Learn how to broil lobster tails at home with step-by-step instructions. They are easy to prepare, take very little cooking time, and taste chef-prepared!
Multiple Ways to Cook Lobster Tails
Lobster tails can be cooked in several ways, including boiling, steaming, grilling, smoking, baking, and broiling. This recipe gives instructions for broiling them in the oven. It is an easy method and my favorite way to cook them.
Buying Lobster Tails
Lobster tails are usually 5-12 ounces, with the average size being 6 to 7 ounces. Lobsters reside in cold and warm waters. Cold-water lobster tails are said to be sweeter and more tender than warm-water tails. They also are more expensive than warm-water lobster tails. How do you tell the difference? Raw cold water tails are dark greenish-brown. They only turn red after cooking. Warm water lobster tails can be pink or orange before cooking. Additionally, cold-water lobsters have claws, while warm-water lobsters do not.
How to Tell if Lobster Tails Are Old
Lobster tails should have white tail meat and little to no odor. If your lobster tails have any of the following items, it may indicate they are too old to eat and should be discarded.
- They have freezer burn.
- They smell strong and fishy.
- The meat has a light green color.
- They feel slimy.
- They are mushy.
How to Broil Lobster Tails | Fresh vs. Frozen
There is always debate over whether fresh or frozen lobster tails are better. Unfrozen lobster tails may seem like the best choice, but not if refrigerated for several days until they lose their freshness. Many lobster tails are flash-frozen with nitrogen which keeps them fresh tasting when thawed and cooked. Whether you buy fresh or frozen ones, always cook them immediately (or as soon as you defrost them) to prevent them from aging in the refrigerator.
How to Thaw Lobster Tails
The easiest way to thaw lobster tails is overnight in the refrigerator. However, if you need them thawed sooner, follow these steps:
- Put them into a resealable plastic bag to keep them from absorbing water as they defrost.
- Submerge the bag in cold water. Use only cold water because hot water can start cooking the outer edges of the tails.
- Let the lobster tails sit in cold water for 30-60 minutes, although larger ones may take longer.
How to Broil Lobster Tails | Calculation the Broiling Time
Calculate the broiling time for the tails by following these steps:
- If broiling one lobster tail, either weigh it or check the packing to see how much it weighs. If it is a 5-ounce tail, broil it for 5 minutes, which equates to 1 minute broil time for each ounce.
- If you are broiling several lobster tails from a package, pick one that is an average representation of all the sizes. Weight it. If it is 7 ounces, bake the entire pan of tails for just 7 minutes (1 minute for each ounce of 1 lobster tail). Remember, the cooking time is based on the weight of one lobster tail, not all.
- If you don’t have a food scale to weigh a package of tails, look at the label, which should have the total weight of all the lobster tails. Divide the total weight by the number of lobster tails in the package. This will give you the average ounce size. However, remember that if the weight is in pounds and ounces (or grams and kilograms), you convert pounds to ounces before dividing. For example, a 2-pound, 4-ounce package with 6 lobster tails is calculated as 16 + 16 + 4 = 36 / 6 = 6 ounces each. This is an average because each one will vary.
How to Broil Lobster Tails | Preparation
Follow these steps to prepare the tails for broiling.
How to Broil Lobster Tails | Baste with a Butter Mixture
Melt butter and add garlic and spices to it. Use a brush to baste the lobster tails.
Place the lobster tails on a cooking sheet with slides to prevent any liquids from running off the pan and into the oven. Use a silicon mat to make cleanup easy.
Move the oven rack to the top broiling position (about 4-5 inches from the broiler) and place the baking sheet on it. If the lobster tails are too tall and touch the heating element or are too close to it, position the rack another position down.
How to Broil Lobster Tails | Use a Meat Thermometer
When you use the weight of a lobster tail to determine your broiling time, you get a cooking-time approximation. When you check for doneness, the tail meat should be opaque and no longer translucent. However, the cooking time and meat opaqueness might not ensure that the lobster tails are cooked properly. Sometimes ovens do not cook evenly, and some lobster tails will be done, and others will not. To avoid overcooking or undercooking, use a cooking thermometer.
The internal temperature should be 140-145 degrees F. Stick the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the tail. If cooking more than one tail, check each one. This is the easiest way to determine if they are fully cooked.
Lobster tails are best when eaten freshly cooked and piping hot. Since they cook quickly, prepare any sides ahead of broiling the tails. That way, you can serve them immediately after cooking them.
Other Recipes You Might Like
Here are some other seafood recipes you might like. Click on each name to link to the recipe.
- Baked Fish Tacos
- Fried Fish Tacos
- Seafood Campechana
- Shrimp Po’boy
- Crab Stuffed Shrimp
- Shrimp Tacos
- New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp
How to Broil Lobster Tails
- (4) 5-ounce lobster tails
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2-3 drops hot sauce (or substitute 1 pinch of ground cayenne)
- 2 teaspoons (divided) fresh parsley, chopped (or use 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley)
- green onions, chopped for garnish
- 1 large lemon, quartered for serving
- Preheat the oven to broil. Add a silicon mat to a baking sheet with sides. It will help make cleanup easier.
- Cut the shells with scissors starting at the opposite end of the tail and stopping before cutting through it.
- Then stretch each lobster shell apart. They will crack easily, so gently pull them apart to prevent the sides from breaking away.
- Remove the vein (if there, it runs down the middle of the tail) by pulling it or cutting it out.
- Detach the meat from the shell by pulling it upwards from the lobster shell. Leave the end attached.
- Rinse the shell and meat (on the top and the bottom) to wash away small shell pieces and any leftover vein bits. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Place the lobster tails on the prepared baking sheet, separating them to prevent crowding.
- Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the garlic, lemon, half of the parsley, and hot sauce. Divide 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into a small container. Use it to base the lobster tails with a basting brush. Save the rest of the butter to serve for dipping–reheat if necessary. Be careful not to put the basting brush into the leftover butter saved for eating.
- Move an oven rack to the top broiling position. Place the baking sheet on it. Bake the tails for 5 minutes. Check each lobster tail with a food thermometer (in the thickest part of the tail) after 5 minutes of broiling. They are done when the thermometer reads 140-145 degrees F (if not at temperature, cook for a few extra minutes). The tail meat should be opaque and the shell red when fully cooked. Sprinkle them with the other half of the parsley and/or green onions. Add lemon quarters to the serving platter.
- Serve immediately. Pour the saved butter mixture into small containers for dipping.