Lobster makes the perfect summertime treat no matter how you make it. There’s nothing that quite matches the unique flavor and texture of meaty, fresh-caught lobster tail off the New England coast. And even if you live a thousand miles from the coast on all sides, there are plenty of fresh seafood solutions for lobster delivery anywhere in the United States.
Grilled seafood is a delicacy that mainlanders don’t often get to enjoy, and when they do, they rarely get the authentic experience. If you’ve never cooked a lobster tail on the barbecue before, then you haven’t seen just how easy it can be to mess up. Let’s make sure you know the perils and pitfalls to avoid so you can grill those expensive lobster tails to perfection every time.
Kill Humanely, Cook Fresh
Lobsters notoriously spoil faster than almost any other meat you’ve ever cooked. Once they die and begin to decompose, their meat quickly loses the rich flavor and tender texture that makes lobsters worth their high price. To properly and humanely kill your lobster, put it in your freezer for around five minutes. This will numb out your lobster. Alternatively, you can boil a pot of water and dunk your lobster for up to 3 minutes. Remove the lobster from the pot and immediately transfer to a freezing ice bath.
Separate the tail from the body by bending the body and the tail across the lobster’s back. This is the stage where you’re more likely to ruin your lobster tail, so proceed with caution but deliberation. Use some muscle and apply a twisting motion to help pull the tail free. You don’t want to crack and shatter the lobster, but don’t be gentle. Once you’ve separated the body, pull the fins off.
With a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears, cut the shell cleanly down the middle, but not through the meat inside the tail. Then spread the tail open, a process called butterflying your lobster tail.
Prepping Your Grill and Lobster Tails
While some people like a “well-seasoned grill,” there’s nothing quite like the fresh, unadulterated flavor of grilled lobster from a clean grill surface. Before firing up your barbecue, clean the grate thoroughly with canola oil. You may also want to consult your barbecue’s owner’s manual for advice on the best methods of cleaning the grill top. For safety purposes, wipe it down and dry completely before you turn on the grill.
Turn on the flame to about medium to medium-high. Let the grill get good and hot. While it’s warming up, grease up your lobster! A delicious garlic butter glaze adds a rich flavor, but a little olive oil with salt and pepper will do just as nicely. Lobster tail is a delicacy that is uniquely flavorful without the need for much enhancement.
Grilling Your Lobster Tails
Now all you’ve got to do is keep your eye on the grill and cook up the lobster tails. But the hardest part isn’t behind you just yet. Remember that lobster is so fragile that it will spoil if left uncooked for even a few minutes too long. A similar principle applies to cooking your lobster tails, too. If you overcook the tails by even one or two minutes, the meat will get tough and dry, losing its delicate texture and most of the rich signature flavor.
For 8oz pieces, place the tails directly over the flame and grill with the flesh side down for about six minutes. Flip the tails over and allow them to cook for another five minutes.
You should take them off of the grill with the flesh side now pointing up, having cooked directly over the flame the entire time. You can be sure that your lobster tails are fully cooked when they reach an internal temperature of at least 140°F.
Serving Your Lobster Tails
Before they cool, you should drizzle your lobster tails with some more of the garlic butter glaze we recommended. Some recipes will call for a sprinkling of shallots, chives, minced garlic, or even red pepper flakes for a little kick. This is where you have the opportunity to get creative and find the perfect flair for your grilled lobster.
Garnish with a couple of lemon wedges, and you’ve got the perfect grilled lobster tails! They’re best paired with a light-bodied white wine and commonly served with other shellfish delights like steamed mussels, crab cakes, or clam chowder. Coming off of the barbecue, you could also pair with picnic favorites like a handmade old-country coleslaw or Boston-style baked beans.
Grilling fresh lobster tails is hard to do the first time without any guidance. Follow the instructions closely, and don’t get discouraged if you bust a tail or two before you get it right. You can always purchase prepared lobster tails, but there’s nothing quite as delicious and satisfying as preparing the meal fresh with your own two hands from start to finish.
Sharing is caring! Feel free to save the image below to Pinterest.