Extra-large lobster tails require careful cooking and preparation to keep the meat tender, juicy and succulent. Most lobster tails weigh between 3 to 6 ounces, coming from whole lobsters around 1 to 1 1/2 pounds in size. However, jumbo lobsters, 3 pounds or more, produce very large tails, upwards of 1 pound each. Never cook large lobster tails from frozen, as their size makes them susceptible to overcooked edges, and adjust your cooking times accordingly.
Wet Heat Cooking Methods
Wet heat cooking methods include steaming and boiling. Because boiling uses high temperatures to quickly cook lobster, it isn't recommended for a large tail, as the edges and exterior of the tail can easily become overcooked with the center remains raw. Steaming, a gentler cooking method, can add delicate flavor to lobster meat and is a better option as it reduces the risk of overcooked portions of tail. However, it can take a long time to steam a 1-pound tail, upwards of 7 minutes per pound for a large lobster.
Dry Heat Cooking Methods
Dry heat cooking methods, such as grilling, broiling or roasting add flavor and texture to lobster meat. The high heat evaporates some of the moisture found in the meat and adds browning, increasing the natural richness of lobster. A 1-pound tail may need to be grilled or broiled for upwards of 10 minutes before it's fully cooked in the center. This can lead to charred or burnt parts. Roasting lobster is considered the ideal method of cooking large tails as the slow cooking reduces moisture and provides browning in the meat, while minimizing the chances that the edges cook too quickly while the interior stays raw.
Cooking a Large Tail
Cook a large lobster tail with a mix of steam cooking and roasting for the ideal, succulent, easy-to-shuck tail. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bring 2-inches of water to boil in a large pot. Place the tail in a steamer basket and lower into the boiling water, covering and cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the lobster and immediately transfer it to a baking tray and roast on a center rack in the oven. As a slow cooking method, a 1-pound lobster tail can take up to 20 minutes to be fully cooked. Remove from the oven, shell and eat while still warm.
Doneness and Seasonings
All lobster is fully cooked when the internal temperature reads 130 F. Only a food thermometer can guarantee doneness at the right temperature, as lobster shells can turn red before the meat is fully cooked. When done, lobster meat turns opaque and a creamy white; its juices coagulate and also turn white. You can make Hollandaise sauce or a creamy tarragon and garlic sauce to serve with lobster, but the size of the tail and the sweetness of the meat often need nothing more than clarified butter -- butter with the milk solids removed -- and a couple of wedges of lemon.
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