JOPLIN, Mo. — I need to get one thing straight: At our house, we are not exactly lobster people. Lobster people live somewhere on the cape and wear sweaters around their necks, even in August. They refer to each other as “my good man,” with a straight face.
We live in the Ozarks, wear Jimmy Buffett T-shirts, call each other “bud” and, when we are really feeling sophisticated, we’ll drink beer out of a glass.
But just because we’re not lobster people doesn’t mean we can’t spring for some every now and then. Normally, at our house, we buy for lobster on New Year’s Eve. But the other day I was reading a story about the lobster glut in Maine and how the abundance of lobster had caused the price of the crustacean to plummet. The story made me break out with a serious case of lobster fever.
Unfortunately, the lobster price break being seen in Maine doesn’t appear to have made its way to the Midwest yet. And even if it does, the low prices would apply only to whole Maine lobsters, not lobster tails. Locally it appears that the price per pound for lobster has been holding steady and has not spiked in recent months.
I was able to pick up two large, 10-ounce frozen lobster tails for well under $30. They certainly weren’t cheap, but not bad for a one-time summer splurge. Normally, when we prepare lobster tails on New Year’s Eve, I steam them, but when I made my purchase last week I had a different plan: I was going to grill the lobsters.
There are two great things about grilling lobsters. First of all, grilling lobster tails is incredibly easy. Second of all, grilled lobster tails are incredibly good.
About all you need on hand to grill lobster tails is a moderately hot fire, some garlic, butter and lemon. If your lobster tails are frozen, as mine were, you can thaw them for a day or so in the refrigerator, or you can place them in a warm bowl of water. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to make sure they are completely thawed. If not, the lobster tails may take long to cook and may not get done evenly.
To make a basting sauce, melt butter in a microwave or slowly heat some in a small pan on the stove. Once the butter is melted, simply add minced garlic and fresh squeezed lemon juice. You may also add green onions, some herbs such as like dill and thyme, or even a dash of hot sauce. Because I really like lobster, I tend to keep my basting sauce simple.
Once the sauce is prepared, it’s time to slice the tails. There are two basic methods to halving lobster tails. You can lay the tail, bottom side down, on a cutting board and, using kitchen scissors, cut through the top shell about halfway through the lobster meat. Or you can lay the lobster bottom side up and cut the tail in half lengthwise. Either way works fine.
After cutting the lobsters, baste the meat with a generous amount of the sauce, and place them on a grill set at medium-high heat. Add a little bit more butter sauce, then lay the lobsters meat side down, on the grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the lobster tails over, and brush them with the butter mixture several times during the next 3 to 6 minutes until the lobster meat is firm and opaque.
Then simply transfer the lobsters to plates, melt some more butter, cut a few lemon slices and dig in.
Just try not to get any lobster on the sweater around your neck.
Mike Pound is a columnist for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe. Contact him at email@example.com.