Recipe - How to Grill a Whole Lobster

Grilled Lobster. Weldon Owen
  • Total: 18 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 8 mins
  • Yield: 2 Lobsters (2 Servings)

Lobster is a culinary delight that many cooks enjoy but are afraid to cook at home. This is a simple method for preparing lobster - boiled very briefly, cut in half, then finished on a hot grill - that results in delicious seafood cooked right every time. Served with melted butter, it's absolute heaven. Enjoy!


  • 2 lobsters (Live Maine, 1 1/2 –2 lb./750 g. –1 kilograms each, or 2 frozen spiny lobster tails, thawed)
  • For the Garlic-Lemon Butter:
  • 1/2 cup/4 ounces butter (unsalted)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 lemons (zest and juice of 1, plus 2 lemons thinly sliced into rounds)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chervil (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (flat-leaf, Italian, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon (minced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water large enough to fit the lobsters.

  2. On a cutting board, use the point of a chef’s knife to cut an incision through each lobster headshell about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the eyes, pushing down hard through the shell to instantly kill the lobster. Immediately plunge the lobsters into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath. When cool enough to handle, split the lobsters in half lengthwise. Remove the intestinal vein from the tails, the grain sacs from the heads, and any green tomalley from the bodies; reserve any black egg sacs in a small bowl.

  3. Pour 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/60 milliliters) boiling water over the egg sacs and, using a fork, gently break the membrane to release the roe; it will turn bright red in the hot water. Strain through a sieve and let dry on paper towel.

To Make the Garlic-Lemon Butter

  1. in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic and the lemon zest and juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, herbs, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved lobster eggs, if any. Keep warm.

  2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.

  3. Brush the cut side of each lobster-half with the garlic-lemon butter. Place the lobsters, cut side down, directly on the grill. Cover and grill until the flesh is opaque and firm to the touch, 5–6 minutes. Grill the lemon slices over the hottest part of the fire until lightly charred, 1–2 minutes per side.

  4. Brush the lobsters with garlic-lemon butter and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with grilled lemon slices and serve at once.

Based on a recipe from Adventures in Grilling by Willie Cooper (Weldon Owen, 2012).