Food & Wine Friday: 6 Tips For Making The Best Grilled Lobster

This Week In Food & Wine6 Tips For Making The Best Grilled Lobster

From the store to the grill, we’re going to share with you a lesson in Lobster we too had to learn. Let’s call it Lobster 101. We’ve all been there, it’s a sunny afternoon, the errands are done and it’s time to grill. But this time the usual choices, like chicken, beef or pork ribs, or veggie kabobs aren’t going to cut it. You want to grill something special, something that rewards you and your guests for the long workweek. No, you need something that says, “This isn’t just any BBQ. This one’s gotta be special!” And then it hits you, “We’re gonna have lobster!”

By now you’re probably trying to think back to the last time you cooked lobster, if ever, and you’re concerned you’ll mess it up. Sure, boiling lobster is easy but barbequing lobster; do people not on the Food Network actually do that? First, and most importantly yes, people other than famous TV chefs barbecue lobster. Secondly, worry not friends of THEGRAPE. We’ve got you covered! Together we’re going to make you look great! Or should we say GRAPE?!

As one of the more expensive delicacies, lobster can be intimidating. But where’s the fun in being afraid of fine food? Besides, even if you make a mistake or two, at least you’ve now learned what not to do. This is why we’re going to help you celebrate the weekend with one of the most delicious sea food and wine pairings! To make lobster a little less intimidating, we’d like to share with you (a) 5 buying tips; (b) 3 delicious wine pairings; and (3) a recipe for grilled lobster that will have your guests and your taste buds singing your praises as you sit atop the seafood world.


5 Tips For Buying The Best Lobster

  1. There Are 2 Types of Lobster

There are soft-shell and hard-shell lobsters. This is determined by whether or not a lobster has recently shed or not. If the lobster has shed its regenerating shell it tends to be a bit softer; hence the name, soft shell lobster. The meat of a soft-shell lobster, while also softer, tends to be a little sweeter than the meat of a hard-shell lobster. Keep in mind, though, hard-shell lobsters are usually heartier and easier to cook.

  1. Check the Under-Carriage

You should always inspect the underside or belly of your lobster before purchase. When checking underbody, including the claws, you should see a vibrant red color. Ideally, your looking for a lobster that has few scrapes on the underbelly, which tells you it has had a recent shedding and most likely has the softer and sweeter meat.

  1. No Odor = A Good Lobster

When a lobster is alive it should not smell fishy. Feel free, when choosing your lobster, to give it a sniff.

  1. Antennae Matters

A little known secret to buying a lobster in a grocery store is to look at the lobster’s antennae. More often than not, you can tell if a lobster has been in a holding tank for a long time because other lobsters have nibbled their antennae down. Ideally, you’d like to purchase lobsters that have very long antennae because they are new and fresh.

  1. Time and Location

The two best and most common types of lobster are Maine lobster and Canadian lobster. Both are known for their savory flavor and can be found in most supermarkets. To save some, we suggest you buy Canadian lobster at the beginning of the year, month to month, and the end of the year, month to month. As for Maine lobster, it is at its best and most more affordable in the middle of the year, between June and September.


Tip #6: Lobster & Wine Pairings

Now that you have the confidence to buy the perfect lobster, let’s sweeten the deal with some mouthwatering wines. We believe pairing your food with great wine is as important as picking the right food for the occasion but this doesn’t need to be difficult or intimidating. As with most types of fish or seafood you can count on white wine being a great complement and lobster is no exception.

With lobster you can be certain butter will be involved and this should help make the choice of white wines even simpler. Yes, Chardonnay! A big part of the Chardonnay winemaking process involves aging the world’s most popular white wine in oak barrels, which are a big reason for the toasty, buttery flavors you taste. Because of this, below we offer the following wine pairing suggestions for your barbecued lobster:


Grilled Lobster Recipe

Aright, now that we’ve chosen the perfect lobster and selected three delicious wines, it’s time to start the barbequing. Here’s a simple grilled lobster recipe to catapult your meal into the realm of heavenly flavor! In addition to the main course, we recommend starting your meal with a fresh green salad and adding grilled asparagus and/or corn on the cob as sides for your barbecued lobster.



  • 4 live, whole 1 ½ to 2 pound lobsters OR 4 frozen lobster tails, thawed
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Butter

Note: If you’ve purchased live lobsters, make sure they are dead before you cook them.



  1. Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.
  2. Brush olive oil on both sides of the lobsters and set them bottom side down on the cooking grates.
  3. Grill until the shells are bright red and the protein in the juices that seeps from the shells turns opaque white and thickens.
  4. 8 to 10 minutes for a 1 ½ lb. lobster
  5. 12 to 14 minutes for a 2 lb. lobster.
  6. Brush the lobsters with butter
  7. Remove the lobsters from the grill and let them cool for a few minutes.
  8. Lastly, serve warm with the dipping sauce of your choice. We suggest you keep it simple and tasty with some good ol’ organic butter.


Note: When grilling the lobsters, there’s no need to turn them over, but if you feel you must, only turn them once and start by cooking with shells up.


If you’re looking for sides to round out this delicious meal suggests a small green salad with delicious fruits mixed in, like honeydew slice, chunks of pineapple, or other zesty favorites and grilled red potatoes. Below are our Grape Certified wine suggestion(s). There you go! That wasn’t as intimidating as you thought, right? We hope your grilling confidence is at an all time high and you and your company have made this BBQ one to remember. We encourage you to keep “Living THEGRAPE Life!” We’d love to hear, in the comments, how you enjoyed this food and wine pairing, so go ahead and give it a try. Then come back and share with THEGRAPE your lobster grilling experience. From everyone at THEGRAPE, Cheers!

Our Grape Certified Wine Recommendation(s):


2014 Jam Cellars Butter Chardonnay - THEGRAPE

Jam Cellars Butter Chardonnay ($15)

Wine StoresBevMoTotal Wine & Local Wine Stores

Wine Rating: Grape Certified Gold


Au Contraire Russian River Chardonnay 2013 ($19)

Wine Stores: and Total Wine

Wine Rating: Grape Certified Gold


Catena Chardonnay 2013 ($19)

Wine Stores: and Total Wine

Wine Rating: Grape Certified Gold


Neyers Carneros Chardonnay 2013 ($30)

Wine Stores: and Total Wine

Wine Rating: Grape Certified Gold


Grilled Lobster Tails w/ Butter (Wine)!
  • Cost & Difficulty
  • Prep & Cook Time
  • Flavor
  • Wine Pairing


Who doesn't love a nice grilled lobster tail, especially when paired with a delicious Grape Certified wine? We think you'll love this grilled lobster recipe paired with chardonnay. Add a small green salad and grilled red potatoes for a filling meal. Don't forget to grab a bottle or two of our Grape Certified wine recommendations, which will only serve to bring out a mouthful of additional flavors when the lobster and white wine mix. Cheers!

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