Lobster is a delicious and decadent meal, but preparing fresh lobsters can be challenging.

By Southern Living Editors

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.

Cooking Frozen Lobster Tails

If your lobster tails are frozen, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator (or for about eight hours) before preparing them. They'll look greenish or brown, and that's okay. You'll know they're thawed when the tails feel flexible.

How to Boil Lobster Tails

To boil the tails, use kitchen shears to cut lengthwise down the underside of the shell. Set the lobster tails aside and 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.

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.

Want to grill the tails instead of boiling? We've got you covered with this recipe for Grilled Lobster Tails from Oxmoor House: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-lobster-tails