Lobster, for many people, is an elegant, high-end seafood reserved only for special occasions at expensive restaurants. The tail and abdomen are the most prized sections because of the abundance of meat and melt-in-the-mouth flavor. The truth is that you don’t need to go to a restaurant; anyone can cook incredible and tender lobster tails at home. The whole process may feel a little intimidating at first, but cooking lobster tails is fast, easy, and beyond tasty. Learn how to cook lobster tail using different methods, so you can nail your lobster tail every time.
Let it Thaw
If you’re new to buying lobster tails, you want to buy from a reputable buyer with plenty of well-sourced meat. Our lobster tails are wild caught in the cold southern coastal waters of South Africa. The lobster in this area is known for having beautiful and succulent meat; they are mild yet sweet.
When buying frozen lobster, it needs to completely thaw before you start cooking. This ensures the meat cooks evenly and doesn't stick to the shell. We like to thaw our lobster tails overnight using the following steps.
- Place the lobster tails in a zip-top bag
- Put it on a paper towel-lined plate
- Let the tails thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
While you will come across ways to thaw out lobster tales quickly, we wouldn’t recommend them as they could increase the risk of foodborne illness. Thawing your lobster tails overnight in the refrigerator is a tried and tested method we like to use.
Butterfly the Tail
The best way to cook lobster tail is by using the butterfly technique, also known as “saddleback.” A butterflied lobster tail looks classy and elegant and can be easier to eat. This way, you don't have to struggle to break apart the shell while eating. Butterflying a lobster tail is a technique that involves cutting the tail down the middle to open the shell and reveal the meat inside. You can use all types of cooking except for boiling when butterflying lobster.
To butterfly your lobster tails, follow these steps:
- Use kitchen shears to cut through the upper shell but leave the tail fin intact. This is easily done when the shell side is facing up.
- When done, flip the tail over. You'll see a digestive tract (dark in color) running through the upper section of the meat. Use a paper towel to remove it before rinsing and drying your exposed meat.
- Turn the tail upside down and loosen the meat from the bottom but avoid detaching it completely from the shell. Push the ribs to crack and expose the fleshy section using your thumbs.
- Flip your lobster tail again, and run your fingers between the flesh and the lower shell. Push the meat outside, so it's displayed on top of the shell.
- Now your lobster tails are all ready to cook.
Cook Using One of the Following Methods
Cooking lobster tails is usually more straightforward than most people think. There are so many methods to cook and enjoy your lobster tails – boil, broil, grill, bake and even steam them. Here are some of the ways to cook your lobster tail recipe to elevate your home chef game.
Broiling is a quick method to prepare your lobster tails. Here is how to do it:
- Preheat your oven to 500°F/260°C and place your butterflied lobster tails in a baking pan or sheet. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, paprika, and garlic.
- Brush the butter mixture over your meat and place the baking sheet or pan in the oven 8 to 10 inches below the broiler. Lobsters cook in less than 10 minutes, depending on the size. Broil your lobster tails for 6 to 8 mins.
- Remove the tails from the oven and season with salt and pepper and lemon juice, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
Baked lobster tail is a great delicacy to serve at a social gathering. Prepare your lobster tails by splitting them in half to expose the meat. The method works like broiling, except you will need to reduce the heat and increase your cooking time.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F/218°C, place your lobster tails in a baking dish, and splash a little water or wine to keep the meat juicy.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 12 to 14 minutes (1-2 minutes per ounce).
Steaming is a quick and easy way to cook your lobster tails over superheated moist steam. The heat cooks and releases the meat from its shell, making it easier to remove if it is left inside. Cooking your lobster tails this way should take about 1 minute per ounce. Keep an eye on your lobster tails when steaming, as it's easier to overcook them. Before you start, you'll need a steamer basket and a large pot with a fitting lid.
- Place your steamer basket in the pot and add about 2 inches of water, cover and bring it to a boil.
- As your water boils, place your lobster tails on the steamer basket and cook until the shells are bright red and the meat is tender and opaque.
How To Boil
Boiling is another great option for cooking lobster tails, it’s also one of the easier methods of cooking. It efficiently cooks and tenderizes the meat. To boil your lobster tails, you will need a large cooking pot or stockpot, tongs, a slotted spoon, or a strainer.
- Add water to a large cooking pot or stockpot, add salt and bring to a boil. When boiled, reduce the heat and keep it at a gentle boil. It should be weaker than a rolling boil and stronger than a simmer.
- Add your lobster tails and cook until the shells are bright red and the meat is white and tender. Each tail should take about 60 seconds per ounce to cook.
- Use a strainer, metal tongs, or a slotted spoon to remove the tails. Season well, and enjoy.
How To Grill
Are you trying to figure out how to grill lobster tails? If you love grilling, this grilled lobster recipe is for you. Butterflied lobster tails work really well on the grill. To grill your lobster tails, you'll need a grill and skewers.
- Preheat your grill pan or grill over medium heat and insert the skewers lengthwise into your lobster tails. This prevents them from curling when cooking.
- Brush olive oil all over your lobster tails and then season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place the tails on the grill, ensuring the flesh side faces up, and cook for 6 minutes per 8-ounce lobster tail or until lightly charred.
- Flip the tails over, apply butter, and grill for about 5 more minutes until the meat is cooked.
What to Serve on the Side
When you prepare seafood, you want it to be the star of the show, and it's no different with lobster tails. Whether grilled, boiled, broiled, steamed, or baked, your lobster tails fit perfectly with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon, and garnished with fresh parsley. With seafood, you always want to keep things as straightforward as possible, so the flavors of the lobster shine more. We love to keep it simple with side dishes and garnishes, but it’s your lobster so feel free to experiment with the flavors that you enjoy.
For an extra touch of luxury, try serving your lobster tails with our classic lemon garlic herb butter. You can also serve them with dishes like Crockpot Mashed Potatoes or rice if you're going for a complete meal. You could also try crispy roasted potatoes, green beans, or grilled asparagus for the main meal. For a light meal, serve with a simple tossed green salad, Panzanella salad, or a few lemon wedges. There are so many options to explore and experiment with as you find your perfect lobster tail dish.
Ideally, cooked lobster tails should be eaten on the same day, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in an airtight container. To reheat your tails, cover them with aluminum foil and heat in the oven at 325°F/163°C for 8 to 10 minutes.
We know that cooking with new ingredients, especially foods like lobster tails, can be daunting at first. The reality is that you can cook lobster tails at home in so many different ways and create a restaurant-worthy dish to enjoy with your friends and family.
If you loved these lobster tail recipes, our Surf n' Turf curated box contains a mixture of juicy and tender meats with crowd favorites like our Bacon Wrapped Grass Fed Filet Mignon, South African Lobster Tail, White Truffle Butter, and Lemon Garlic Butter.