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Grilled Lobster Tail Halves With Chipotle Butter

grilled lobster tail halves plated with view of the seared lobster flesh that makes this method tasty

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If you Google how to grill lobster tails or grilled lobster tail recipes, you’ll find countless really good recipes. What you won’t find much of, however, are recipes for grilled lobster tail halves. Most recipes use a technique that calls for splitting the shell of the tail down the center, pulling the meat out of the shell, and then laying it back on top of the shell to cook.

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I’ve done this myself many times, and it is certainly an impressive way to present your food. The problem is that it’s somewhat labor-intensive. Watch out for the sharp shells when you’re pulling the meat out after you’ve cut the shell open with some kitchen shears.

Worse than the labor part, though, this method doesn’t allow the lobster meat to cook in the sauce of your choice. For example, lemon butter sort of just drips off the meat as it sits on the grill. So, there’s a trade-off of sorts. The presentation of traditional cooked lobster tail is amazing, but I personally prefer grilled lobster tail halves. What grilled lobster tail halves lose in appearance is more than made up in the better flavor.

Grilled lobster tail halves plated with view of the seared lobster flesh and chipotle butter

How Does Grilling Improve the Flavor of Grilled Lobster Tail Halves?

Pretty simple really, and it starts with the sear and the Maillard reaction. By grilling the tail halves, you start with the flesh side down so the lobster meat itself gets a really nice sear. Second, and equally important, is that the lobster shells themselves act as a cooking vessel and hold the sauce. The lobster tail meat is poached in the sauce after it’s been seared and taken on some great flavor from the grill. In today’s recipe we’re using my chipotle butter, but you can absolutely use roasted garlic and dill butter, or herb butter, or even just some lemon juice and garlic.

Grilled lobster tail halves with closeup of the seared lobster flesh that makes this method tasty

How to Cut a Lobster Tail in Half

Here’s the great news, you don’t even have to. Omaha Steaks does that for you, making this a no-brainer. Now, if you already have some whole lobster tails, cutting them in half isn’t difficult. Just get a sharp and sturdy knife and place the tip of the blade at the end of the tail. Then firmly rock the knife down towards the lobster’s body, applying pressure with the palm of your free hand to the spine of the knife blade.

How Long Does It Take To Grill Lobster?

Unlike a smoked chuck roast, or even a great steak, lobster grills very quickly. Expect these to spend less than 10 minutes on the grill. We’ll get more into this below, but in short, you’re going to start meat side down over high heat, then move them over medium-high heat for the poaching. It really doesn’t get any easier than this.

What Temperature Should Lobster Be Cooked To?

This is a good question. Per the USDA, lobster should be cooked to 145 degrees internal. Having put that out there as a disclaimer, I’ll tell you I never take lobster over 130 degrees internal. Other bloggers will say they only cook lobster tail meat to 120 degrees. So, if you like to color between the lines, always follow USDA recommendations. I’ve never been very good at coloring. Whatever you choose, just be sure you have a reliable instant read thermometer, so you have the right information.

Grilled Lobster Tail Halves

Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

8 lobster tail halves
½ stick chipotle butter
3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

How to Grill Lobster Tail Halves

Step 1: Light grill and set up for two-zone cooking. Arrange coals so you have a high-heat area where the coals peak, and a more medium heat area where the coals are not as close to the grill grate. If you’re using a gas grill, turn one burner on max and the one next to it on medium.

Step 2: Place chipotle butter in a small saucepan and place it on the inside of the grill but not directly over a heat source. You don’t want to burn the butter, just melt it and get it nice and warm.

Step 3: While grill is preheating, rinse lobster tails with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

TIP: It’s important to get the tail as dry as possible or the meat will steam when placed on the hot grill as opposed to sear.

Lobster tail halves rinsed and patted dry for grilling

Step 4: Spray a thin coat of olive oil on the meat side of the tail halves. I use this oil spray bottle, but if you don’t have one you can use a basting brush as well.

Step 5: Place tails meat side down over direct high heat. Grill for 5 minutes.

Lobster tail halves grilling meat side facing direct high heat

Step 6: Turn tails over and place over the medium-high heat zone, baste liberally with melted chipotle butter, then sprinkle cilantro. Let meat poach in the butter sauce for 3–5 minutes or until internal temperature is to your preference as indicated with a reliable instant read thermometer.

Grilling lobster tail halves with shell side facing heat to poach in chipotle butter sauce

Step 7: Plate and serve while warm.

Grilled lobster tail halves plated with view of the seared lobster flesh that makes this method tasty and the shells that hold the sauce while grilling

Grilled Lobster Halves With Chipotle Butter

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Grilled lobster tail halves ready to serve

Grilled Lobster Tail Halves With Chipotle Butter

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Tex Mex
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Light grill and set up for two-zone cooking. Arrange coals so you have a high-heat area where the coals peak, and a more medium heat area where the coals are not as close to the grill grate. If you’re using a gas grill, turn one burner on max and the one next to it on medium.
  • Place chipotle butter in a small saucepan and place it on the inside of the grill but not directly over a heat source. You don’t want to burn the butter, just melt it and get it nice and warm.
  • While grill is preheating, rinse lobster tails with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Spray a thin coat of olive oil on the meat side of the tail halves. I use this oil spray bottle, but if you don’t have one you can use a basting brush as well.
  • Place tails meat side down over direct high heat. Grill for 5 minutes.
  • Turn tails over and place over the medium-high heat zone, baste liberally with melted chipotle butter, then sprinkle cilantro. Let meat poach in the butter sauce for 3–5 minutes or until internal temperature is to your preference as indicated with a reliable instant read thermometer.
  • Plate and serve while warm.

Notes

Omaha Steaks cuts the lobster tails in half for you, making this a no-brainer. Now, if you already have some whole lobster tails, cutting them in half isn’t difficult. Just get a sharp and sturdy knife and place the tip of the blade at the end of the tail. Then firmly rock the knife down towards the lobster’s body, applying pressure with the palm of your free hand to the spine of the knife blade.

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