Summer just isn’t summer without grilled lobster!
I witnessed my first grilled lobster on Cape Cod one summer when my college roommate’s father grilled whole lobsters with Ritz cracker stuffing. Wow!
The char from the grill and the sweet lobster meat, cooked briefly over a hot fire brought out the best succulent, concentrated lobster flavors. I think I’ll take grilled over boiled lobster any day.
Luckily, you don’t have to live in lobstah land or cook any live lobsters to make these grilled tails, slathered with garlic and herb butter. As soon as you try it, you’ll realize it’s a lot like grilling giant shrimp on the barbie!
The Only Way to Buy Lobster Tails is Frozen!
I was told by a reliable source in Boston that it’s even illegal to sell fresh lobster tails in Massachusetts and pretty much anywhere else.
That means you landlocked cooks are in luck! If you can’t find them at your local supermarket, you can order them online and have them shipped.
I could only find small ones (4 ounces each) at my local market, but if you order them, you can usually buy different sizes. For the 4-ounce tails, you’ll need 2 per person. A twin pack (two 4-ounce tails) which set me back $20.00; that’s $40.00 for two people, well worth the investment for a special meal, but prices vary.
For ordering online, I highly recommend buying them from a Maine operation:
Butterfly Your Lobster Tails for Grilling
My favorite way to prep the lobster tails for grilling is to butterfly them. To do this, take a pair of kitchen shears or a knife, make a lengthwise slit down the center of the hard side of the shell but go no further than the start of the fanned part of the tail.
Use a knife to cut the meat along the same path as the shell cut line, being careful not to slice all the way through the lobster.
To butterfly, gently open the shell like a book, keeping the back of the meat connected to the under-shell, and brush the flesh with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
How to Set Up the Grill for Lobster Tails
Here is the best way to set up the grill for lobster tails:
- Heat a gas grill (direct heat) to 350° to 400°F.
- For a charcoal grill, let the coals burn for about 10 minutes, and keep a cooler zone of indirect heat if the fire becomes too hot.
Here is a guide on how to choose the best grill whether you’re in the market for a charcoal or gas grill.
How Long Do You Cook Lobster Tails on the Grill?
- For small (4-ounce) tails, grill for a total of about 8 minutes, turning 5 minutes after grilling the first side.
- For larger tails add a few more minutes. You’ll know when the lobster is done when the meat is opaque and firm, and a thermometer inserted into the center of a tail registers 135°F to 140°F.
What to Serve with Grilled Lobster Tails
Classic pairings with lobster are corn on the cob, coleslaw, and potato chips, but any of your favorite summer salads like potato salad, green salad or pasta salad would also be good. If you’re in the mood, make some cornbread, too, and don’t forget to add extra lemon wedges to the platter.
More Amazing Lobster Recipes
- Classic New England Lobster Rolls
- Broiled Lobster Tail with Brown Butter Sauce
- Lobster and Grilled Corn Panzanella
- How to Boil and Eat Lobster
- New England Cioppino
Thaw the lobster tails:
Place the frozen tails in the refrigerator overnight. To thaw on the same day, place the tails in a sealed plastic bag and submerge in cold water until completely thawed, 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the grill:
Preheat a gas grill (direct heat) to 350°F to 400°F. For a charcoal grill, let the coals burn for about 10 minutes, and keep a cooler zone of indirect heat if the fire becomes too hot and it looks like the tails might burn.
Make the herb butter:
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine, chives, and parsley.
Remove from the heat and set aside 1/4 cup of the herb butter to drizzle over the cooked lobsters once you are ready to serve.
Butterfly the lobster tails:
With kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut a slit down the center of the hard shell to the tail (don’t cut all the way through.) Use a knife to cut the meat along the same path as the shell cut line, being careful not to slice all the way through the lobster. Gently open the shell like a book, keeping the back of the meat connected to the under-shell.
Grill the lobster tails:
Coat the flesh side of the tails with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. With tongs, set the tails on the grill with the flesh side down, close the lid, and grill for approximately 5 minutes.
Open the lid and using a pair of tongs flip the tails over. Use a pastry brush to baste the lobster meat with the herb butter from the saucepan, close the lid, and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the tail registers 135°F to 140°F.
Serve lobster tails:
Transfer the lobster tails to a serving platter or individual plates, and drizzle with the reserved 1/4 cup garlic herb butter. Serve with lemon wedges.
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