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Grilling a Whole Lobster


Grilling a Whole Lobster

Grilled Lobster

Weldon Owen
Lobster is a culinary delight that many cooks enjoy but are afraid to cook at home. This is a simple method for preparing lobster - boiled very briefly, cut in half, then finished on a hot grill - that results in delicious seafood cooked right every time. Served with melted butter, it's absolute heaven. Enjoy!

Based on a recipe from Adventures in Grilling by Willie Cooper (Weldon Owen, 2012). [Compare Prices]

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Yield: Serves 2


  • Live Maine lobsters
  • 2, 11⁄2–2 lb (750 g–1 kg) each, or 2 frozen spiny lobster tails, thawed
  • Unsalted butter 1⁄2 cup (4 oz/125 g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons thinly sliced into rounds
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs such as chervil, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, tarragon, or any combination (1 tablespoon each, minced)


Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water large enough to fit the lobsters.

On a cutting board, use the point of a chef’s knife to cut an incision through each lobster head shell about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the eyes, pushing down hard through the shell to instantly kill the lobster. Immediately plunge the lobsters into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath. When cool enough to handle, split the lobsters in half lengthwise. Remove the intestinal vein from the tails, the grain sacs from the heads, and any green tomalley from the bodies; reserve any black egg sacs in a small bowl.

Pour 1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) boiling water over the egg sacs and, using a fork, gently break the membrane to release the roe; it will turn bright red in the hot water. Strain through a sieve and let dry on paper towel.

To make the garlic-lemon butter - in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and the lemon zest and juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, herbs, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved lobster eggs, if any. Keep warm.

Prepare a CHARCOAL or GAS grill for DIRECT grilling over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Brush the cut side of each lobster-half with the garlic-lemon butter. Place the lobsters, cut side down, directly on the grill. Cover and grill until the flesh is opaque and firm to the touch, 5–6 minutes. Grill the lemon slices over the hottest part of the fire until lightly charred, 1–2 minutes per side.

Brush the lobsters with garlic-lemon butter and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with grilled lemon slices and serve at once.

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