Ordering lobster online can seem like a daunting task. Most of us know how to order a pair of shoes from a website, but buying live, fresh, or frozen seafood requires a different process. Even if you know exactly what you need, you may have questions about harvesting, shipping, and preparing. In many cases, customers aren’t sure where to start their research. That’s where we can help.
We have vetted and profiled several reputable lobster companies, all of which will overnight deliver a high-quality product to your door. But with such a large list, you might not know where to start. Below, we’ve outlined a few important things to consider before buying lobster online. Our goal is to help you choose the best product for your budget, location, and meal, and we think these educational resources will do the trick.
What Makes for the Best Place to Order Lobster Online
If you’re looking to buy lobster online, you’ll need to find a great provider. The easiest way to learn more about a company is to hunt for information, whether by phone or online, but you might not know what to look for if you’re new to buying lobster. Below, we’ve outlined a few things to ask about before deciding on a provider.
- Look for variety. Product variety often indicates legitimacy. If a company provides several products – live lobsters, claws, legs, tails, and meat – there is a greater chance they have harvested the fish themselves, meaning you can better trust a freshness guarantee.
- Ask about accreditation. Sustainability and accreditation are important for Maine lobster companies. Look for the Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested brand online or check the local Lobster Zone Council to see if your provider is legitimate.
- Look for reviews. We recommend reading through client testimonials and Yelp reviews. This should give you a good idea about what to expect once you click the “Order Now” button.
Visit our resource guide for how to buy lobster online without wasting money.
What’s Different About Maine Lobster Companies
When picturing lobster, a big, red Maine lobster is the first image that comes to mind. However, this is not the only type of lobster you can buy online. Two variations of lobster are popular in the United States: warm water and cold water.
There are a few differences between warm-water and cold-water lobsters, but the most important deal with taste and texture. Warm-water lobster, which typically come from Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America, have soft meat with a slight ammonia odor. Cold-water lobsters have firm, white meat.
If you suspect you have been shipped a warm-water lobster, there are a few tell-tale signs. This variation typically has black spots covering the shells, while cold-water lobster will almost always be more expensive. There’s a good reason for that: they just taste better.
When you order lobster online, and even when you order lobster tails and other parts, ask the provider if the lobster was caught in cold or warm water. If they don’t know, take it as a sign to buy elsewhere.
Understanding What Goes on Behind the Scenes
A company’s gears grind into motion as soon as you order lobster online. The lobster has likely been caught and sorted, but the fishermen now have the task of deciding which animals are best suited to overnight shipping. Lobster spoils rapidly once it dies, so only the feistiest specimens are selected for overnight live lobster delivery. The chosen crustaceans have rubber bands placed over their claws to protect themselves and others, and they are packed into a cooler with ice and gel packs. The trick to surviving shipping is to keep the container cool and moist, and companies know exactly how to do that.
If you want to instead order lobster tails online – or any lobster parts, for that matter – a different process takes place. Parts are often shipped frozen or cooked, so the fishermen will prepare the tails according to your order and package them carefully in an air-tight cooler, often with dry ice, cool packs, or ice. These products are then shipped overnight.
If you’re curious, learn more about the process of catching and preparing lobster for shipment.
What to Expect After You Order Lobster Online
Shipping live seafood might sound simple from the consumer’s end, but it also entails caring for a marine animal once it arrives – even if that care only lasts for a few hours. To ensure the meal is as fresh and delicious as possible, customers have a few key responsibilities, most of which involve being prepared to receive the shipment. Here’s what you should know.
- Choose an appropriate shipment time. Ideally, you should schedule your order to arrive on the day that you plan to cook the lobster. You should also be at home when the package arrives. If this isn’t possible, as a neighbor to receive the shipment, or consider leaving your garage open for the delivery person. The trick is to keep the package cool, so shade is best.
- Ready your equipment. Once the shipment arrives, you’ll need to store it until dinnertime. Refrigerate the lobsters immediately after they arrive, making sure to retain a cooler temperature of at or close to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the package has melted or lost its chill, store the lobsters in a strong paper back or the cooking pot itself alongside a wet paper towel. We recommend making sure you have a pot large enough to store the lobster and clearing a space in the refrigerator before the shipment arrives.
- Assess your order. The company won’t know if something goes wrong unless you tell them. Check on the lobsters as soon as they arrive to ensure they survived the trip. If you suspect the shipment is dead or otherwise damaged, check out our guide for assessing and reporting the situation.
If you have more questions, visit our resource guide for what to expect when you order lobster online.