Trade the formal white tablecloth for no-frills newspaper, add sand and surf, and you've got the perfect conditions for a Cape Cod-style lobster boil.
This rustic, family-style meal is just right for the laid-back host. Low-prep ingredients, one pot cooking, and simple setup and cleanup add to the appeal of this classic, crowd- pleasing theme. We set our picnic table on a scenic stretch of beach just as Maine lobstermen have done for ages. But a lobster boil translates just as well to the deck, yard or patio. We'll show you how to style the table, layer the pot and take part in the longtime tradition of a feast that celebrates the king of seafood.
Simple décor and fresh ingredients are the essence of a lobster boil. If your party is at home, the setup and cooking will be a breeze. Those lucky enough to have a nearby beach at their disposal will have considerably more to transport, including an outdoor stove, prep table, serving platters, a saucepan for warming butter, a large lidded pot, and a cooler of beer. Stake out a picnic table and chairs, or bring a low table and cushions for casual dining on the sand.
The basic ingredients list is refreshingly short: lobsters, red or gold potatoes, corn on the cob, clams, herbs, and seaweed (click our Recipes section for a complete overview and instructions), plus drawn butter and lemon wedges for dipping. Keep these items at the ready on the prep table, because once cooking starts, it goes quickly.
Boiling is a fast, easy method for cooking lobsters and yields a flavorful broth, especially with herbs and white wine. Buy live lobsters for the freshest flavor and most succulent texture. In choosing clams, both hard-shell quahogs and soft-shell steamer varieties can be used.
Choose natural materials like rough-hewn wood and galvanized metal that are weathered by the elements to accessorize your table. Indestructible melamine dishes are a practical, chic choice for al fresco dining. Tape sheets of newspaper together to form a disposable tablecloth. Placemats made of cardboard cutouts punctuated with graphic borders drawn with paint pens, crackers housed in vintage tin cans, and twine in lieu of napkin rings, complete the stylishly laid-back aesthetic. For an evening get together, have tiki torches outfitted with citronella candles on hand. As a coolly offbeat centerpiece, use galvanized buckets to hold vintage jugs filled with wine, beer, and lemonade and download our free tag templates to label each bottle.
A well-edited table is simple but not sparse. Here are some necessities that represent the hearty character of a lobster boil.
Our elegantly fuss-free Rope Dinnerware Collection, made of unbreakable melamine, is a stylish alternative to paper plates. A Boat Appetizer Dish is the perfect vessel for butter, lemon wedges, cracking tools and picks. The outdoor flatware in our Caterer's Set has 36 pieces of sleek, white-handled cutlery that's sure to come in handy for many parties to come.
Hefty mugs in the form of old fashioned mason jars are just right for housing beer, water, or lemonade. For serving wine, use stemless, shatter-proof polycarbonate tumblers to avoid worrying about breakage.
Our wood Folding Picnic Table turns any space into a comfortable, open-air dining spot. Galvanized metal is a favorite choice for outdoor entertaining: it's lightweight, hardwearing and appealingly rustic. Keep beer and beverages icy cold in our generously sized Rivet Party Bucket. The tabletop version, the Rivet Double Caddy, provides easy access to bottles, napkins or condiments.