What To Look For When Buying Lobster Tails

Even if it's a Tuesday night, lobster makes it a special occasion. Whether you're dining out and opt for a lobster roll or you've decided to tackle lobster in your own kitchen, there are a few things to learn about selecting and prepping your lobster. First, "lobster" isn't just one thing. There are at least 16 kinds of lobster eaten around the world. In the U.S. the most common kinds you'll encounter are the Maine lobster, prized for their sweet meat and ample claws, or the Caribbean or Florida spiny lobster, which lack the big claws of their friends to the north.

Cooking a whole lobster can be a bit of an ordeal, but it certainly makes for a decadent experience. Whole lobster is typically either boiled or grilled, and while delicious, the prospect of extracting all the delicious meat can be a chore. By comparison, grilling a lobster tail gives you plenty of luscious meat with much less work. Lobster tail can be butter poached, grilled, or oven roasted, giving you a range of options. But how should you select your lobster tails?

Look for frozen lobster tails

Sometimes fresh is the very best option, and sometimes frozen is just as good. It's knowing which to choose that's the trick. When it comes to lobster tails, All Recipes explains that because most lobster tails are flash frozen directly after being caught, they are still relatively comparable to their fresh counterparts. Even lobster tails sold as fresh may have been previously frozen, so there's no need to seek them out, especially since thawing them is a snap.

Frozen lobster tails can be thawed either in the refrigerator or in cold water, which means you can buy them well ahead of time. Typically, you should plan for one lobster tail per person, depending on size or on how expensive you want your meal to be. Once your lobster tail is thawed, you simply need to prep it for your desired cooking method. One easy and delicious method is to use kitchen shears to cut through the center of the underside of the shell, creating a lengthwise opening, in which you can press in some compound butter. Wrap the lobster tail in foil and bake it at 350 degrees until it reaches 140 degrees internal temperature, according to Maine Lobster Now.