In many ways, buying live lobster is easier than choosing to buy lobster tail. When you purchase a live lobster, there are fewer variables – you’ll likely know exactly where the crustacean came from, how it was processed, and how much meat you can expect to get from the animal. With lobster tails, however, you’ll need to wade through a sea of different variables. From avoiding warm-water tails to understanding how the lobster was frozen, buying lobster tails online has its own hurdles to overcome. If you’re wondering where to begin, this guide is a great place to start.
Everything You Need to Know about Buying a Lobster Tail
- Warm Water vs. Cold Water – Lobster tails are often available in two varieties: cold water and warm water. Cold-water lobster is prized for its firm meat and delicate flavor. If you’re trying to buy lobster tail, this is the product with which you are most familiar. By contrast, warm-water lobster has a wholly different flavor and texture. This variety does not firm up, leaving the tail mush even after being cooked. Warm-water lobster meat may also smell slightly of ammonia. If you see lobster advertised as being sourced from warm water, look for a different provider – unless, of course, this is what you’re trying to buy.
- Know Your Price – Lobster prices will vary by weight, season, and sourcing method. If you see a rock-bottom price, you’re likely paying for a warm-water lobster, which has a different flavor and texture from the more sought-after cold-water crustaceans. The price difference between warm- and cold-water lobsters is around $5 per pound, on average. Additionally, a low price could indicate unsavory sourcing and processing methods, which you want to avoid. With lobster tails, as with all types of online seafood delivery, you get what you pay for.
- Understanding Color – While you won’t be able to assess color when you buy lobster tail online, it’s important to know which colors to watch for when purchasing and consuming the meat. If the picture provided on a company’s web page has any signs of yellowing or dull meat, or if the tail is a grayish color, you’ll want to find a different seller. These are signs that the lobster tail was processed when the lobster was not alive. If your tails arrive showing any of these discolorations, contact your company to request a refund.
- Processing Information – Frozen lobster tails require more processing than live shipped lobsters. The crustacean needs to be cut into segments and frozen in a sterile environment. However, you should avoid purchasing lobster parts that have been soaked in sodium tripoyphosphate prior to freezing. This chemical is often used to maintain the meat yield and extend shelf life of a frozen lobster. If your company’s lobster is fresh, they won’t need to implement this added step.
- Learn the Seasons – Winter is typically the best time of year to buy lobster tail. Peak lobster season typically happens in the autumn and in early spring, which means both live lobsters and tails are at their best quality and lowest prices in the winter. If you’re looking for lobster tails in the summer, be prepared to spend a bit more money to get a bit less meat.
Buy Lobster Tail Online without the Headache
Finding a reputable source is the best way to buy lobster tail without overspending. If you trust your company, you can trust that their product is going to consistently meet your expectations. If you’re not sure how to buy lobster online, remember to look for transparent companies with accessible shipping options. The best lobster companies will provide information about how the lobster is sourced and processed, answering all your questions before you even need to call the customer service line. Buying lobster tail online may be more complicated than ordering a live lobster, but we think it’s well-worth the effort.