Celebrate your Cooking Skills by
Cooking Lobster Tails

Cooking lobster tails isn’t the usual Tuesday dinner sort of fare. Because they are expensive, typically they are reserved for special occasions and celebrations.

So let’s assume a special occasion is on the calendar and you really want to wow the crowd (or just yourself) with your new found cooking skills, I would suggest cooking lobster tails.

The tails can be easy to find, typically frozen, and they can be cooked using several different cooking methods.

Below Chef has outlined all the steps for cooking lobster tail.

A little bit later I'll show you how my first time cooking lobster tails turned out- okay Chef helped.  

Cooking Skills Covered

Planning- think a head, reduce stress

Cooking method - steaming

Confidence - you can do this, and you'll be proud of yourself.



Begin at the Store

Selecting Lobster Tails

Before cooking lobster tails you need to be sure to select a good quality tail.

  • Know where the lobster came from. In other words did it come from warm or cold waters?
  • Choose one that came from cold water. Cold water lobsters generally come from New Zealand, South Africa, Main and Australia. Warm water lobsters come from Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. You will find that warm water lobsters cost less than cold water lobsters.

Lobster from cold water have a fresher flavor and better texture.

Be sure to ask your seafood vendor where the lobster originated. If it isn’t on the packaging and the vendor can’t tell you, then choose a different seafood vendor.


How to buy frozen lobster tails

  • Buy from a reputable source. This is not the type of product you cut corners with, you will be disappointed and your pocket emptied.
  • Choose lobster tails that originated from cold waters If the origin isn’t stated on the packaging then ask the vendor.  If the price is unbelievably good, then the lobster is probably from a warm water region. We will discuss why the location matters a little later in this page.
  • Avoid lobster tails that have discoloration  Black spots on the tails means they weren’t handled properly. Yellowing or dull looking meat should be avoided. A grayish tail indicates the lobster wasn’t alive during processing.
  • Look out for excessive glazing  Glazing is when processors inject water between the meat and the shell. A little glazing protects the meat during processing. However it can add to the final cost of the lobster tail by adding additional weight.


Defrosting Lobster Tails

  • The best way to thaw lobster tails is overnight in the refrigerator.
  • The quick method is by putting them in a plastic food storage bag and run cool water over them. If you use this method be sure the bag won’t leak. You want to be sure that they don’t soak in water while they are defrosting.
  • Never use the microwave to defrost lobster tails; it will negatively affect the meat.


Cooking Methods

One of the great things about cooking lobster tails, is you can cook it using different cooking methods. Practice each method and settle with the one that you are the most comfortable with.


Steamed (Easy method for beginners)

  1. Insert a wood skewer down the length of the lobster tail. This will keep the tail from curling while steaming.
  2. Pour a cup of water into a pan large enough to fit your lobster tail.
  3. Add a bit of salt to the water and bring it to a boil.
  4. Place a steaming rack inside the pan.
  5. Place the lobster tail on the rack and cover it with a lid.
  6. Steam the tails for approximately 7-8 minutes, serve immediately.

Boiled

  1. Fill a large pot with water
  2. Add one teaspoon of salt for each 4 cups of water needed. You will want to have enough water to completely cover your lobster tails.
  3. Bring the water to a boil
  4. Drop the lobster tail into the boiling water
  5. Boil approximately 1 minute for each oz of total weight.
  6. Drain and serve immediately.

Baked (great method for adding other flavors)

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Split the shell of the lobster tail in half lengthwise.
  3. Lightly salt and pepper each tail.
  4. Drizzle melted butter and a bit of lemon juice over each lobster tail
  5. Bake approximately 10-15 minutes.
  6. The lobster tails are done when the meat is opaque and firm.
  7. Serve immediately with additional lemon slices.

Grilled

  1. Lay the lobster tail shell down on a cutting board.
  2. Split the shell lengthwise cutting the tail and shell completely in half.
  3. Pour melted butter, lemon juice & tarragon over the meat of each tail, let sit for several minutes for the butter & seasoning to harden.
  4. Place meat side down on a pre-heated medium heat grill.
  5. Grill for approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until cooked through.
  6. Be sure the meat is opaque and firm to the touch before serving.
  7. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

 Proper planning is key for a delicious dinner. 

Each of the above methods state to serve immediately.

Have everything for the meal ready - so when the lobster is done cooking, so are you.  If you aren't ready they you will have overcooked or cold lobster while you scramble around finishing up.


Cooking Times

Cooking the lobster tail for the right amount of time will increase your success.

However as with all cooking there are factors to keep in mind-

  • Equipment varies (not all stoves and ovens read the same temperature)
  • Altitude affects cooking

With that said here are some approximate times that you can use when cooking lobster tails.

  • Steaming or boiling should be done for about 1 minute per oz. Therefore a 10 oz lobster would steam or boil for 10 minutes.
  • Baking general cooking times: (Each recipe will have slightly different guidelines)

                 8-ounce tails bake for about 10 to 12 minutes

                10-ounce tails bake for about 12 to 14 minutes

                12-ounce tails bake for about 14 to 16 minutes

If you are new to cooking lobster tails start with steaming. Practice a bit then move on to other cooking techniques.

Things I learned my first time cooking lobster tails.

  1. I chose the steaming method. It was easy and quick.  
  2. Advance planning is essential.  Because they cook quickly, have everything and I mean everything ready before you start steaming the lobster. Think through the entire meal preparation and process.   I even had the plates waiting on the counter rather than getting them from the cupboard.
  3. Split the tails first before cooking them. The tails will cook more evenly.

Here are a few pictures to give you the idea of what it looks like to split the tail.

For steaming we used a large pot and a large strainer for the "steam basket"

Be sure to use a large serrated chef knife to split the shell. You will have to use some force to cut through the hard shell.Take care and note how you hold the tail and be sure to keep your fingers out of the way.

Once the lobster tail is cooked enjoy immediately. Ours was a bit over done because I took time to take pictures and talk about the lobster - all the while it is still cooking on the plate because of the carry over temperature.

How to split a lobster tail

Pass the butter!

Related Topics

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Cooking Crab Legs

Preparing Fish

Quick Easy Shrimp


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