Lobsterfest 2017

Graham Hardin, 5, drops a lobster into a boiling pot during the 21st annual Lobsterfest. Kirsten Fiscus / The Anniston Star

On Oct. 20, Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston will cook up some 1,000 live lobsters for Lobsterfest, its annual fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity.

The lobsters will be shipped fresh from Maine and picked up at the Atlanta airport before being driven to Anniston. By 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, volunteers will have set up several large cook pots in the alleyway behind church.

The water will be boiling by 10:30 a.m., ready to cook 300 lobsters before the lunch rush.

Lobster dinners (which include lobster plus coleslaw, baked potato and bread) are $24. Lobsters only (cooked or live) are $18. (Tickets must be purchased in advance.)

At day’s end, there are always several lobsters that were ordered but not picked up. That’s when church member Mike Phillips steps in. For 10 years, he’s been turning those leftover lobsters into sumptuous Wednesday night suppers for Grace church.

“A couple of guys will usually crack the lobsters that are leftover, they’ll put them in a big pot in the refrigerator and I’ll take it and go from there,” Phillips said.

“Everybody looks forward to lobster bisque; it’s just sort of a tradition. I’ve done lobster pot pie — I think that’s one of the best recipes. I think I did a lobster alfredo one time.”

Phillips has been doing this for so long he doesn’t need a recipe anymore, but he thinks he originally got his lobster bisque recipe from Paula Deen. He likes to put a generous helping of lobster meat in a bowl, ladle in the bisque, then add a splash of sherry if desired.

His lobster pot pie recipe is based on one from Epicurious.com, topped with a flaky crust.

As for lobster alfredo, just add lobster to alfredo sauce and noodles. You can do something similar for lobster mac-and-cheese.