This Smoked Lobster Tail is marinated with garlic, butter, herbs, and spices and then smoked using any smoker or Traeger pellet grill. The smoke infuses the lobster meat with a rich, smoky flavor and mouth-watering texture.
What Type of Lobster to Use
There are two main types of lobster tails available: cold water and warm water.
Cold-water lobster tails are typically considered to be of higher quality and have a sweeter, more delicate flavor. They come from the North Atlantic (often Maine) and are caught in colder waters. Coldwater lobsters are larger than warm-water and have more meat. Because they live in cold temperatures their meat gets a lot firmer than those from warm water, which will produce tender meat when properly cooked.
Warm water lobster tails are less expensive and have a slightly softer texture and milder flavor. They come from the Caribbean, South Africa, and Australia, and are caught in warmer waters. They are not as sweet and delicate as cold-water lobster tails.
Lobster tails are typically 6-8 oz in size.
If you are looking for a high-end meal or celebrating something special, cold water lobster tails may be the best option. If you are looking for something less expensive, then warm water will work.
While shopping, if the display isn’t clear, you should always ask if it’s from warm or cold water. If they don’t know, I would assume they are warm water try elsewhere.
Lobsters are always dark in color when you buy them. They turn bright orange and red once cooked.
How to Thaw
Thaw in the fridge overnight. You can also place them in cold water for 30 minutes. Be sure to check out our guide on How to Clean and Prepare Lobster Tails here.
Garlic Butter Sauce
To season them I like to use melted butter, minced garlic, parsley, fresh lemon, and Old Bay Seasoning. You can use whatever you like.
How to Butterfly Lobster Tails
My favorite way to serve the dish is to butterfly it. If you’ve never done it, it may take some practice. Butterflying involves cutting it lengthwise down the center, leaving the tail fin intact, so that it can be opened like a book.
This method also allows heat from the smoker to penetrate every piece of the tail’s meat. It allows the lobster tail to cook evenly, so you don’t overcook it. It also looks beautiful. Check out our detailed step by step tutorial on How to Butterfly Lobster Tails here.
- Pat the lobster dry.
- Use kitchen shears to cut through the top of the shell, starting at the base of the tail and cutting all the way to the end of the tail. Stop just before the fin of the tail.
- Flip the tail over and then press down onto the ribs. Crack each one. This will work wonders at making it easier to pull the meat out on the other side.
- Carefully open the shell like a book, without cutting through the meat. Slip your fingers under the meat and the shell and lift it out to prop over the shell.
- Remove the vein that runs through the center of the meat.
How to Smoke Lobster Tail
Full detailed instructions are below in the recipe card.
- Pat the lobster dry and use kitchen shears to butterfly the lobster tails.
- Combine the butter, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and Old Bay Seasoning. Brush it over the tails.
- Smoke the lobster tails.
What Type of Wood/Pellets to Use
Mesquite or the Traeger signature blend pellets will work great. You can also use maple or apple.
300 degrees. This gives it a little more time for the smoky flavor to penetrate.
Cook Time/How Long to Cook
Your cook time is going to vary based on the size of your lobster tails. It can take anywhere from 25-30 minutes for smaller 5-6 ounce tails or an hour or more for colossal jumbo lobster tails that range 16-20 ounces.
How to Tell When it’s Finished Cooking
The most precise way to know when the lobster is done cooking is to insert a probe or meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tail. When the internal temperature reaches between 130 to 140ºF the lobster is done. Here are more tips:
- The color of the meat should change from translucent to opaque white.
- The meat should be firm, but not rubbery.
- The tail should curl under and the meat should be easy to pull away from the shell.
Be careful not to overcook the lobster tail. Overcooked lobster is rubbery and lacks taste and flavor.
How to Reheat
The best way to reheat is in the air fryer at 350 degrees until warm or seared in a pan with butter. The more you reheat it, the tougher the texture will become so be cautious.
Pair With These Recipes
More Smoked Seafood Recipes
More Seafood Recipes
Smoked Lobster Tail
- 2 lobster tails 6-8 ounces each is standard size.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter See notes.
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves Minced.
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning Feel free to use your favorite seafood seasoning.
- Preheat smoker to 300 degrees.
- Pat the lobster dry and use kitchen shears to butterfly the lobster tails. Take the shears and slice through the top shell down the middle until you reach the base of the tail (fin). You’ll also cut into the meat, which will butterfly it and cause it to sit better on the shell.
- Then flip the lobster tail over and press down on the ribs until you hear them crack. This will help release the meat when you go to butterfly it.
- Turn the lobster tail over and open up the shell. Remove the vein from the lobster if it hasn’t been deveined and wash the tail.
- Press along the edges of the shell on both sides to loosen up the meat. Keep the meat attached to the shell. Lift up the meat from the shell and lay it over the shell.
- Combine the butter, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and Old Bay Seasoning. Brush it over the tails. I like to use half of the butter sauce for when the lobsters go on the smoker and then I drizzle the remaining sauce over the lobster tails once they have finished cooking.
- The amount of garlic butter you will need will vary based on the size of your lobster tails. Add more if necessary.
- Smoke the lobster tails until they reach an internal temperature of 130-145 degrees. The tail should be completely white with no grey translucent color.
- Feel free to double the recipe and ingredients. Cook the amount that you need.
- The amount of butter used in this recipe assumes more dipping of butter once the lobster is cooked. Feel free to reduce the ingredients in half or by whatever suits your taste.
- Cook time will vary depending on the size of the lobster you use. You will need to watch it and check on it as it cooks, to avoid overcooking it. If you overcook the lobster it will be rubbery and tough.
- If you’ve never butterflied lobster, it may take some practice. You may not get it right the first or second time.
- Butterflying allows heat from the smoker, to penetrate every piece of the tail’s meat. It allows the lobster tail to cook evenly, so you don’t overcook it.
- I get colossal, large lobster tails from Lobsteranywhere.