Craving that mouthwatering charred lobster taste straight from the grill? Grilling lobster may seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you think with the right techniques. This guide will walk you through each step, from selecting and prepping the lobster to firing up the BBQ and grilling it to perfection.
You’ll learn pro tips for seasoning, basting, doneness, and serving this impressive seafood dish. Follow these simple steps for deliciously grilled lobster worthy of any summer feast!
Picking the Freshest Lobsters
Success starts with selecting high-quality lobsters. Look for live lobsters that are active and energetic in the tank. Avoid any with tails that hang limply. When buying lobster tails, make sure the flesh looks translucent, not cloudy or yellowish. Frozen tails are fine too if thawed properly. The key is the freshest lobster you can find for optimal flavor and texture after grilling.
Preparing the Lobster for the Grill
Once home, keep live lobsters chilled in a pot with about 2 inches of salted seawater. To prep, twist off the claws and tail then split the body to remove guts. Save the body shells for stock if desired. Cut lobster tails lengthwise through the soft underbelly. Remove the vein then rinse. For claws, crack shells with a mallet. Remove meat in chunks, keeping it as intact as possible. Rinse lobster pieces and pat dry. Cut lobster tail meat into medallions if desired.
Setting Up Your Grill for Lobster Success
The right grill setup ensures your lobster cooks evenly and flavors properly:
- Preheat to medium high heat (350°F – 450°F) so lobster sears nicely.
- Clean grates with a brush to remove residue that could impart off-flavors.
- Oil grates using a brush or paper towel to prevent sticking.
Seasoning Lobster Tails and Claws
Adding seasoning builds flavor. Try these easy options:
- Brush with melted butter, olive oil, or garlic butter to keep moist.
- Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, lemon juice or your favorite spices.
- For more flavor, marinate 10-30 minutes before grilling.
Grilling Lobster Properly
Follow these tips for perfect grilled lobster:
- Place lobster pieces flesh-side down on hot grill to sear.
- Grill tails 6-8 minutes, turning once. Grill claws 8-10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Move to indirect heat if flareups occur.
- Brush with garlic-lemon butter halfway through cooking for extra flavor.
- Insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of tail. It should reach 145°F when done.
- Avoid overcooking or lobster will be tough.
Achieving Ultimate Flavor with Basting
Consider flavorful basting options to take your grilled lobster to the next level:
- Lemon garlic butter – Combine melted butter, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley.
- Brown butter – Melt butter in pan and cook until lightly browned and nutty.
- Herb butter – Melt butter and mix in your favorite fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, etc.
- Compound butter – Make flavored butter combining herbs, citrus, garlic, spices, etc.
- Barbecue sauce – Sweet and tangy sauce adds delicious messiness.
Mastering the Perfect Accompaniments
The right sides make the meal. Consider these tasty pairings:
Grilled corn, zucchini, or asparagus
Pasta salad, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese
Bright, Fresh Sides
Garden salad, slaw, gazpacho
Garlic bread, biscuits, cornbread
Putting It All Together for an Epic Feast
Follow these final tips for an unforgettable grilled lobster experience:
- Set up a festive tablescape – get out the nice dishes, candles, etc.
- Consider an al fresco dining setup in the backyard or on your deck/patio.
- Serve grilled lobster immediately while hot. Provide lemon wedges, drawn butter, and extra napkins.
- Don’t forget the cracked lobster claws for picking! Provide small dipping bowls for butter.
- Enjoy this special meal with your favorite people and a refreshing beverage like white wine or lemonade.
Grilling Lobster FAQs
Got questions about grilling lobster? Here are some common queries answered:
What is the best way to thaw frozen lobster tails?
Thaw frozen tails overnight in the refrigerator. This prevents bacteria growth.
Can I grill live lobster instead of just the tails?
Yes! Split live lobsters in half lengthwise after removing the guts. Grill 4-5 minutes per side.
How can I tell when the lobster is done grilling?
Check for opaque, pearly colored flesh. Meat should be firm but still moist and juicy.
Is it safe to eat lobster that turns blackish on the grill?
Yes, it is safe. The blackish color comes from amino acids reacting to the heat. It does not indicate spoilage.
How long does grilled lobster last in the fridge?
Store leftovers in a sealed container up to 4 days. Reheat gently before serving again.
Ready for Grilled Lobster Greatness?
You’re now ready to impress with succulent, flavorful grilled lobster at your next cookout! With the right prep, seasoning techniques, and cooking methods from this guide, you can master this impressive seafood dish on your BBQ. Surprise your guests with expertly grilled lobster served with all the fixings. Get ready to soak up the compliments – and the delicious butter!
Selecting the Best Lobsters for Grilling
Selecting high-quality lobsters is key for achieving the best grilled lobster results. Keep these tips in mind when picking lobsters for the grill:
- Choose live – Active, energetic lobsters have the best texture and flavor when cooked. Avoid limp, lethargic ones.
- Check the shell – Opt for lobsters with a hard, rigid shell. Soft shells mean the lobster recently molted and the new shell is not fully formed.
- Go for hefty – Pick lobsters that feel heavy for their size, indicating fuller meat. Lighter ones tend to have less meat.
- Consider females – Many prefer female lobsters for their sweeter flavor and bigger tail meat. Females have wider tails.
- Frozen is fine too – Frozen lobster tails work well for grilling. Ensure they are thawed completely before grilling.
- Inspect the meat – Meat should look translucent with no yellowing. Cloudy meat or black spots indicate spoilage.
By starting with high-quality live or frozen lobster, you’ll end up with tender, juicy, flavorful results off the grill. With the right lobster pick, you’re on your way to grilled lobster success!
Prepping Lobster Tails and Claws for the Grill
Proper preparation ensures your lobster tails and claws cook evenly and absorb maximum flavor on the grill. Follow these prepping tips:
Prepping the Tail
- Place tail on a cutting board belly-up.
- Using kitchen shears, cut lengthwise through soft underside shell.
- Open up the shell and peel back both sides to remove meat attached.
- Remove digestive tract running through the center and rinse meat.
- Cut lobster meat into medallions or leave whole.
Prepping the Claws
- Give the claw a swift whack with a mallet to crack the shell.
- Twist and pull shell pieces to expose the meat.
- Remove meat carefully keeping chunks intact if possible.
- Rinse claw meat and pat dry with paper towels.
- Once prepped, tails and claws can be refrigerated 1-2 days before grilling.
- For added flavor, marinate meat 15-30 minutes in olive oil, herbs, spices, etc.
- Remove lobster from fridge 30 minutes before grilling.
With proper prep, the lobster is ready for its flavorful, charred fate on the grill!
Setting Up Your Grill for Lobster Success
Achieving grilled lobster greatness requires the right grill setup. Here are three key steps:
1. Preheat the Grill
- For propane grills, turn burner knobs to medium-high heat.
- For charcoal, let coals burn until covered with gray ash.
- Grill should reach 350-450°F before grilling.
2. Clean and Oil the Grates
- Use a stiff grill brush to scrub grates clean of residue.
- Apply a light coat of vegetable oil using a wad of paper towel held with tongs.
- This prevents lobster pieces from sticking to the grates.
3. Give Time for Grates to Heat Up
- After oiling grates, give them 5-10 minutes to reheat.
- Well-heated grates help sear and char the lobster properly.
- Avoid placing lobster on grates too soon or it may stick.
With a ripping hot, clean grill ready to go, you’ve set the stage for perfect sear marks and caramelization when the lobster hits the grates!
Flavoring Lobster Butter Basting
A flavorful butter baste takes grilled lobster to new heights. Whip up a compound butter blend and use it to baste while grilling. Consider these tasty combinations:
Lemon Garlic Butter
- Softened unsalted butter
- Minced garlic
- Lemon zest and juice
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
Brown Butter Sage
- Melted butter cooked until lightly browned
- Sage leaves, chopped
- Lemon juice
- Paprika and salt for seasoning
Chipotle Lime Butter
- Chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- Grated lime zest and lime juice
- Cilantro, chopped
- Ground cumin and salt
Honey Thyme Butter
- Thyme leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Grated lemon zest
With a flavor-packed butter in hand, get ready to baste your lobster to buttery, herbaceous perfection on the grill!
Grilling Lobster to Perfection
Follow these helpful tips for grilling your lobster tails and claws flawlessly:
Prep the Lobster
- Cut lobster tails in half lengthwise. Crack claws with mallet.
- Brush with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and desired spices/herbs.
Grill the Tails
- Place tails flesh-side down first. Grill approximately 6-8 minutes.
- Flip and grill another 3 minutes until opaque.
Grill the Claws
- Place cracked claws directly on grill grates.
- Grill 8-10 minutes, flipping frequently.
- Check for opaque, pearly flesh.
- Meat should be firm but still moist.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for 140-145°F doneness temp.
- Baste tails and claws with flavored butter 2-3 times while grilling.
- Apply butter generously to help keep lobster juicy.
Grilling your lobster with these simple tips results in tender, succulent meat with gorgeous grill marks and infused flavors. Enjoy your restaurant-worthy grilled lobster straight from the comfort of home!
Amazing Lobster Side Dishes and Sauces
Take your grilled lobster to extraordinary heights with these sensational sides and sauces:
Creamy Lobster Mac and Cheese
Cavatappi pasta and lobster chunks baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce flavored with mustard, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Sweet summer corn grilled until lightly charred, then slathered in a zesty chile-lime butter.
Garlicky Grilled Asparagus
Fresh asparagus spears tossed in olive oil and grilled alongside the lobster. Sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and squeeze of lemon.
Russet potatoes baked until tender, scooped out and mashed with butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon. Spooned back into the potato skins and baked again until tops are crispy.
Brown Butter Lobster Sauce
Make brown butter by cooking melted butter until it turns lightly brown and has a nutty aroma. Whisk in lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley. Serve drizzled over grilled lobster.
Lemon Garlic Aioli
Blend mayonnaise, chopped garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve as a dip for grilled lobster.
Grilled Lobster Dos and Don’ts
Help your grilled lobster turn out perfect every time by following these simple dos and don’ts:
✓ Pat lobster dry before grilling
✓ Use tongs to turn lobster – no forks!
✓ Baste frequently with flavored butter
✓ Allow 5-10 minutes for grill to reheat after cleaning
✓ Use instant-read thermometer to check doneness
✓ Allow lobster to rest 5 minutes before serving
X Overcook the lobster! Remove immediately when opaque.
X Grill on dirty grates that haven’t been cleaned
X Baste with sugary sauces that can burn quickly
X Cut into lobster to check if done – use a thermometer instead
X Grill lobster over direct high heat the entire time
X Forget to preheat grill before placing lobster on grates
Stick to these simple dos and don’ts for tender, juicy, perfectly cooked grilled lobster every time. Just follow the guidance from this guide, relax, and get ready to enjoy succulent seafood straight from your grill.
Ready, Set, Grill That Lobster!
You’re now ready to impress with your grilled lobster skills this summer! Here’s a quick summary of what you’ve learned:
- How to select high-quality lobsters for optimal results
- Proper preparation and seasoning techniques
- Setting up your grill for complete lobster success
- Grilling methods and doneness tips
- Flavorful basting butter ideas
- Perfect lobster side dishes and sauces
- Handy dos and don’ts to avoid pitfalls
With these techniques, you can achieve tender, juicy, expertly grilled lobster worthy of the fanciest seaside restaurants! Get ready to soak up the compliments – and the butter! Fire up the grill and invite your friends over for a lobster feast to remember. The only thing left to decide is whether to pair it with mac and cheese, grilled corn, or both!