Connecticut Vs Maine Lobster Rolls: What's The Difference?

There's nothing better than a regional food debate, unless it's a regional food debate that involves lobster! It's common to see New England lobster rolls on menus all over the country, but it turns out there are two distinct styles of lobster rolls, Connecticut and Maine. Non-New Englanders may not realize or understand the differences, so we're going to break it down for you.

Lobster Anywhere explains that the New England lobster roll's origins date back to the 1920s, in a little restaurant called Perry's in Milford, Connecticut. Only in Your State agrees, and legend has it that a customer in a hurry asked owner Harry Perry for a quick lobster sandwich. Perry refined the sandwich over time, and Culture Trip notes that in the 1970s, little seafood stands popped up along the Maine coastline serving up rolls made with fresh-caught Maine lobster. Now you could even design a road trip to visit all the sites on our list of the best lobster rolls in the country.

Connecticut lobster rolls

The Connecticut lobster roll, according to Cooking Light, is the simplest form of the dish: it's warm lobster and melted butter served on a hot dog or New England style roll. The New England style roll is common to both Maine and Connecticut style lobster rolls, and as King Arthur Baking tells us, it's basically an upgraded hot dog roll, with the cut right in the center of the golden tops, and pillowy-soft sides that are perfect for toasting or griddling.

If the New England style rolls are the foundation of both Maine and Connecticut lobster rolls, the lobster is the star of the show, and there's only one kind of lobster that's suitable. The American Lobster, also called the Maine lobster, hails from the cooler waters off the coast of the U.S. from North Carolina to Maine, according to Lobster Anywhere. Maine lobster is differentiated from the spiny lobster that comes from the warmer waters of the Caribbean, both by its milder, sweeter flavor and its large claws that contain lots of delicious meat. The Connecticut style lobster roll is served warm and it's made up of fresh warm lobster meat and plenty of melted butter. You may need more than one napkin.

Maine lobster rolls

The biggest point of difference between Maine and Connecticut style lobster rolls is that Maine style rolls are made with chilled lobster salad. Simply Recipes provides a classic Maine style recipe, with mayonnaise, finely diced celery, and lemon juice. A common twist on the simple Maine style is to add a little tarragon to the mayonnaise, as world-renowned lobster expert Jasper White does. His Summer Shack restaurants serve up Maine style lobster rolls with a little extra crunch from cucumber and scallions.

While you can obtain frozen Maine lobster, thaw it, and make your own lobster rolls at home, a couple of from-scratch steps can make your lobster roll even more sublime. Starting with a fresh, whole lobster is preferred, so you can get the recommended balance of tail, claw, and knuckle meat. In addition, making your own fresh mayonnaise and adding a little fresh lemon zest to your spread builds refined layers of flavor for your Maine style lobster roll.