Memorial Day marks grilling season’s opening day here in the Northeast. What’s better than dogs and burgers on the grill? You guessed it—Maine lobster!
In this quick grilling guide, we’ll show you…
- The fundamental—can’t skip these—steps of grilling lobsters
- The 4 most common lobster grilling FAQs
- Lobster grilling recipes we live by
And more! Take the plunge and discover how deliciously simple it is to grill lobster tails at home.
Grilling lobster tails is a snap. The beauty of grilling lobster tails is that they are more convenient than working with pinching and snapping crustaceans. Grilling lobster takes about the same prep time as the conventional boiling and steaming methods, but it can take the tail in a whole new direction. The grill will imbue the smoky flavors of the coals and any marinades or butters. Barbecue lobster has a nice charred, somewhat smoky flavor that is difficult to match.
To Clean Your Grill: Turn the heat up to high, close the grill and in 10 minutes turn off the grill and scrape clean.
What you Need for Grilled Lobster Tails
- Four 8-10 oz. Lobster Tails, or four 1 1/2 to 2 pound live lobsters
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Learn how to Boil, Bake, Broil & Poach Frozen Lobster Tails.
Directions Grilled Lobster Tails at Home
Time needed: 20 minutes.
If you can light a grill, you can grill lobster tails. Our simple recipe will walk you through grilling frozen lobster tails butterfly style. Be careful! You do not want to overpower the sweet, delicate flavor of the lobster meat.
- Thaw tails in the refrigerator.
Be sure your lobster tails are fully defrosted. It’s best to defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the grill.
Prior to starting the grill, pour a small amount of vegetable oil on a paper towel and lightly coat the grill rack (or lightly spray grill rack with cooking spray). Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill. As the grill heats, prepare lobster tails.
- Prep Lobster Tails
Set each lobster tail on a cutting board with the translucent membrane down, curve shell facing up. With kitchen shears or a heavy knife, cut through the curved shell and meat, leaving the membrane intact. Open the tail gently like a book so it’s hinged in the center.
- Season Lobster Tails
Use about 1 teaspoon of olive oil for each lobster tail; rub onto the cut surfaces of the lobster meat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The olive oil keeps the lobster from drying out on the grill.
- Grill Lobster Tails
Place lobster tails on the grill, meat-side up. Grill tails with grill lid closed, until the meat is opaque, about 6-8 minutes, turning once. Be careful not to overcook!
- Serve Tails
Squeeze fresh sliced lemon half over lobster and drizzle and serve with melted unsalted butter. Try pairing grilled lobster with a nice steak or fresh shrimp!
Try pairing grilled lobster with a nice steak or fresh shrimp!
Don’t have a grill? Here are directions for how to steam or boil lobster tails at home.
See our detailed instructions for how to cook a whole, live lobster on the grill.
The 5 Grilled Lobster Recipes We Live By
Here we’ve curated some of our top recipes for grilling lobsters.
Barbecue master and certified judge of Dirty Smoke, Dru Chai, offers some foolproof tips for grilling tails, plus a simple marinade to kick up the flavor. Take a look.
Rhonda Atkins, aka, the Kitchen Witch, grilled some of our gi-normous lobster tails with tequila lime butter. Her tails were split and cooked on medium heat.
Food stylist and chef, Jeff Parker, grilled our tails West Coast style with drawn butter, citrus zest, lime juice. In Rosarito Beach, Baja California, lobster is split in half. Jeff, however, prepared the tails piggyback style and unlike New England lobster, served our tails with lime wedges. Check out the recipe for Grilled Lobster Tails with Baja butter.
We’ve also worked with Maine chefs to create a stunning New England-inspired recipe that’s easier to make at home: Lobster Tails with Balsamic Dressing.
You want the meat to turn completely opaque and for the shell to transform into a bright orange-red color. This is the part where you do NOT leave the grill. No matter what.
Grilling Live Lobsters Instead of Frozen Tails?
For grilling live lobsters please review our live lobster grill guide. It contains tips on selecting the right lobsters and explains how to prep them for the grill. Although not a grill recipe per se, we include a clambake recipe you can make on your backyard grill! Are you more of a purist? Learn how to boil and steam whole, live lobsters.
Live lobster grilling recipes:
Finding the Perfect Lobster Tails for the Grill
Make a big splash this grilling season with our ready to grill lobster tails. All the work is done, just defrost, add your favorite rub or marinade and grill! Be sure to check out our Lobster Tails line up featuring 6-7 oz. cold-water tails all the way up to our huge colossal tails (16-20 oz. each)
If you love lobster tails, and you love barbeque, be sure to take a look at our one-of-a-kind BBQ lobster tails. What’s so special about these lobster tails?
- First, they are split and cleaned, so you do not need kitchen shears, or a chef’s knife to butterfly the tails.
- Second, only hard shell, cold water tails are used so you are guaranteed a tail full of meat.
- Finally, each tail is tunnel frozen, locking in the fresh taste and flavor of lobster.
In short, these special lobster tails were made for the grill. To learn more about our barbecue lobster tails and have them shipped to you click here.
The 4 Common Lobster Grilling FAQs
Grilling lobster tails can be intimidating but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. In fact, it’s quite easy when you know what you’re doing! Here are some of our frequently asked questions about grilling frozen and live lobster.
What’s the Best Way to Butterfly Lobster Tails for Grilling?
This method is great for the hotter cooking methods as it allows the tail meat to absorb the complementary smoky tastes from grilling. Butterfly lobster tails also make it easy to marinade in advance, and baste while cooking.
- With kitchen shears, cut the upper shell down the center from the big end to where it meets the tail fan, but be sure to leave the fan-tail and the bottom shell intact.
- Use your fingers to pull apart and spread the shell halves apart so you can see the tail meat in the shell.
- Lift the top part of the meat through the split in the shell while leaving the rest of the meat nestled in the partially open shell. The end result will look like its sprouting wings!
Interested in the other ways to prepare lobster? Read our article on the different ways to cook and prepare lobster.
How Long Does it Take to Grill Lobster Tails?
Depending on the size of the lobster tail, you want to grill the tail for a minute a pound. This would mean if you had 6-8 pound lobster you would grill for about 6-8 minutes. We recommend basting the lobster halfway through the cooking process to keep it nice and moist.
When the lobster tail is ready to serve, the shell will be a bright red color and the meat will be opaque. Another way to check if the lobster is completely cooked is by using a meat thermometer to see if the internal temperature is 140℉.
You always want to go on the doneness of the lobster tail rather than the time. This is a good way to not overcook your tail. For more tips see our in-depth lobster grilling guide.
What Sides Should I Serve with Lobster Tails?
Some popular sides that go well with lobster tails are actually more meat. Lobster goes well with steak, shrimp, or other seafood dishes like clambakes.
Check out how we do surf and turf in the north east.
If you’re looking for the lobster tail to be the main dish, vegetable sides like mashed potatoes or grilled asparagus make for a great side dish and recipes are easy to find. If you want to boost your presentation, lay the lobster on a bed of lemon rice. We don’t recommend grilling the rice.
Should I Grill Lobster on a Gas or Charcoal Grill?
A charcoal or wood fired grill is best as it allows the smoky flavors to be added to the tails, but a gas grill is a convenient option. The good news is that Lobster tails taste delicious on both!
Master Grilling Lobster Tails with our Ready to Grill Tails
- Only sell hard-shell lobsters for maximum meat in every tail
- Never add chemicals or preservatives — 100% natural
- Source only the juiciest lobster from the icy waters of the North Atlantic
These tails are ready to be put to the ultimate grilling test. Check them out!