How to BBQ a Lobster Tail

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Butterfly lobster tails so the smokiness from the grill penetrates the meat.
Image Credit: Eugene Bochkarev/Hemera/Getty Images

Cooking lobster tails on the grill is fast and easy, and it leads to delicious, tender meat when done properly. While you can cook lobster tails whole with no preparation, butterflying and seasoning the tails increases the overall flavor. Use clarified butter or olive oil to keep the meat from drying out and season as you like with fresh or dried spices and herbs. Thaw frozen lobster tails completely before you grill them.


Butterfly the Tails

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Butterflying the tails allows the flesh to absorb seasonings and the scent of smoke from the grill. Cut along the center of the top of the shell — the curved, harder portion — lengthwise in a straight line running along the long part of the tail. Use either kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Keep the bottom part of the shell -- the translucent white portion -- intact. Separate the two halves along the cut with your hands, slightly pulling out the meat if you wish. Or leave the meat in the shell but pull open the halves more so the meat stays exposed.

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Season the Tails

Brush the exposed flesh with clarified butter or olive oil. Clarify butter by heating it until the solids separate from the butter fat, straining out the solids. Simply season the meat with salt and pepper to emphasize the sweet taste of fresh lobster meat or season heavily for a more exotic dish. Rub curry paste onto the exposed flesh or a blend of ginger, garlic and lemongrass for an Asian-inspired lobster tail. Use fresh herbs such as minced parsley and basil for a lighter, more vegetal flavor. Season the tails just before grilling or allow the herbs to sit for a minimum of 20 minutes before grilling to allow the flavors to penetrate the flesh.


Grill the Tails

Heat the grill to medium-high for a gas grill or until the coals turn to ashes for a charcoal grill. Brush both sides of the lobster with olive oil, even if you used clarified butter on the flesh. To prevent each tail from curving, insert a metal or bamboo skewer along the length of the tail to keep it straight. Place the tails flesh-side up on the grill, cooking for 8 to 10 minutes for an average-size tail. Cover the grill for faster cooking. You may brush the exposed flesh with butter or olive oil every 3 to 5 minutes during cooking for extra flavor, but this is not necessary. You also may turn the tails so the flesh faces the fire for a couple of minutes to produce charring, but this is not needed to fully cook the lobster. The tails are done when the shells turn bright red and the flesh turns white. The meat should register 135 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.


Serve the Tails

Let the tails rest for several minutes after you cook them. Remove skewers after the cooling period and serve one or two tails per person. Brush the meat with extra clarified butter after cooking or serve the butter on the side as a dipping sauce. Serve grilled lobster with simple but flavorful foods as the tails are very rich, even if you use minimal amounts of butter or oil. Grilled or steamed corn on the cob is a quick and nutritious side dish for lobster. Use homemade rolls to sop up extra sauce, butter or lobster juice. If you are using clarified butter, steamed or grilled artichokes pair well with the butter and you don't need to go to the trouble of making a second sauce for the vegetables.



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