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What Caused Ammonia Smell in Lobster?

Ask the Chef

QUESTION:
Last night we broiled Lobster tails. They were frozen when bought, then we thawed them, setting them in an aluminum pie pan, floating in warm water. They were the type which were open with the meat exposed. We broiled them until done. When we sat down to eat, they smelled of ammonia? What caused this?

Steve
Hopkinsville, KY

P.S. we pulled some leftover baked chicken out of the fridge, what a letdown.

ANSWER:
Generally, the ammonia odor occurs when lobster was not frozen quickly enough after harvest. In the future, be sure to purchase cold water lobster tails for the best results; if frozen, use as soon as possible and never thaw in warm water. Thaw in the refrigerator or in cold water.