How to Cut a Lobster Tail

Reading Time: 3 minutes Back to 3 minutes version

lobster tail, grilled steak and butter sauce

Photo by goyumcha licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Learning how to cut lobsters and take it apart requires some practice. With such a wide range of ways to cook lobster, there are several ways you may need to know how to cut it to match the cooking method. The lobster tail is, undeniably, the most popular portion of a lobster’s body to eat because of its thick, tender, tasty meat that can be fried, grilled, or baked to perfection. Of course, with any of these methods, you’ll first need to cut the tail!

We’re going to teach you how to butterfly a lobster tail, which is a fancy way of saying that you’re cutting it down its center to allow it to spread into two halves and let the heat penetrate. Learning to butterfly lobster will help you get the perfect cook no matter which method you prefer.

Why It’s Important to Know How to Cut Lobster Tails

When you butterfly lobster tail, you cut the crustacean through its shell and into the meat, essentially splitting it into two halves. Since lobster tails are so thick, it can be tough to cook them all the way through without splitting them this way. You might be able to cook them, but you’ll end up with tough outer meat while the inner meat has barely reached the proper temperature. Butterflying allows heat from the grill, oven, or fryer to penetrate every piece of the tail’s meat for a more even cook.

Butterflying also helps you create more dishes with your lobster tails. Keep it simple with a couple of pats of butter placed on the split while you bake lobster for a buttery, delectable finish. Or, stuff the split with your favorite lobster stuffing for a tasty, complete meal.

How to Cut a Lobster Tail

Here’s how to butterfly a lobster tail for safe, even cooking and convenient prepping:

  1. Using kitchen shears, cut the lobster tail down its length, from the thickest part of the tail to the ending fins. Make sure you cut through the meat, too, but don’t cut the bottom part of the shell.
  2. Use your hands to gently pull apart the shell and meat where you just cut to separate the halves. Be careful not to break the bottom shell.
  3. Use your fingers to gently pull meat up from the bottom of the shell without removing it entirely. The meat should remain attached to the end portion of the tail by the fins. Pull the meat just out of the shell enough to be slightly exposed.

Congratulations – you’ve butterflied a lobster tail! You can now add some butter and your favorite spices and start cooking it. Paprika, garlic, and a little salt and pepper are perfect additions for a simple lobster tail.

Conclusion: Cutting Lobster Tails Correctly

Butterflying isn’t the only way to cut a lobster tail, but it’s probably the most common. Some people prefer to pull all the meat from the shell, although this can be tricky to do without drying out the lobster. Others prefer to split the tail right down the middle and cook each half in their shell. There’s not necessarily a wrong way to cut your tails, but butterflying them can give you the most foolproof, even cook to enjoy.

Take a look at the Maine Lobster House selection of lobster tails and other seafood you can order online to be enjoyed at home. Our lobster tails will give you all the practice you need to become a butterflying pro!