Some of you may be intimidated by Lobster. Some of you love the stuff but rarely eat it due to the cost. The cost leads to that intimidation. Do these questions pop up when considering Lobster:
What if I overcook it?
What if I under cook it?
How do I know when it's done?
What if I screw it all up and that money spent on that expensive seafood will be wasted?
I've asked myself those same questions. I've had those same fears. How does one eliminate those fears? Practice. But this is such and expensive food item to practice on, right? Wrong. This is the best time to get that practice. Due to the economy being in the crapper nobody is buying such luxuries like lobster. The lobster vendors have slashed prices. What better time to practice on lobster than right now? Those two tails above were $20. Not apiece. Total. They were $20/pound and each of those is 8 ounces. Show me a good steak that you can get for $10? I saw a place in St. Louis that has 2 pound live lobsters for $14/lobster. That's not per pound.
The time is now to conquer your fear of this delicious crustacean. The time is now to get your practice in. The time is now to realize that a lobster tail is just a really big shrimp. If you can grill a shrimp you can grill a lobster tail....
Dad ponied up the lobster tails. These were $20/pound as I mentioned above, but the next day Dad went back for a couple more and they were marked down to $13/pound. $6.50 for an 8 ounce tail? Are you kidding me?!?!?! Oh, how I wish I had the freezer space!?!
And while lobster tails are just large shrimp in terms of cooking they do require a bit different preparation. The main problem being splitting the tail open. Some suggest to split the bottom, much softer section of the tail. Some split the top. I went with the latter. A pair of kitchen shears made quick work of those shells but this can be done with a sharp knife too. Simply start with the sheers (or knife) and split the shell all the way to the tail:
Then slice the meat in half along the split shell. Try not to cut through the bottom shell:
Now for the cool part. I put my thumbs into the newly created slit that runs the length of the tail and pulled it apart. The bottom shell holds the two pieces together and now the meat is butterflied for maximum surface area:
The lobster tails will be braised with drawn/clarified garlic butter which is so simple to make:
2 stick salted butter
1 heaping tablespoon of garlic
Bring the two sticks of butter to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. After the foam dissipates on top you will notice some white clumps floating to the top. Spoon them off the top while trying to leave as much of the remaining butter. A sieve could also be used for this. Right before the butter is to be brushed onto the lobster tail (and a few shrimp in this case) put the garlic in. The longer garlic cooks the less flavor it has so do not boil the garlic the whole time.
Two sticks of butter seems like a lot but what will not be slathered onto the seafood while cooking will used as a dipping sauce during the meal.
Now that the lobster tails and garlic butter are ready for the grill, Dad and I cracked open a great wine that was on sale at the local grocer. Normally about $23 this bottle was on sale for $13:
I set up two zone cooking here almost out of habit but it is not really necessary. Just get the grill to a medium high heat. Not quite steak flame searing temps, but still a hot fire. There is no need to indirect these. Just keep them over the heat the whole time. The 2nd zone could be useful to keep the tails warm if there was something else that was not quite done and needs a little more time.
Brush the lobster meat with a healthy dose of the butter and place meat side down over the heat. Be careful of flame ups from the butter dripping into the fire. I had to readjust the location a few times due to flame ups as you can see below with the flames licking the tail on the right:
Here are the tails moved a bit to avoid the flare ups. I put the butter pot right on the grill to keep it warm (lower right):
The tails need to be over the heat for only about 3-4 minutes. Here are the tails with the shrimp added to the grill. I flipped the tails immediately after placing the shrimps on the fire (I will talk about the shrimp in another post):
Once the tails are flipped the shell will disperse the heat quite a bit but they still only need 5-6 minutes on the heat shell side down or a total of about 10 minutes cook time. This will vary depending on temp and size of the tail. What to look for is the consistency of a cooked shrimp - white, firm flesh, but not rubbery. Once the tails are flipped give them another slathering of garlic butter.
Here is Dad's tail plated. Notice the flesh is a little browned from being over the heat but not charred. That is nearly perfect:
And here are a couple of shots of my tail. Mine charred just a bit on the right side but it was still fantastic:
Now is the time to get over the fear and anxiety of grilling lobster. When prices go back up you will be a seasoned vet with these and not worry at all about grilling them...