There are other ways of cooking lobsters, but they actually prefer to be boiled to death. A fresh lobster has to be alive up to cooking time, and should be purchased that day. You need a large pot big enough for a basketball and more than a foot high in order to cook 3 or 4 lobsters at one time (1.5 lbs. to 2 lbs. each.)
Fill the pot a little more than half full with seawater, or add one fistfull of salt to regular water. Salt water requires a higher temperature before boiling, so you need a lot of heat, like a propane burner or other source of flames licking around the bottom of the pot. (A cover helps) It may take two beers before you have achieved a violent, rolling boil - ready!
Use big tongs or a work glove to gently slide the lobsters in with claws down, in order to avoid getting scalded by a splash. They all need to go in pretty quickly for even cooking. If the boil continues briskly, you will need a few minutes less than if the boil dies down completely when you have added all the lobsters.
It should return to boil in two minutes with a cover, and the shells should turn bright red in a couple of minutes.
Poke the lobsters down with the tongs and roll them around for even cooking. The bottom of the pot is hot enough to put burn marks on the shell if one sits touching the bottom. The lobsters also float-up and need rotation to make sure one part isn’t out of the water for the whole time.
Cooking time for three or four lobsters may be about 12 minutes in a frothing, rolling boil, or 20 minutes if the heat and boil are gentler.
A few minutes after the shells are red, some white strings start to boil out of the shells. After a couple of more minutes of watching the white stuff boiling in the water, the lobsters are done, and that should be exactly 12 to 20 minutes after the official start.
Pull them out on the early side of this time frame and they will not get rubbery. They are legally done if the tail meat is white instead of translucent.
Serve hot with individual cups of melted butter for dipping. Obviously, you have to gently crack the claws with pliers or a nutcracker. Pull off the tail section and squeze it until it cracks before splitting off the shell. The tops of all the legs have some good meat too. All the white meat is good, any red egg strips are good, and even green butter is good for some. Just don’t eat the shell or the strange organs in the head and torso section.
Once in a while, in the Northeast, you can get a seven pound lobster. Then you need an old washtub as the pot (one time use,) a big, open fire with hardwood or bigger propane burners, and a canoe paddle as well as tongs. Also, definitely leave the rubbers on the claws through cooking. Otherwise the cooking process is the same.
You need a cold-hearted helper to push down with the paddle in the beginning. Then, it’s back to the basics for about two beers or a time span of 20 to 30 minutes. Serves two for a week. (Or about four in a banquet atmosphere.)