Are you looking to host a fun (small) backyard get together to celebrate the end of summer?
Danni and I had a blast recently creating a “Great Canadian Lobster Boil” – the easiest, and most fun party of the year so far! And you know – Labour Day is right around the corner – a perfect time to try your hand at cooking lobster!
Let me start off by saying that we live in Alberta – a land locked province snuggled in the western side of Canada. We are FAR (like going to Europe far) from the Atlantic coast, where lobster boils are more of an every weekend event. So creating, “the great Canadian Lobster Boil,” was going to be a pretty special and different evening and it wasn’t going to come naturally to us, like it might for our friends in Atlantic Canada.
I’m pretty sure COVID has had something to do with this, but I’ve had a real hankering for doing some fun and different things with my weekends this summer. Probably because we are actually HOME and the weather has been spectacular as of late.
So – the idea for a Great Canadian Lobster boil was hatched and this past weekend, paired with beautiful evening summer temps – we made it happen!
Not being surrounded by the sea, I was a little uncertain of how to make this work – but was pleasantly surprised with just how easy it was.Jump to Recipe
Step One – Create the menu
- LOBSTER: Well – we know it all starts with the lobster. And sure, you can go for lobster tails – bought frozen at your fav. place to buy seafood. BUT – if you are going to do this authentically, you need to buy live lobsters. I pre-ordered our lobsters two days prior to the dinner and the seafood shop in our area brought them in fresh – just for us! If you live in the Calgary area, we used North Sea Fish Market
- POTATOES: August brings with it the most amazing produce from local gardens. I found some amazing nugget potatoes straight from the garden stand.
- CORN ON THE COB: Again, August brings the best of goodies from the garden. In our neck of the woods Taber, Alberta provides us with the most amazingly sweet, perfect corn on the cob – but if you miss it, it is gone for another season. Just another reason corn is a perfect addition to our Great Canadian Lobster Boil!
- BUTTER, BUTTER and more BUTTER – we chose to dip our lobster, corn, and potatoes in garlic butter 🙂
- SIMPLE GREEN SALAD: We decided that with the richness of lobster combined with buttery potatoes and corn on the cob all we needed to add was a fresh, simple green salad. Paired with a light vinaigrette dressing, this is a simple and perfect addition to the lobster boil.
- CORN BREAD MUFFINS: Danni created one of her fav go-to gluten free corn bread muffins. These can be made in advance during the week and frozen, or the night before – so NO STRESS! To make these gluten free – simply replace the flour with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour.
- DESSERT: Well – you HAVE to have dessert, right? We decided on something fresh and light, albeit a little sweet. A superb make ahead Frozen Key Lime Pie fit the bill and we were all set.
- WINE – omg – I almost forgot WINE!! Buy a beautiful oaky chardonnay, or even go big with a lovely champagne. Both are perfect with lobster on a hot summer night.
Step Two – Set the Stage (Decor!!)
If I would have been more on the ball – and thinking ahead, I would have kept my eyes open for cool “fish” decor. You know – lobster plates and napkins, perhaps a wooden lighthouse vase for the centre of the table – maybe even some cool nets or ropes to add to the ambience. But heck, I’m human – and realistically – what am I going to do with that stuff once it is all covered in lobster juices?!!
So – in order to create a simple version of the “Great Canadian Lobster Boil” I decided to set up my wooden table smack in the middle of our deck, with a few lanterns to light our evening. We covered much of the table in newspaper and (thanks to the Dollar Store) pulled apart some lobster bibs to run down the centre of the table. Make sure you have some colourful “butter dishes” on hand and a place to discard shells.
In my opinion, sunflowers are a MUST for a late August party, so vases of sunflowers, both inside and out made our space a little more festive.
This party requires NO serving dishes, but what you do need are a few “lobster specialty items.” Nothing costs very much, but having them on hand really makes things easier. First, you need some lobster shell crackers. Second, a few lobster knives / picks – which allow you to seek out lobster meat in the tiniest of places, and third – you MUST have lobster bibs!!
Oh – and of course no lobster boil happens without a massive pot!! I received my pot as a gift from my mom – and it is much loved. You can find a similar one HERE.
Step Three – Get Boiling
I often read recipes and think to myself – wow – this is super easy – only to find out that it, in fact, is NOT super easy – and is crazy time consuming.
Well – you can rest assured that the lobster boil is about the easiest dinner party you will ever host.
First, if you make the salad, the corn bread and the dessert ahead – literally all you do is boil water in one pot and cook. Ummm – I’m going to be recommending this to my kids when they move out – cause you just can’t screw this up!
Second, there is literally only one pot to wash. No serving dishes, no fuss, no muss. Throw the plates in the dishwasher and you are literally all done with clean up.
So – since you have your big pot ready, here is your “how to” for the boil!
THE GREAT CANADIAN LOBSTER BOIL
- 1 Onion – quartered
- 2 heads garlic – not even peeled – just cut down the middle
- 1/2 cup kosher salt – make it salty like the sea
- 1 bag new potatoes
- 4 corn on the cob, cut into thirds
- 4 live lobsters (1 1/2 lb each approx.)
- BUTTER for dipping!!
- Put onion, garlic, salt and potatoes in your big pot. Fill the pot 2/3 full with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Allow potatoes to boil until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add lobsters (head first) into pot. Cover and cook until the shells are bright red – this should take about 6-7 minutes. Add corn and cook for 3 more minutes. Drain and serve.Melt butter and place in individual bowls for dipping. Lobster, potatoes and corn all need butter 🙂
Step Four – Pour it all out!
Once your lobster has boiled, drain the water out of the pot. Because you need to use such a large pot, you need muscles for this job.
Now for the fun part.
Get everyone seated at the table, strap on your bibs. pour the wine… and then DUMP!!
Yup – just dump the lobster, corn and potatoes all out on the table (leaving the garlic and onions in the pot) and making sure there are equal amounts of corn / potatoes in reach of each guest.
Now you see why the extra plastic bibs were so useful (!)
I can’t tell you how easy and stress free this evening was. Of course, it always helps to have great friends and good wine on hand. But, honestly, creating a Great Canadian Lobster Boil was a piece of cake.
Now – cracking the lobster and pulling out the meat – there was some screaming and shooting of lobster juices (Danni) and some “close calls” with projectile shells firing the table (Christine) but it was all in good fun and a part of the evening. Go on, give it a try!!
This summer has felt very different. We’ve had to navigate some pretty unique times and adjust. PIVOT, I think they say. But in the end, we still have our friends and family, a beautiful country, and special traditions to celebrate. Why not give this Atlantic Canada tradition a try before the end of summer? AND – don’t forget to let us know how it goes!! AND if you want to try another Canadian specialty dinner, why not try our Great Canadian Poutine Bar !
Mojo and Moxie 🙂