Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Grilled Lobster

Recipe from Steven Raichlen's Man Made Meals

  • Advance Prep: 2 cups hardwood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained

Now that you know how to steam a lobster, it’s time to fire up to the grill. But don’t take my word for it: visit any beachside shack in Greece or the West Indies, where lobster is routinely cooked by grilling. Extra points when you work over a wood fire. Grilling lobster is easy, but it does require cutting a live crustacean in half. This isn’t as cruel as it sounds, as the knife kills the lobster instantly (although it will continue to twitch for several minutes). Pour or scoop any juices into a small bowl—you’ll add them to the lobster later. If the process sounds daunting or disconcerting, parboil the lobsters for 2 minutes, then cut as described below.


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  • 2 live and wriggling lobsters, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds each
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

Step 2: Stretch a lobster out on a cutting board (ideally a grooved board to catch the juices), back side down. Using a very large, very heavy knife, cut it nearly in half lengthwise, starting at the head. Cut to but not through the back shell. Using the knife, make a crosswise cut through the shell of each large claw. Spread the lobster body open like a butterfly. If you can see it, remove the vein running the length of the tail. Drizzle the insides with about 2 tablespoons butter and season generously with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Brush and oil the grill grate. Lay the lobsters cut side down on the grate, spreading them as wide open as possible. Grill until the meat is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the lobsters over and pour any reserved juices over the meat. Continue grilling until the bottom shell turns bright red and the lobster is cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes, 8 to 12 minutes in all. Baste the lobster with melted butter several times (use a fresh basting brush). When done, the shell juices will bubble and the meat will feel firm.

Step 4: Serve the grilled lobsters with small bowls of melted butter for dipping.

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