What Are the Best Tips for Making Broiled Lobster?

David Bishop

Broiled lobster is a popular dish in restaurants and at home, both as an appetizer and as a main course. Most recipes call for using either whole lobster or lobster tails. When making broiled lobster, the cook will need to select an appropriate amount of lobster, prepare it for broiling and cook it to the desired doneness. Many choose to serve broiled lobster with traditional accompaniments.

Broiled lobster is often served with lemon and butter.
Broiled lobster is often served with lemon and butter.

Lobster used for food is generally divided into warm- and cold-water species. Warm-water lobster, like Maine lobster, has well-developed claws and usually contains more meat. This is the type of lobster often displayed in tanks in grocery stores and restaurants in the United States. The spiny lobsters that live in warmer waters have no claws and are typically sold for the lobster tail.

To broil lobsters the top shell should be removed with kitchen shears.
To broil lobsters the top shell should be removed with kitchen shears.

In the U.S., Maine lobster is often purchased live and brought home for cooking. Live lobster should be kept on ice in the refrigerator until it is time to cook and should be prepared within a few hours of purchase. One should always wear gloves when handling a live lobster to avoid injury. The lobster should be killed before cooking by using a knife or freezing it for an hour. The traditional method is to place the lobster on a secure cutting board and drive a sharp chef's knife through the lobster's head, cutting completely through to the front.

Once the lobster has been killed, the cook should split the body into two halves and remove the inedible stomach and intestinal vein. Most cooks remove the lobster's liver, or tomalley, although it can be left in or prepared as a side item. The claws also can be left on or cooked separately. Frozen lobster tails should be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

A split lobster should be brushed with butter, oil or marinade and placed shell side down under the broiler for 3 or 4 minutes. When making broiled lobster tails, the top of the shell should be removed with kitchen shears, and the tail meat should be basted and placed under the broiler. Cooking times will vary, depending on the size of the tail. Lobster is done when the shell turns a bright red and the meat is firm and white. The meat should not b e allowed to overcook.

Broiled lobster is usually served with sliced lemon and melted or clarified butter. The clarified butter can be made by melting a stick of butter in a small saucepan and skimming the fat off of the top. Any leftover lobster can be kept for up to two days in the refrigerator.

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