A Guide to Cooking Lobster Tails on a BBQ (Without Ruining Them)

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Another great RV Recipe

Just saying the word, lobster, evokes thoughts of luxury and decadence like few others, save champagne. Just because you’re on the road RVing doesn’t mean you can’t indulge yourself once in a while and take a break from the usual camping fare.

The essential thing to understand about cooking seafood, in general, is that overcooking ruins not only the taste but the texture, too. That’s part of the enjoyment of these foods. Our guide will help you prepare lobster tails on the BBQ to perfection. We’ll also provide some tips along the way to make your date-night-worthy dinner a hit.

Buying Lobster

There are two kinds of lobster: warm water and cold water. The terms refer to the average temperature of the oceans where they are harvested. The former includes places such as California, the Caribbean, and Asia. The latter counts Maine, Canada, and Australia among its haunts. The difference goes back to those vital qualities of taste and texture.

You’ll notice more of a briny flavor with warm water lobster. People often describe cold water lobster meat as richer and sweeter. Buying the tails only makes your prep a lot easier without the necessity of having to dispatch a live one.

The source is also essential from an environmental point-of-view. Seafood from the northwest part of the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia and the Quebec Gulf is sustainable, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Starting the BBQ

The essential thing to remember about grilling lobster tails is that you need a medium-hot grill. We’re not charbroiling steaks. Turn your gas grill to 175 degrees (350 degrees F). If you’re using charcoal, use the hand test to gauge the temperature. You should be able to keep your open palm above the grill for about 5–7 seconds. We’d also suggest having a cooler section with fewer coals.

Make sure the grill is clean to avoid off-tastes. Wipe it down with an oiled cloth to prevent sticking. Prep the lobster in the meantime.

Preparing Lobster for the BBQ

You’ll likely get your lobster tails frozen. The reason is that seafood spoils rapidly. It’s the safest and tastiest way to get them. It would be best if you thaw them before putting them on the grill. Putting them in the fridge overnight is an excellent way to get them ready. 

Otherwise, you can put them in a bowl of cold water to jump-start the process. We recommend frequent changes of the contents to keep it safe. Either way, rinse the tails before cooking. We’d also suggest poking a hole or two in them to allow the water to drain from the meat. You can leave the tails whole if they are small. You can also halve larger ones so that they cook evenly.

You can marinade the lobster tails or take them straight to the BBQ and baste them as they cook. We prefer the latter with plain or flavored butter—and lots of it! Things you can add to the fat include:

  • Lemon zest
  • Chives
  • Minced shallots
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon

The last thing you must do is remove the membrane on the bottom of the tails. Use kitchen shears to cut up both sides and peel it back to remove it. Loosen the meat from the shell gently using your fingers so that it sticks out a bit for a more attractive presentation.

Lobster tails like shrimp will turn red-orange and curl as they cook. It’s a handy way to know when they’re ready for the table. To keep them straight, stick a metal skewer through them. It’ll make it easier to turn, too.

Ready, Set, Grill!

You should slather some melted butter and season the lobster tails before you put them on the BBQ. You can add any spices you like to the butter or sprinkle them directly on the meat. Then, it’s showtime!

Start by grilling them flesh side down for about 3 minutes. Don’t be tempted to move them or take a peek at the progress too soon. Otherwise, it will stick and tear the delicate meat. Wait 2 minutes before you check them.

The lobster tails will finish on that cooler section of the BBQ. Flip them on their shells and continue cooking for 6–8 minutes, depending on the size. Continue with the butter basting. 

The best way to check for doneness is with an instant-read thermometer. They are ready at 57 degrees (135 degrees F) to 60 degrees (140 degrees F).

You can serve them immediately with drawn butter, our favorite way to enjoy lobster. You can also put the tails on ice and use the meat for salads, classic dishes like Lobster Thermidor, or the Maine staple, lobster rolls.

Tips for Getting It Right

The surest way to ruin lobster is overcooking it. The meat becomes tough and almost inedible. Here are a few bits of advice to make your meal as delicious as possible.

  • Color isn’t a reliable indicator of doneness. Use the thermometer.
  • Keep the lid of the BBQ handy to douse flame-ups with all that butter.
  • Take the tails off the grill when they reach the lower threshold as they will continue to cook.
  • Ready meat is firm with some give with lush white color.

Final Thoughts About Lobster Tails on the BBQ

Grilling lobster tails isn’t tricky. It’s all about timing and a good source of meta like freshly caught lobsters. You’ll be the envy of the campground with your indulgent and delicious seafood feast. Why not treat yourself to the best and make your trip one worthy to remember.

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