The big Maine lobster glut is making lobsters cheaper than ever but that totally doesn't explain the explosion of lobster rolls. It turns out that we can thank... science!

According to the Wall Street Journal, "We have a host of reasons to thank for the proliferation of lobster rolls. Advances in technology is one; Shucks Maine Lobster has figured out how to remove raw lobster meat from the shell with mechanized help, so it can be packaged and easily shipped."

Shucks Maine owner John Hathaway told the Boston Globe that he discovered customers didn't want to shell their lobsters (aka "Lazy Man Lobster") when he opened a restaurant in Kennebunkport. So, later on, he got a small business grant and help from investors to start his company after learning about machines that user high water pressure to "process foods and give them extended shelf life." Hathaway went to check one machine out in Louisiana:

What had happened in Louisiana is that an oysterman had been experimenting with high pressure processing, a technique that uses extreme water pressure to kill off bacteria and parasites, in an effort to increase the shelf life for the oysters, when he discovered the process had an added side benefit: it shucked the oyster.

When Hathaway placed his live lobsters inside the oysterman’s machine, several things happened. The lobster came out looking exactly as it had before it went in, only it was no longer alive. But inside the lobster, the change was dramatic: the pressure had forced the meat to detach from the exoskeleton, which meant that when the shell was cracked, the meat slid out whole, undamaged, but still raw.

And that means the lobster can be shipped raw without the shell, which gives chefs more options. Maine restaurateur Steve Corry explains, "Steaming and boiling are aggressive ways to cook meat,. But when you can cook a lobster slowly, at 145 degrees, the difference is unbelievable. It’s tender instead of chewy, especially with the tough tail. You get something that you could easily slice through with a butter knife."