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Leave the Bands on Lobster Claws

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2016

We cooked lobsters with and without rubber bands in separate pots of boiling water and then tasted both the lobster meat and the cooking water.

For safety reasons, we’ve always left the rubber bands on lobster claws in place when adding lobsters to a pot of boiling water. But after a recent test kitchen photo of rubber-banded lobsters going into a pot appeared on our website, we received a number of emails and letters from readers stating that the rubber bands would affect the flavor of the cooked lobster. To find out if this is true, we decided to run a test.

We cooked lobsters with and without rubber bands in separate pots of boiling water and then tasted both the lobster meat and the cooking water. While a few tasters claimed they noticed a subtle difference in the cooking water taken from the pot in which we cooked the banded lobsters, no one could detect any flavor differences between the lobster meat samples. Our takeaway? We’ll keep our fingers safe and continue to leave the rubber bands in place on the claws until after the lobsters are cooked.