Grilled Lobster Tail

5 from 1 vote

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My grilled lobster tail recipe is simple to make and sure to please. Lobster tails are covered in a smoky, spicy paste before being gently smoked and braised in a buttery lemon-garlic sauce. You can create restaurant-quality grilled lobster in under 30 minutes!

close up: grilled lobster tail on a baking sheet

This recipe for grilled lobster tail is not only a mouthwatering masterpiece, but it’s also an empowering recipe to master. I used to think lobster was difficult to make, and I waited far too long to make my own smoked lobster tail. I assure you, though — you can do this! 

overhead: grilled lobster tail on a baking sheet

I’ll teach you a special way of cutting open the tails and exposing the meat. After that, all you’ll have to do is season and transfer to the smoker. It couldn’t be easier. Whether you are hosting a barbecue, planning a date night, or looking for a quick dinner idea, this grilled lobster dish has you covered. 

For more easy seafood recipes, check out my Grilled Swordfish with Mango Salsa, Blackened Mahi Mahi, and Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp Skewers.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Lobster Tails – Full of tender, sweet, and succulent meat. Costco has a 6-pack of 4 oz lobster tails that is perfect. 
  • Seafood Seasoning – This pungent, spicy mix brings the lobster to life. Use your favorite brand or make my DIY version.
  • Butter – Sweet, savory, and salty butter enhances the natural flavor of the lobster. 
  • Garlic – Adds an element of zesty, peppery flavor. 
  • Lemon Cuts through the heavier flavors of the dish with a blast of bright citrus flavor. 
  • Red Chili Adds a dash of spicy heat. 
  • Parsley – Brings fresh, clean, and peppery notes to the butter sauce.
seafood seasoning in small glass jar

How to Make Grilled Lobster Tail

  1. Prepare the Smoker. Preheat your smoker to 375 degrees F. Combine the oil with your favorite seafood seasoning in a small bowl and set aside. 
  2. Split the Tails. Make a cut along the middle of the top of each lobster shell with kitchen shears. Go all the way to the beginning of the tail section and do your best to cut between the meat and shell. 
  3. Expose the Meat. Go underneath the shell with your finger or a spoon to separate the meat. Working carefully, pull the meat up to the top of the shell, taking care to keep it attached at the base of the tail. Make lengthwise cuts down both sides of the meat with a sharp knife. Repeat for each of the lobster tails. 
  1. Season & Smoke. Use a brush to apply the seafood seasoning paste evenly to all sides of the lobster tails. Transfer the tails to the smoker and smoke for 15-20 minutes. They are done when the meat is no longer translucent and has an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
  1. Make the Butter Sauce. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and garlic and cook for several minutes. Then, add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and chili flakes. Stir until blended and melted. When it’s melted, stir in the parsley.
overhead: preparing the butter sauce
  1. Brush & Baste. Lightly brush the outside of the lobster tails with the lemon garlic butter sauce about 10 minutes before they are ready to come off the smoker. Reserve the extra sauce for dipping.
grilling lobster tail

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to cook lobster tail?

While I’m convinced grilled lobster is the way to go, there’s more than one way to cook a lobster tail. Here are a few of the most common ways:

Smoked or Grilled – This is the best! Follow this smoked lobster tail recipe and I’m sure you’ll agree. 
Baked or Broiled – This is the way to go if you need to use an oven.
Poached or Steamed Lobster tail can be lightly simmered in butter to achieve this method. 
Boiled – The simplest, quickest way to cook your lobster.

Do you have to steam lobster before grilling it?

No, this recipe for grilled lobster tail does not require that you steam or boil your lobster first. 

This is often done to help set the meat and make it easier to separate from the shell after cooking, but it is not necessary.

In this smoked lobster tail recipe, the tails are split open and the meat is mostly separated from the shell before you ever start grilling. This takes away the need to steam first. 

However, if you want to steam your lobster tails first, keep in mind that your grilling time will be drastically reduced. Make sure you don’t ruin your grilled lobster by overcooking it.

Why is my lobster tail rubbery?

As a lobster lover, I always have high expectations when it’s on the menu. And, nothing is more disappointing than a rubbery or mushy piece of lobster! Luckily, these are easy issues to avoid. 

Rubbery lobster is almost always due to overcooking. This can happen on the grill, in the boiling pot, or in a steamer. Keep a close eye on your grilled lobster tail and remove it from heat as soon as the flesh has turned white and the temperature has reached 140 -145 degrees F. No longer!

If you end up with mushy grilled lobster, the problem is likely low-quality lobster. Too many freeze and unfreeze cycles will damage the meat as well as the animal’s own enzymes during the dying process.

close up: a baking sheet with grilled lobster tail

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extreme close up: grilled lobster tail
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Grilled Lobster Tail

5 from 1 vote
This recipe for grilled lobster tail features tender, expertly seasoned lobster meat bathed in a buttery sauce and smoked to perfection.
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes


Lemon Garlic Butter

  • 1/2 cup butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp parsley chopped fine


  • Preheat your smoker to 375°F. In a small bowl mix the oil with your favorite seafood seasoning, set aside.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut along the middle of the top of each lobster shell all the way to the beginning of the tail section, cutting between the meat and shell as best you can.
  • Use a spoon or your fingers to go underneath the top of the shell and separate the meat from of the shell. Carefully spread the split shell open and lift the meat up and on top of the shell, keeping the meat still attached at the base of the tail. Use a sharp knife and make cuts lengthwise down each side of the meat. Repeat this for remaining lobster tails.
  • Brush the seafood seasoning paste equally on exposed lobster meat. Transfer lobster tails to grill shelf of smoker and cook (use indirect heat set up for charcoal smokers) for 15-20 minutes. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 145°F with white flesh (no longer translucent).
  • Meanwhile in a small saucepan add the butter and garlic, cooking for several minutes over medium heat before adding the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of zest and the chili flakes. Stir until melted and combined. Just before basting lobster, stir through the parsley.
  • About 10 minutes before the lobster tails are finished cooking, lightly brush the outside of the lobster tails with lemon garlic sauce before they come off the smoker. Save remaining sauce for dipping at serving.



  1. I used a six pack of 4 ounce lobster tails from Costco.


Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 732IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: American, Southern
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): grilled lobster tails


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    HI Kevin: Well, you’ve done it again! Captured me with a photo. I love selfish, but am not a fan of lobster. I bet this technique would work well with shrimp or langoustines as well. I am going to give it a try on the weekend. I have a abirhtday diner to come for (mine) and I get to choose the menu. This looks fabulous.