How to Cook Lobster Tails
You may think serving lobster tails are best saved for a weekend dinner party, but they are easy and quick enough to serve for a weeknight supper. While a bit more expensive, preparing frozen lobster is often easier than wrestling with whole live lobsters. Boiled, baked, broiled, or stirred into a pan of Lobster Mac and Cheese (everything tastes good with mac and cheese, right?), Southerners love lobster as much as they love shrimp, crab, and other seafood.
For a simpler and less costly alternative to buying live lobsters, purchase lobster tails instead; lobster tails are sold fresh or frozen, and the meat is firm and tasty. Serve the cooked lobster tails in their shells with a side of warm butter and lemons for squeezing, or add them to a salad. Keep reading for easy-to-follow steps to thawing, preparing, and cooking frozen lobster.
How to Thaw Frozen Lobster
To thaw a package of frozen lump lobster meat, frozen lobster tails, or lobster claws, put the items in a large bowl or container and place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. To thaw same-day, place in a sealed plastic bag and submerge in cold water. Change water every 15 minutes for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until fully thawed. You'll know the tails or claws are thawed when they feel flexible. Either method will slowly thaw the lobster, preventing the meat from sticking to the shell. Don't be tempted to cook frozen or partially thawed lobster–this will result in tough meat. If you don't want to worry with pulling the meat from the tail or claw shells, using frozen lump lobster meat is convenient when making this New England Lobster Salad Burger or preparing seafood casseroles.
How to Prepare a Lobster Tail
The most elegant and impressive way to cut and prepare the tail is to butterfly it. Cut the tail down the middle and open up the shell, making sure to leave a small part attached at the end of the tail fin. When cooked, the shell appears to be reconnected with the meat gorgeously sitting on the top.
How to Steam Lobster Tails
Put a steamer insert into a pot large enough for the tails, add water, and bring it to a boil. Once the water is steaming, carefully lower the tails into the insert and steam anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the tails. It only takes about 45 to 60 seconds of cooking time per ounce. Keep a close eye on the lobster, it can quickly overcook and the meat will begin to shrink and dry out.
How to Boil Lobster Tails
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, add the tails and simmer, uncovered, for seven to 10 minutes. When the tails are done, remove them with tongs and drain them on a sheet pan or in a colander. You'll know the lobsters are done cooking when the shells are bright red and the meat is white with no trace of gray.
How to Bake Lobster Tails
This method for Baked Lobster Tails with Citrus-Herb Butter is quick and easy enough for a weeknight dinner, yet looks fancy enough for a formal gathering. Prepare the tails by splitting them in half with a chef's knife and placing the flesh on top for a more attractive presentation. Place lobster tails on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and spoon 1 tablespoon of the butter over each. Bake in preheated oven until bright red and opaque, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with herbed butter.
How to Broil Lobster Tails
Broiling is another quick method for preparing lobster tails. As in the other methods above, begin by cutting through the upper shell and pressing shell halves open. Place lobster tails in a baking pan and add seasonings. Add water to the pan and slide under the broiler. These favorite bacon-topped Broiled Lobster Tails are ready in under 20 minutes.
Lobster tails can be served with your sauce of choice. Try melted butter with lemon or garlic, an herb sauce, or a soy sauce-based dipping sauce. Make sure the flavors are not so strong or sweet that they overwhelm the natural flavor of lobster.
The Final Steps
The lobster shells will be very hot, so be sure to let them cool before handling. Trim the shell away (the tail should come out in one piece), or leave the tail in its shell and serve flesh-up for a beautiful presentation. Serve with melted butter, salt, pepper and lemon slices to squeeze on top.