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BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

September 15 2020

How to Cook Lobster Tails


    Boiling – Quickly cooks the meat in hot water, but the flavor can get diluted.
    Steaming – Rapidly yields a clean flavor for those who like to customize their toppings
    Baking – Gives a delicate texture due to gentle steaming at a consistent temperature in the oven.
    Broiling – Lightly browns the shell and meat for more depth in flavor.
    Grilling – Adds a bit of smokiness and char to the meat and shell.

You can defrost frozen lobster tails overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, place them in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. For larger tails, drain the water after 30 minutes and add new freshwater. Repeat the process until the flesh is flexible and no longer icy.

Whole tails should be rinsed and dried before cooking. When cutting open the shell you may notice a dark line running down the center of the flesh. That’s the digestive tract and it needs to be removed. Wash and dry after cleaning.

Butterflied lobster tail

The most elegant and impressive way to cut and prepare the tail is to butterfly the lobster. Cut the tail down the middle, open up the shell and pull the meat out. Just make sure to leave a small part attached at the end of the tail fin.

The meat is then layered on top of the shell. When cooked the shell appears to be reconnected with the meat gorgeously sitting on the top. This makes it much easier to season the flesh and eat it too!

Depending on the cooking method, you can season the meat before or after it’s cooked, or both! When broiled, grilled, or steamed, brush the flesh with melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, or your desired seasonings. When boiling the lobster, remove it from the shell and season or serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

Boiled lobster tail

Cook whole uncut lobster tails in boiling salted water. Boiling efficiently cooks and tenderizes the flesh, however, it can dilute some of the briny flavors. That’s why I add some salt to the water for seasoning. This is also a great way to parboil large lobster tails before broiling or grilling to kick start the cooking so that the meat cooks more evenly, and prevents over-cooking.

Add enough water to a large pot to cover the lobster tails. Bring the water to a boil, then carefully add the tails to the pot. Cook until the meat is translucent, pinkish-white, and shells are red, about 1 minute per ounce. Drain and allow to cool just enough to handle before opening the shell to remove the meat.

Steamed lobster tail

Steaming is a quick way to cook the lobster using superheated moist steam. The high heat effectively cooks and releases the meat from the shell, making it easier to remove if left inside. The meat can be kept in the shell, then shell cut open, or shell cut open and meat placed on top.

The only downside is that this method yields a bland flavor, which can then be seasoned further after cooking. It only takes about 45 to 60 seconds of cooking time per ounce. Keep a close eye on the lobster, it can overcook easily if left too long.

Baked lobster tail

Prepare lobster tails by splitting them in half with a chef’s knife, or cutting the top of the shell down the center and placing the flesh on top for a more attractive presentation. The tails are cooked in a baking dish at 425ºF (218ºC) with a small amount of water or wine.

Baking with water on the bottom of the pan in the oven gently steams the lobster, giving a tender almost poached texture. This works great for larger sized lobster tails that need more time to cook. It takes about 1 to 2 minutes per ounce to fully cook using this method.

Broiled lobster tail

Cut the tails in half or butterfly and place the meat on top of the shell. Place the baking sheet about 10-inches away from the top of the broiling element. Due to the high heat radiating from the broiler, the shell and meat lightly brown, adding in new layers of flavor.

The dry heat cooks the meat very quickly, so make sure to frequently check for doneness after every minute of cooking time. About 1 minute per ounce of lobster tail.

Grilled lobster tail

Prepare the lobster tails by either cutting them in half down the center into two pieces, cut down the center with meat left inside, or butterfly the tails to have the meat placed on top. A skewer can also be placed through the center of the halved tails to prevent the seafood from curling.

Preheat the grill then cook the lobster tails over direct medium heat between 350 to 400ºF (177 to 204ºC). Place the lobster cut side down first for 4 to 5 minutes then flip over to finish.

If butterflied, leave the flesh side up the entire time. This method provides a nice smoky charred flavor. You can also cook butterflied lobster tails on a cedar plank for extra flavor.