How to Butterfly a Lobster Tail
You can use this technique with either Maine Lobster Tails or Caribbean Lobster Tails purchased from Crazy Lobster & Shellfish Co.
Before you begin the process of butterflying or cooking, the lobster tail should be at the right temperature. If it was just inside the freezer, make sure it defrosts completely so you can use it. If it is not thawed completely the Meat will stick to the Tail. In terms of cutting implements, you'll need kitchen shears to get through the lobster's thick shell. Please be very careful!
1. Cut Open the Shell
Place the lobster tail shell side up on the table. Line up the bottom blade right under the shell, not within the meat itself. Hold the tail with one hand while you slowly cut down the center of the shell with the other. Continue cutting the upper-shell all the way to the base of the tail. Do not touch the tail fan or under-shell, they should be left attached and intact. If you don't own kitchen shears, you'll also be able to cut through the shell with a sharp knife, but be exceptionally careful so you don't slice through the bottom of the shell.
2. Pry Apart the Shell
The next step is opening the shell. Grab each side of the lobster shell with your thumbs and fingers to further spread the halves apart. You'll need to be gentle when doing so, because you want to pry away the shell so it's loose, but keep the back of the meat connected to the under-shell. After you've done this, the meat will be clearly visible.
3. Pull Out the Meat
Now you're going to separate the meat. Press down with your thumbs and push the lobster meat apart with the shell halves. Then carefully tug the meat so it comes off the bottom shell, still keeping the back attached near the tail fan. Pull the meat upward, lay it on top of the shell, and squeeze the shell halves close together beneath it. Make a small slit in the top of the meat so you can continue to fold it over the shell.
4. Marinade and Skewer the Tail
Professionals recommend broiling your lobster tail after you butterfly it, but as we said above, baking, roasting, or grilling are solid choices as well. If you want to cut a few extra slits in the meat for presentation, go ahead. Otherwise, the lobster tail is ready to be brushed with butter and seasoned. Drizzle marinade over the tail before cooking, and consider using a wooden or metal skewer — inserted lengthwise — to keep the meat flat.
5. Cook the Lobster Tail
The heat from the stove or barbecue grill will cause the meat to puff up even further over the shell halves. About halfway through cooking, you can take out the lobster tail and baste it with more marinade to heighten the flavor. If you're grilling the tail, the internal temperature of the meat should reach 135°F, while baked tails should be between 140 and 145°F. After cooking is complete, you can remove the skewer and the tail will remain flat.
Why Butterfly Lobster Tails?
The process of butterflying lobster tails is easy, as long as you follow the directions closely, and preparing the tail this way has numerous advantages. Marinating in advance is simple, and basting midway through cooking is a breeze. The meat will retain its own juices, yet fully absorb your marinade, and it will also soak in the smoke from grilling or complementary flavors from broiling, roasting, or baking.
Monitoring the meat in a butterflied lobster tail is no trouble at all. As it cooks, you'll be able to check the temperature and watch it turn a beautiful golden color. When you take it out of the pan or off the grill, the meat will stay flat and easy to serve for your family or friends. They'll come away impressed, not only with the taste, but with the presentation itself.