The Pre-Grilling Step To Achieve Perfect, Succulent Lobster Every Time

For many, luxury and decadence can be defined by lobster, and for others, lobster served on a roll is a seasonal, staple food. While lobster is often completely poached or steamed in preparation, the crustacean can also be enjoyed with a smoky flare during the grilling season. And although grilling lobster can be difficult to master, chef Geoffrey Zakarian advocates for poaching your lobster before you grill to ensure a perfect, succulent lobster every time.

In his recipe, which he shared with Food Network, Zakarian poaches his lobsters pre-grill in two different liquid solutions: a seafood bouillon and salted water. To make the seafood bouillon, the Iron Chef brings lemon, salt, carrot, celery, onions, bay leaf, and water to a boil. He lowers his lobsters into the boiling liquid of choice, for two minutes, separates the claws from the body, and returns them for another 6 minutes.

All of the lobster parts are chilled in an ice bath. The bodies with the tails still attached are cut in half using a knife, and the meat is removed from the claws. The tails and claws are then grilled until sweet and tender. 

Poach your lobster before grilling

While some methods of pre-grilling advocate for boiling the lobster meat for less time, Zakarian's method of grilling the lobster lets the crustacean get a head start in the cooking process. With the meat basically cooked, you don't have to worry about the meat sitting on the grill and drying out. Additionally, basting the lobster in butter covers the lobster with fat and flavor that keeps the meat rich and tender — just like a classic butter-poached lobster.

Beyond imbuing the meat with a light, smoky char, grilling a lobster actually brings out the natural sweetness of the meat. This method results in a tender piece of lobster, and unlike boiling and other techniques, allows the heat to gently warm the meat. The goal of grilling the lobster is to slowly heat it up, not getting the temperature extremely hot, where the lobster becomes as rubbery as the bands that come wrapped around its claws. You can control the exposure the lobster has to the heat source by moving it to the warmer or colder part of the grill, as seen fit. To eat like an Iron Chef, serve the grilled lobster with lemon, a fresh salad, and more butter for a deliciously succulent dish.