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Martha’s Vineyard-Style Lobster


Martha’s Vineyard-Style Lobster

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 2 and can be multiplied as desired
  • Method: Direct grilling


  • 2 1-1/2 pound live lobsters
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing lobsters
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the herb butter:

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, chives, tarragon, basil, and/ or any other herb you may fancy

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Make the herb butter: Melt the butter in a saucepan (you can do this on the stove, the grill, or on your grills side burner.) Add the garlic and herbs and cook over medium-high heat until sizzling and fragrant, 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not let the garlic brown. Remove the pan from the heat

Step 2: If you’re feeling squeamish, bring 3 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the lobsters and cook, covered, over high heat for 3 minutes. Drain the lobsters and let cool.

Step 3: Otherwise, using a thick cloth to hold them down and working on a grooved cutting board (or a cutting board on a baking sheet with raised sides), cut the large claws off the lobsters and set aside. (Discard the rubber bands.) Using a large heavy chef’s knife, make a lengthwise cut through the underside of each lobster. Start at the head, which kills the lobster instantly. Push the knife to, but not through the top (back) shell. Pry the lobster open (the process is a little like spatchcocking). Remove the papery sack in the head and the vein running the length of the tail. You can leave or discard the tomale (the green stuff-actually the liver, or if you have a female, the blackish-blue stuff, which is the roe). Of course, I would leave it. Tip any juices into a bowl. Cut the lobsters, brush with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper right before grilling.

Step 4: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Under the best of circumstances and for the best flavor, you’d be grilling on wood. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Step 5: Arrange the lobster claws on the grill and grill until orange and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Move to a cooler part of the grill to keep warm. Arrange the lobster bodies on the grate, cut side down, and grill until the meat starts to brown, 3 minutes. Turn the lobsters over and pour any juices you may have gathered over them. Continue grilling the lobster until the meat is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Start basting the cut side of the lobster with the herbed butter after 2 minutes and baste again right before serving.

Step 6: Serve the lobster at once, with crackers for the claws, and the remaining herb butter in ramekins for dipping. Eat with your hands. It doesn’t get much better than this.