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How to Cook Lobster Tails

How to Cook Lobster Tails

Many people don’t realize just how easy it is to cook lobster tails at home. We’ll run through everything you need to know in order to choose the best lobster tails and cook them to perfection.

Lobster tails typically come from the spiny lobster, which is a type of lobster that does not have claws, resulting in meatier tails for cooking. Tails can be purchased either frozen or fresh, with the difference being frozen tails are cheaper, but also usually result in meat which has a more rubbery texture. Fresh are obviously more expensive, but you’ll probably end up with better meat.

Lobster tails can come from either warm or cold water. Warm water tails will be cheaper than cold water tails, but there is a significantly greater risk of one of the tails having sub-par meat. Cold water tails are almost always going to be high quality meat, with very low risk of getting a defective tail. If the meal you’re preparing is important, it’s always best to go with the slightly pricier tails in order to ensure everything turns out as planned.

There are many different ways to cook lobster tails. Here are the most common ways:

Broiling Lobster Tails

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Split the soft top shell of the tail down the middle with a sharp knife, and brush the meat with butter or olive oil. Broil the tails for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the tails. Take care not to cook the tails for too long or they’ll quickly dry out.

Steaming Lobster Tails

Heat water or white wine in a pan to boiling. Place a steaming tray inside the pan and place the tails in the steaming tray for 5 to 7 minutes. Steaming will cause the tails to curl up, so you can butterfly or run a wooden skewer up through each tail to prevent curling.

Grilling Lobster Tails

Place each tail on a preheated grill and monitor carefully for doneness. Grilling tends to rapidly dry out lobster tails, so take care when using this approach.

Boiling Lobster Tails

Fill a pot with water and add salt, a teaspoon for each quart of water. Bring to a boil and place tails in the boiling water. Tails should cook a minute for each ounce of tail, for example, a pot of 8 ounce tails would cook for 8 minutes total. Drain the water and split the soft top of the shell down the middle with a sharp knife.

Pro Tip: Cook Lobster Tails by Boiling and Broiling

One trick to cooking lobster tails is to use a combination of techniques, specifically boil and then broil. Start by boiling the tails for a couple of minutes as described above. Then drain the tails, brush with butter or olive oil, and proceed to broil for a few more minutes until done. This keeps the tails nice and moist while adding the flavor from broiling and preventing them from curling up.

Remember to serve the tails with a lemon!

Photo courtesy of Bo&Ko