh catch and ship it properly. 

  • 01 of 06

    Buy for Quality

    American Lobster On a Lobster Trap / NOAA
    An American lobster (Homarus americanus) on a wooden lobster trap. NOAA / http://www.photolib.noaa.gov

    The best time to buy lobsters for live delivery is before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, with peak season occurring between mid-September and mid-November and from April through early June. At this time, lobsters are more plentiful and meatier, have hard shells because they have not begun to molt, and there's less demand from tourists. 

    Although lobster season is often thought to be during the summer, the crustaceans caught this time have softer shells. While this is fine for eating locally, it's not ideal for shipping purposes. 

  • 02 of 06

    Consider the Price

    Chilled Lobster
    If you've never tried Lobster Cocktail, you're in for a treat at Fresh Catch, where this appetizer is an entire lobster!. © 2012 Kim Knox Beckius

    During the early, chilly months of the year, lobsters become scarce as they move farther offshore and workers have a hard time fishing in the cold, sometimes stormy weather conditions. Because of this, prices are typically higher in January, February, and March, both for delivery and for locals. However, the prices then drop in late April, May, and early June. 

  • 03 of 06

    Pick Mid-Sized Lobsters

    Cooked lobstser
    Yvonne Duivenvoorden / Getty Images

    Lobsters typically range from 1 to 5 pounds, and a 1- to 2-pound lobster is typically sufficient for one person. Keep in mind that with lobsters, bigger is not necessarily better. Lobsters that weigh 3 pounds or more can be chewy and tough. Know the lingo before you order:

    • Chix (also known as chickens): 1 to 1.24 pounds
    • Quarters: 1.25 to 1.4 pounds
    • Halves: 1.5 to 1.74 pounds
    • Dueces (also known as twos, two pounders, and selects): 2 to 2.25 pounds
    • Heavy selects: 2 to 2.5 pounds
    • Jumbos: More than 2.5 pounds

    Many New England lobster sellers package lobsters with other New England Clambake fixings — chowder, steamers, vegetables, etc. — so a petite lobster may be enough to satisfy a craving.

  • 04 of 06

    Check the Refund Policy

    Maine lobster delivery services ship live creatures. While the companies tend to have the practice down to a science, it's always possible that the lobster will not live through the trip or it will show up in a condition not appropriate for cooking. Double-check the company's customer satisfaction policy and understand what the "return" policy covers if that's the case.

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  • 05 of 06

    Accepting Live Lobsters

    Maine Lobster by Mail
    Maine Lobster Now.

    Live lobsters can't be dropped off on the front steps for you to pick up when you get home from work. Ensure that someone is home to accept and sign for the package that will be delivered via overnight courier. If you want a lobster for the next evening, make sure to order it in the morning, as orders typically cut off between 1 and 3 p.m. for next-day delivery. 

  • 06 of 06

    Store Lobsters Properly

    This photo shows a lobster dinner
    Lobster. Photo by Bill Davenport

    If possible, cook the lobsters the same day they are delivered for best results. If that's not an option, you can store them for up to two days. Wrap the lobsters in damp paper and keep them as cold as possible while surrounded by ice packs in the refrigerator. Don't freeze the lobsters or seal them in an airtight container nor should you put the creatures in tap water — they are saltwater creatures and will die in fresh water.