Lobster Tails Butterflied

tterflied lobster

     Because we live in a landlocked state, few of our guests know anything about lobsters. I always like to impart a bit of information about what I’m about to serve, so I try to regale those assembled with some noted facts.

     It takes an American lobster 6-7 years to get to an edible size. While it feeds primarily on fish and mollusks, it will also consume algae, other plant life, and even other lobsters.  It’s a ten-legged crustacean that walks forward, but if it needs to quickly get away, it propels itself backward by pumping its tail.  

     This surly and predatory freak of nature has an absolute mishmash of organs. Its teeth are in its stomach; its brain is in its throat, and it tastes with their legs.  Although it has compound eyes, its eyesight is poor.  It smells with the small antennae on the front of its head, and on each side where normally one would see ears are two urinary bladders. It doesn’t have lungs, vocal chords, or a central nervous system, so the “scream” it makes when submerged into boiling water is actually steam escaping from its shell. 

     Forms of lobster are found in all of the oceans. Its natural habitat is rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms from shoreline to beyond the edge of the continental shelf. Its unnatural habitat is when it finds itself on a white plate between a cup of melted butter and a wedge of lemon. 

Lobster Tails Butterflied

yields: 4 Servings prep time: 30 Minutes cook time: 60 Minutes
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POACHING LIQUID 12 cups 4 cups 2 3 1 1 head 3 1 Tbsp 2 tsp 1 tsp 1/2 tsp 4 sprigs BASTING SAUCE 4 oz. 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp DIPPING SAUCE 4 oz. 4 (7-8 oz. each) Lemon wedge Chive spears Paprika
- Water Wine white Lemons halved Celery stalks with leaves, chopped Onion large chopped Garlic, halved horizontally Bay leaves Hot sauce Sea salt Celery seed Red pepper flakes Thyme - Butter for basting Garlic grated Lemon juice Salt Pepper - Butter clarified Lobster tails (purchase frozen) As needed For garnish For dusting
  • 12 cups
  • 4 cups
    Wine white
  • 2
    Lemons halved
  • 3
    Celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 1
    Onion large chopped
  • 1 head
    Garlic, halved horizontally
  • 3
    Bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp
    Hot sauce
  • 2 tsp
    Sea salt
  • 1 tsp
    Celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp
    Red pepper flakes
  • 4 sprigs
  • 4 oz.
    Butter for basting
  • 1 tsp
    Garlic grated
  • 1 tsp
    Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 4 oz.
    Butter clarified
  • 4 (7-8 oz. each)
    Lobster tails (purchase frozen)
  • Lemon wedge
    As needed
  • Chive spears
    For garnish
  • Paprika
    For dusting


Note: There are several good YouTube videos on how to butterfly a lobster tail. There’s a technique to this process, so rather than me trying to explain it, I suggest you view several of the videos.

     Allow at least 24 hours for the lobster tails to thaw in the refrigerator. Remove all wrapping and place in a covered plastic container. Be sure they are completely thawed. If they are cooked before they are totally thawed, the meat will be tough and rubbery.

     You can butterfly the lobster tails ahead of time. Once they are butterflied, tie the meat to the shell with string so they will stay intact during the poaching process. Place on a tray or plate and cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator.

Enter Target Time _______________

Time: __________ (at least 60 minutes prior to target time)

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a large stockpot and bring to boil.

  2. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until onions are softened, about 45 minutes.

  3. Prepare the butter for basting by combining 4 oz. of melted butter, garlic, lemon juice, and salt & pepper.

  4. Plunge lobster tails into gently boiling water. Allow them to poach for 5 minutes and remove the tails. Remove each tail from stockpot and cut away the string. Place lobster tail butterflied side up in a foil-lined 7” X 11” pan.

Time: __________ (15 minutes prior to target time)

  1. Preheat the oven to Broil.

  2. Set up your butter warmers (if you have them), light and place the dipping sauce in each. Note: Butter warmers are definitely a nice touch when serving lobster tails.

  3. Baste the lobster tails generously with the basting sauce.

  4. Put the pan containing the lobster tails in the oven on the upper rack to begin broiling.

  5. Leave in the oven long enough for the basting sauce to infuse a bit into the meat (about a minute), then remove from the oven. Note: Watch closely. If the lobster meat is overcooked, it will be tough.

  6. Plate the lobster tails. Baste the lobster tails one more time and then sprinkle paprika on top. Place a couple spears of chives on top for the final touch.

Note: This is one of the more impressive entrées you can serve your dinner guests. Once everyone has their plate prepared, set aside some time so they can record the presentation with a cellphone photo. Another picture worth taking is a selfie of you enjoying that first delicious bite.

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