Go Back
+ servings

Greg's Butter Basted Grilled Lobster Recipe

Grilled half lobster
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
3.46 from 24 votes
Everybody's had boiled lobster, but I'm here to tell you that lobster is at its apex fresh from the grill. Here's how to do it.

Serve with: sparkling wine.

Main Course


Servings: 2


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 whole live Maine lobsters, each about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 lemon wedges (optional)
About the herbs. Fresh tarragon is nice, or herbs de Provence. I generally avoid garlic or shallots because they can overshadow the sweet lobster meat. If you use dried herbs, use 1/2 teaspoon.
About the butter. If you use salted butter, cut the salt in half. Remember, you can always add salt but you can't take it away.
About the salt. Remember, Morton coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. Prepare the basting sauce by melting the butter over medium heat or right on your grill, and add the rest of the ingredients. Let the flavors blend for a bit but be careful not to let the butter turn brown.
  • You can kill the lobster quickly and painlessly by "pithing" it. To pith, place the lobster in a pan facing you. Place the tip of a sharp heavy chef's knife on its back about 1/2" behind the eyes with the sharp edge facing you. Plunge the knife right into its "brain" all the way through and slice downward cutting the head right between the eyes and severing all major nerves. You may see it continue to twitch afterwards, but trust me, it is quite dead and, because you've cut the nerves, it feels no pain. Then flip it over with its legs in the air, and cut the lobster in half along the mid line. Save any juices that emerge, and mix into the basting sauce. Be careful to hold it firmly so it doesn't slip around.
  • Remove the rubber bands from the claws. Remove the roe and tomalley from the head area. Roe, sometimes called coral, is a sac of eggs in females. They are dark green or black when fresh, and reddish or orange when cooked. You may even see some in the tail if the female was laying. The tomalley is part of the digestive system and it is pale green. Beginning in 2008 the US Food & Drug Administration issued a warning against eating the tomalley because it is the filter system of the lobster. All the experts say there is absolutely no problem with the meat because the tomalley is so good at what it does. Some folks look for the digestive tract in the tail and try to remove as they do in shrimp, but Blonder says that most supermarket lobsters to have pretty clean digestive tracts compared to fresh off the boat, probably because they have been kept in carefully filtered tanks for a while.
    Diagram of split lobster
  • Fire up. Preheat the grill with a direct heat zone about medium hot, in the 400°F plus range.
  • Cook. Melt the butter in a pan with the olive oil. Add the parsley, tarragon, chives, salt, and pepper. You do this right on the grill.
  • Place the lobsters, shell side down, on a medium hot grill over direct heat. Position the shell between two rungs in your cooking grate to hold it from rolling. You may have to manipulate the large claw, or place two halves side-by-side, to keep them from rolling. Some folks start them meat side down for 2 to 3 minutes to get a bit more smoke flavor and some grill marks, but that tends to dry them out a bit. Blonder usually cooks shell down all the way.
  • Baste the meat with the butter, close the lid, and open it to baste once again after 3 to 4 minutes.
  • When the meat in the thickest part of the tail hits a minimum of 145°F, and it has changed from translucent to pearly white, after perhaps 6 to 10 minutes, the lobster is done. Baste one last time.
  • Serve. Remove from the heat and then crack open the claws with a mallet, rolling pin, meat tenderizer, hammer, empty wine bottle, or use kitchen shears. Serve with any leftover sauce for dunking, and squeeze the lemon wedges on the meat if you wish. You can suck on the feathery gills and the small legs, or you can leave them alone and use them for making lobster bisque (see sidebar). Leftover lobster meat is great on a sandwich with mayo, and it is especially good mixed in with mac and cheese.
  • When you are done with your grilled lobster feast, save the shells, especially the upper carapace with the gills, and the legs. There's no way to get all the meat and flavor out of them. In fact, when you eat your lobster, leave a little meat in there so you can make lobster bisque, a heavenly cream soup.