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Feb 16, 2009 06:15 PM

Help! how to cook defrstd lobster TONIGHT

Never cooked lobster before, they were on sale, and are now defrosted. How to cook? Grilling is out--it's raining buckets.

Quick and simple ideas? I don't want to ruin them. Thank you!

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  1. If you generally like the idea of grilling lobster, you can split the tails in half and simply pan fry or roast to get some caramelization with some butter or oil. If you have a grill pan, you can just brush the flesh with oil and sear. remember you still have to turn the meat onto the shell side to cook as well.

    You can also try the oven alone without splitting in half , but split the shell down the back in the middle, pull the tail meat so it rests on top of the shell and put into a pan with some wine, broth and some lemon juice and cook in the oven @ 350-400*. Less temperature for smaller tails....more temperature for the larger tails. is the general rule. Cooking time can be anywhere from 5-12 minutes. its hard to say without knowing the size of the Lobster Tails.

    1. simple, just steam in a pan on the stove about 1" of water, shell side down until warm probably 5 minutes and the shell will be nice and red, then remove, While the lobster cooks melt some butter, a tablespoon of white wine if you have it, parsley, a dash of lemon and I love a little garlic. When the lobsters come out pour the sauce over. Serve some extra on the side for dipping.

      Or I would split them and put in the oven, split them open and roast for 5-7 minutes. Or just boil them. Depends what you have whole or just tails.

      1 Reply
      1. I've done tails on the grill so I'm pretty sure a grill pan or skillet would work. I just brushed with some butter and put shell side down on the grill for 6-8 minutes. Nothing further. They've been great that way.

        7 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          any need to remove from shells? or just cook as is? I've got abig cast tron skillet I can get pretty hot.

          shell side down? they have shell on the bottom, too.

          1. re: toodie jane

            Silly me. I take shears/scissors and cut down the middle of the bottom of the shell and then across the top and bottom and pull back. Or you could cut them off entirely. Definitely leave in the shell and when I wrote "shell side down" I meant the top of the shell not the bottom. I was just thinking of them in terms of how I look down at them :) I don't know why the skillet wouldn't work just fine. Since I've only done on the grill with the lid down, I'm fuzzy on that part. Maybe a lid over the skillet and lower the heat some? Boy, I don't want to screw up something as special as lobster tails. But you can pretty much tell when they're done. Hope I haven't made it worse for you :)

            1. re: c oliver

              I nice sharp knife and one hit and presto ... Us FL gals are good at this. Lots of practice with lobster, stone crabs and cleaning those fishies.

              1. re: c oliver

                I went on instinct and your instructions: snipped the strips of shell on the bottom, then down through with my chef's knife, flipped and did the top too so effectively cut them in 1/2 but for the tail. Melted some garlic butter in a medium skillet, and then put cut meatside down. They are gently cooking now as i finish the garlic smashers and artichokes.

                We'll be eating well tonight! sort of a delayed Valentine's meal.

                thanks all for your help. The smell is divine and I hope they taste as good!

                edit: they were very nice. I'd like to try using a live lobster--the texture would be better, though the flesh was nice and sweet. Got a nice browning going and deglazed the pan with some fume blanc to put on the potatoes and to spoil the cat with.

              2. re: c oliver

                Perfect, I just like my butter and wine sauce, but who cares, butter works for me

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  Not mutually exlclusive :) Can't have too much butter (and wine and lemon) with lobster, can ya?

              3. Pardon me for tacking on to this, but I just grilled, for the first time, some small (pre-frozen) tails on Sun. The were only about 1/4 # each. I used Giada DL's method and split the top shell down the middle, cut thru the flesh, but not the bottom shell, kind of broke open the split, brushed split flesh with butter, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on grill, off-set from charcoals, put cover on and let cook for 10 minutes. At the end of that time, the meat still wasn't to my liking for doneness so I rewrapped and back on the heat, this time over the now cooling coals, for another 2 or 3 minutes.

                The result was that the flesh would not release from the shell. I basically had to "fork" it out, which of course ruined any presentation I may have hoped for. Thankfully, these were not cooked for guests! Anyway, the lobster tasted wonderful, but there was more uneaten meat inside the shell that on my plate.

                Does anyone know what I did wrong, or could have done differently to make the lobster release from the shell?? Any chance this happened because it had been frozen?

                6 Replies
                1. re: CocoaNut

                  A problem that exists with lobster, especially Whole Maine lobsters is, when they are frozen live the meat sticks to the shell and does not release from the shell when cooked as you have experienced. This is not quite as common with generally with frozen it is usually a different species of lobster and processed differently from harvest.

                  I would surmise your less than perfect result stemmed from first the under-cooking of the lobster and second, the refire again was less than sufficient time needed to properly cook through the tail combination with the anomaly mentioned above. To correct this next time, do what they do in commercial kitchen preparations for frozen lobster tails. Everything you did was correct in splitting the (Dorsal View) top abdomen shell down the middle on the back side from top to the Uropod/Telson(tail flaps) . You would not split the (Ventral View) under belly. This next step is what what is done in commercial kitchens which should correct your problem:

                  Separate, but do not break with the tail in your palm, the top shell by squeezing your hand and pull the whole flesh tail from the shell while it is still raw. down to the (tail flaps). At this point, you can split the tail meat down the center with a paring knife and remove the intestinal tract vein, or simply pull back the top piece of flesh covering the vein and remove the vein without the knife. You can either replace the flesh meat back into the shell, or leave it exposed on top of the abdomen shell to bake in the oven....this is how restaurants usually present the lobster tails cooked. If you prefer to return the meat back into the shell for a different presentation, the choice is yours.

                  When grilling or pan saute/frying lobster tails, you could also lay the tail flat on its belly and make a sharp knife cut through the back, flesh and underbelly to split the tails in half. You would grill flesh meat first for marking and flip the tail onto the shell to finish cooking and try not to let too much of any juices escape into the grates and to create a little steam effect.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Thanks for your input. Next time, I'll push the whole tail out of the shell before I split the flesh. Hopefully, that will make the difference. According to the recipe I followed I tried to do that AFTER splitting the flesh and that was a worthless effort. At that point, the flesh wouldn't budge as there was no "fulcrum" to push against.

                    I don't think the "re-cook" would have been the problem, as all I did was open the aluminum packet to know I wanted to cook them more - so they weren't off the heat more than about 30 sec. It wasn't like I'd plated them and then literaly re-cooked them.

                    Anyway, thanks so much for the info.

                    1. re: CocoaNut

                      For frozen tails I have found it best to split and then wrap in foil but I make sure to add a little water in the foil pouch. A old guy up in Maine taught me that. We went fishing with him and he did lobster on the dock when he returned, On his boat he must of had 50 bags of tails and whole lobsters frozen. He always cooked dinner for all his customers after a long day of fishing. Pretty cool.

                      Well the water gave the lobster some steam which in turn helped the meat release perfectly. He swore by that and I agree. I have never had a problem. Also I have a lot of luck using my cast iron pan either on my side burner or right on the grill with about 1" of water and set the tails in. That also works really well.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        I've wondered generally (not just about lobster) if wrapping in foil or putting a skillet on the grill is just the equivalent of either baking in the oven (#1) or cooking on the stovetop (#2). 'Course I use a gas grill so I guess it's really just an outdoor range? This is perhaps it's own thread but I'll leave it here and see if it flies :)

                        1. re: kchurchill5

                          Thanks for the suggestion on the steam factor. I know you have know idea how hot the grill was. I was using hardwood charcoal and had alread cooked a couple of 1-1/2 in. ribeyes - so the coals had somewhat burned down to a point that it would have been ready to accept chicken. Anyway, with that info, do you think 12 min. is an appropriate time for 1/4 # tails? And would you have placed them directly over the coals rather than to the side?

                          1. re: CocoaNut

                            Probably over the coals shell side down, I have both a gas grill and a smaller charcoal. I use both. Lobster doesn't take long and really depends on how big the tails are and the heat, but I would think 12 min wrapped in a single layer of foil should be plenty. The heat on the bottom of the shells with a little water in the foil, causes the bottom to cook quick which tends to release it. When it sits ... sometimes the skin will stick rather releasing. That is why sometimes I use a cast iron, the bottom cooks quick and release while the heat penetrates the rest of the meat.

                            Inside on a gas stove or even electric. I have done my inside in my cast iron pan, also in the oven, same method. I may have disapproval from some, but it works and I have been doing it for 30 years. It works and the lobster is tender and juicy. I have had some stick, as I'm sure every one has. Sometimes it just happens.

                            If you buy fresh ... and not going to eat them right away. I find it is better to steam or boil your choice till just done, don't over cook and then freeze. Then you can reheat either in the foil pouch or in the oven if stuffing or just reboil or steam for just a couple of minutes to reheat. The meat will always come out fine. We do that with FL lobster with lobster season and stone crab season. I still have 10 bags of 15 claws per bag. My ex and son go out and then end up bringing back some 400 claws. Its a big group that goes diving but only 3 of us eat them. So we end up with them all. Fine by me.

                  2. Want to find this TOMORROW