Serve up a rich and meaty lobster dinner with these tips for cooking always-perfect tails.

By Kimberly Holland
July 19, 2017

How to buy: Spiny lobster from the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean are the most eco-friendly options.

Sustainable? Usually yes, since most species are caught with pots and traps, which diminish bycatch. When additional catching gear like trawls, dip nets, and handlines are used, other sea life may be harmed.

Nutrition: Lobster is high in protein and selenium.

Mercury: Moderate.

How often to eat: Once a week.

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Lobster tails are a decadent dinner treat, but they’re simple enough to prepare on a weeknight, too. Grill them with some corn for an old-fashioned coastal dinner. Steam with a little wine and serve with a side of butter for a traditional lobster meal. You can even broil them for a super fast weeknight option.

1. How to Prepare Lobster Tails

When you can, opt for fresh lobster as it will yield tender and more flavorful tail meat. Lobster quickly turns chewy and dense after the tail has been removed from the remainder of the body.
If you’re working with frozen lobster, be sure to thaw the tails in a refrigerator for eight to 10 hours. You’ll know the lobster is completely thawed when the tail is flexible and looks dappled with shades of brown, blue, and green.

Related: How to Cook Lobster:

Cooked tails often curl up tightly. If you prefer the aesthetic of a straight lobster tail, grab some metal or wooden skewers, flip the tail over, and hold the back of the lobster tail firmly in your hand. Next, slide the skewer between the lobster shell and the meat, and punch the skewer before the tail fins.

To make removing the lobster meat easier, you’ll need to cut the shell. Flip the tail over, grab a pair of scissors, and slice through the shell (*be careful to not damage the meat) until you reach the tail fins. Gently push the two sides of the tail apart, without splitting entirely.

2. Steam the Lobster Tails

In a large saucepan, combine three cups of water, three cups of white wine, and two teaspoons of salt. Once the water-wine mixture begins to boil, add the tails. Simmer the tails without a lid for eight to 12 minutes or until the shell is bright red and firm. Check to make sure the meat is all white, with no gray areas remaining.

3. Serve the Lobster Tails

Once the tails are fully cooked, remove from the water and cool in a colander or sheet pan. Once they are cool enough to handle with you bare hands, gently pull apart the sides of the tail and use a fork to remove the meat.

Lobster meat is mild and delicately sweet; so don’t overwhelm the flavor with big, bold sauces. Instead, pair with a side of clarified butter, lemon wedges for squeezing, or a simple herb sauce.