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How To Cook Lobster Tails


Before You Cook Lobster Tails Learn How to Bake Lobster Tails
Learn How to Boil Lobster Tails Learn How to Broil Lobster Tails
Learn How to Steam Lobster Tails Learn How to Grill Lobster Tails

Here's a fun fact: only 50% of lobster purchasers actually don't know how to cook lobster tails! Ever since Maine Lobster Now™ first opened its doors, our customers have been asking us how to perfectly boil, broil, bake, steam, or grill their lobster tails. Cooking lobster tails at home is part of the fun! We recommend that you start by searching for the perfect lobster tail within our huge inventory of regular or jumbo lobster tails and our mouth-watering lobster dinner side dishes!

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With our easy-to-use lobster tail boiling, grilling and broiling guides below, you’ll find that cooking lobster tails is a rewarding experience the whole family will want to experience again and again. Check out our lobster tail recipes section to find out better techniques on how to butterfly a lobster tail! We intentionally only stock cold-water lobster tails, if you are interested in learning the difference between cold-water and warm-water lobster tails check out our blog for more information.

If you aren't sure which method to use, we strongly recommend boiling frozen lobster tails because this is your best bet to avoid your tails sticking to the shell. Please read our following section to make sure your lobster tails are stored and thawed properly to ensure the best results.

Before You Begin Cooking Lobster Tails - What to do first

Here are some great tips so you can have the best results when cooking your tails. If you carefully follow our instructions on how to cook lobster tails, you will look and cook like a pro! Don't worry, for most people cooking lobster tails is a new experience. When your lobster tails arrive, they will be brown in color and the inside of the tail will be a gray color. This is a lobsters natural and lobster tails do not turn red until they are cooked!

Store Your Lobster Tails Properly Until You Are Ready To Use

Your lobster tails are shipped frozen in dry ice unless they are ordered with a fresh or live product. If you order was shipped with dry ice, don't worry, the gas in dry ice is as harmless as the carbon dioxide you exhale(but please don't breath it in). We would never ship your product with a dangerous material, however we do not recommend handling the dry ice without gloves. If you order was shipped with gel packs, your tails may begin to "sweat" or have water beads on the outside of the tail. Although the outer rim of the shell may be beginning to defrost, your tail meat is totally safe and can be stored properly. Once your tails are thawed, do not refreeze your lobster tails at home, the slow freezing process in a conventional freezer will actually break down the cell wall of the raw lobster meat and ruin the texture of your cooked lobster tails. Place your lobster tails in the freezer right away until 24 hours prior to use. Do not store for more than 3 months or your tails may begin to dry out.

Thaw Your Tails Thoroughly To Avoid Meat Sticking to the Shell

If you want to avoid your tails sticking to the shell, thaw your tails 24 hours prior to cooking in a refrigerator inside a leak proof container. Your tails are defrosting so they will leak fluid. If your tails are frozen and you are cooking today, that is not a problem, just keep your lobster tails in a sealed bag and soak in cold water for at least 30-60 minutes. Larger tails will take longer to thaw. If you want to butterfly a lobster tail, thawing your tails will be critical because you will have to cut the meat, and you won't be able to do so if the tails are not thawed all the way.

Common Misconceptions

It is common to have tomalley in the center of the tail. It appears black and sometimes green and sometimes will startle customers. Do not worry. This is a natural part of the lobster tail. It is actually the liver and is totally edible and is considered a delicacy. If you do not desire to eat this it can be rinsed off with water once the lobster is fully cooked.

Most lobster tail meat is white but it is also common to have a light pink tint to the meat for lobsters that are preparing to shed. Once again, this is a totally natural process and is totally edible. If you want to remove the pink tint, you can rinse most of it off with warm water after your have cooked your tail.
  Lobster Tail Storage Instructions

How to Store Lobster Tails


Learn How to Boil Lobster Tails at Home

Great! You've decided you want to boil your lobster tails. This is a great choice because if stored and thawed your lobster tails properly, this is the cooking technique we recommend to minimize your tails sticking to the shell! Boiling is always a safe bet and if you are a first timer or old timer, this is the technique you can count on. Keep in mind larger lobster tails take longer to cook. And just another reminder, its always better to under-cook your lobster tails than to over-cook them. You can always drop them back in the boiling water if they aren't done. We also recommend adding some Maine sea salt to the water before boiling so you can add more of that signature lobster flavor you love. This will actually reproduce the same consistency as ocean water!

Want to try to make exploding lobster tails like the pros? Who doesn't?! Check out our instructions on how to cook exploding lobster tails. before you begin boiling to learn more! If you want to give the butterfly technique a try, don't forget your seafood shears!

PRO TIP - Keep your tails from curling in the lobster pot so the tails will lay flat on a plate when they are done; use a metal or wooden skewer so the lobster tail stays straight while cooking!
Lobster Tail Boiling Instructions

How to Boil Lobster Tails

 

Lobster Tails Boiling Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a soft boil and add Maine sea salt.
  3. Drop tails in one at a time and set your kitchen timer for time listed below. (Same time for larger quantities).
  4. Don't forget you'll need metal tongs, gloves, or a strainer to get the hot tails out of the boiling water.
  5. Cool the cooked lobster tails right away with fresh water to keep them from over cooking.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Lobster Tails Boiling Times
Tail Quantity Tail Size Cooking Time
2-6 3oz-6oz 3-5 Minutes
2-6 6oz-7oz 5-6 Minutes
2-6 8oz-10oz 6-8 Minutes
2-6 10oz-16oz 8-10 Minutes
2-6 16oz-20oz 10 Minutes
2-6 20oz-28oz 10-13 Minutes


How to Steam Lobster Tails at Home

Steaming lobster tails is another a great option when deciding the best cooking option for you and your family. This cooking method is faster than boiling and is arguably the most traditional way. Since you are actually cooking at a higher temperature, it's even more critical not to overcook your tails.

PRO TIP - Keep your tails from curling in the lobster pot so the tails will lay flat on a plate when they are done; use a metal or wooden skewer so the lobster tail stays straight while cooking!

Lobster Tails Steaming Instructions

  1. Choose a pot large enough to hold your lobster tails with a tight-fitting lid that is large enough to fit the lobster tails with enough room for the steam to circulate around them.
  2. Place a steamer basket or an upturned colander in the pot so lobster tails are not submerged in the water.
  3. Pour in cold water to a depth of about 2 inches.
  4. Cover your pot and bring water to a boil.
  5. Once the water is boiling, quickly add the lobster tails to the pot and cover.
  6. Steam the lobster tails using the lobster tails steaming times below.
  7. Once you have reached your approximate cooking time, remove the pot from heat and check one of the tails. The tails should be completely cooked in the center of the meat.
  8. Remove you lobster tails from the cooking pot using tongs or gloves so that your tails to not overcook.
  9. Serve with drawn butter and enjoy!
  Lobster Tails Steaming Instructions

How to Steam Lobster Tails

Lobster Tails Steaming Times
Tail Quantity Tail Size Cooking Time
2-6 3oz-6oz 4-6 Minutes
2-6 6oz-7oz 6-8 Minutes
2-6 8oz-10oz 8-10 Minutes
2-6 10oz-16oz 9-11 Minutes
2-6 16oz-20oz 10-12 Minutes
2-6 20oz-28oz 10-13 Minutes

How to Bake Lobster Tails at Home

Great! You've decided to bake your lobster tails. This is fun because you can really get a mind-blowing presentation for your guests. You'll have to be careful not to overcook your lobster tails because the meat can dry out very quickly, so its critical to keep check your tails early just to be sure. We suggest putting these on the middle rack of your oven. Another great way to keep your tails moist is actually brushing butter on the meat along with parsley or other spices. Baking lobster tails is necessary for butterflying lobster tails like our lobster tails product photographs. This is a more advanced technique, but once you get it down, you will have your friends in disbelief.
Lobster Tail Baking Instructions

How to Bake Lobster Tails

 

Butterfly Lobster Tails Quick Reference Guide:

  1. Be sure your tails are completely thawed, see our lobster tails thawing instructions if you are unsure.
  2. Cut the upper shell down the center of the back with seafood shears leaving tail fan intact. You can cut into the top half of the meat so it can 'open' like the pictures once pulled up on the shell.
  3. Give the tail a good rinse and remove any vein or tomalley. Do not remove under-shell.
  4. Run finger between the meat and the shell to loosen from each other. The goal here is to separate the tail and the shell.
  5. Lift uncooked tail through the slit to rest on top of the shell. You can leave the end of the tail meat in the tail fin shell.
  6. When the leave the lobster tail meat laying on the lobster shell, as the meat cooks, the meat will 'open' and give the butterfly effect you are looking for! (If you really want to get carried away you can use a steam gun and curl the tail meat manually!)
  7. Continue to Lobster Tails Baking Instructions below.
PRO TIP: If you really want the shell on your tails to come out extra red (like our pictures) boil she shells separately and then place your tail meat back on before baking! Jumbo sizes usually have a much darker shell and sometimes don't come out as red as you'd like!

Lobster Tails Baking Instructions:

  1. If you haven't followed the Butterfly Lobster Tails Quick Reference Guide above, than make sure your tails are completely thawed. If you are unsure, check our lobster tails thawing instructions above.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Place prepared lobster tails on a baking pan. Don't forget to add a little water to the pan so your lobsters tails don't dry out!
  4. Brush each lobster tail with Kate's Butter.
  5. Bake using the baking times below or until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Do not overcook.
  6. Remove from over and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges!
  7. If you are have followed the butterfly technique above, add butter and paprika(optional) and broil for 3 minutes.
Lobster Tail Baking Times
Tail Size Baking Time
3oz-6oz 8-11 Minutes
6oz-8oz 10-12 Minutes
8oz-12oz 12-15 Minutes
12oz-20oz 15-18 Minutes
20oz-32oz 18-20 Minutes

Learn to Broil Lobster Tails at Home

Broiling instructions coming soon!

How to Grill Lobster Tails

Grilling lobster tails is a great technique for that unique char flavor. Cooking lobster tails on the grill is also a great technique because you can add the grill lines on your lobster tails for an added effect for your guests. Lobster tails are unique because if you cut them the long way (down the center) you wont even have to flip your tails, you can just cook them on one side. In the grilling directions below you can add some spices before you put your lobster tails on the grill for added flavor. Be sure your tails are completely thawed before you get started, if you aren't sure if your tails are thawed or not, please see our lobster tails thawing instructions before you start grilling. You'll also want to make sure you have your grilling utensils handy so your tails don't over-cook.
Lobster Tail Grilling Instructions

How to Grill Lobster Tails

 

Lobster Tails Grilling Instructions

  1. Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.
  2. Brush olive oil on cut sides of the lobster tails and set them bottom side down on the cooking grates.
  3. Grill until the shells are bright red and the protein in the juices that seep from the shells turns white and coagulates. (There’s no need to turn the lobster tail over.) Do not overcook.
  4. A thawed lobster tail will take about 8 minutes to grill.
  5. Remove the lobster tail from the grill and let cool for a few minutes.
  6. Serve warm with the dipping sauce of your choice
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