Step-by-Step Guide: How to Cut Lobster Tail

60 views 1:09 pm 0 Comments August 1, 2023
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Cut Lobster Tail

Lobster tail is a delicious and versatile seafood option, but the process of cutting it can be intimidating for many. However, how to cut lobster tail? You can easily master the art of cutting the lobster tail and creating mouthwatering dishes with ease. In this blog post, we will provide you with a concise and factual introduction to help you become a pro at cutting lobster tails. We’ve got you covered, from the tools you need to the techniques you should follow. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to cutting lobster tail like a pro.

Introduction to cutting the lobster tail and its importance in cooking.

Butterflying a lobster tail involves cutting open the shell to expose the meat underneath. This technique enhances the presentation of the lobster and ensures even cooking. It is a practice commonly seen in high-class restaurants but can also be done at home. By following the step-by-step instructions, anyone can easily learn how to butterfly a lobster tail. This method of preparation allows for flexibility in cooking methods, whether it’s baking, broiling, roasting, or grilling.

Introduction to cutting the lobster tail and its importance in cooking.

The butterfly style also makes removing the meat from the shell easier, making it more enjoyable to eat. Additionally, butterflying lobster tails can be done in advance, making it a convenient option for hosting parties or events. Learning how to butterfly a lobster tail is a valuable culinary skill that adds aesthetic appeal and improved taste to this exquisite seafood. 

Equipment and ingredients needed for cutting the lobster tail.

To cut a lobster tail, you will need a few essential pieces of equipment and ingredients. First and foremost, you will need kitchen shears, which are safer and easier to use compared to a sharp knife. With kitchen shears, you’ll have better control and reduce the risk of accidentally slicing into the meat. Using a knife may not give you the precision and control needed for this task. 

In addition to kitchen shears, you will also need lobster tails. The size of the lobster tails can vary, ranging from 3 oz to 8 oz. It’s important to choose high-quality lobster tails for the best results. Look for lobster tails that have firm shells and a moist appearance. Avoid any tails that have discoloration or a strong ammonia-like odor, as these are signs of spoilage. It’s recommended to buy sustainably sourced lobster tails from cold water regions near Maine or Eastern Canada, as they are known to have the best flavor. 

If desired, you can also have some additional ingredients on hand to enhance the flavor of the lobster tail. This can include butter and fresh lemon juice, which can be used for seasoning and serving. 

The equipment needed for cutting a lobster tail consists of kitchen shears, while the main ingredient is the lobster tail itself. Ensuring that you have the right equipment and high-quality lobster tails will contribute to a successful cutting process. 

Step-by-step instructions on how to cut lobster tail using kitchen shears:

Lobster tails are a delicious seafood delicacy that can be enjoyed in various dishes. However, removing the shell can be a daunting task for many. Luckily, cutting lobster tail can be a breeze with the right technique and a pair of kitchen shears. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cut lobster tails using kitchen shears:

Step 1: Prepare your kitchen shears

Make sure your kitchen shears are clean and sharp. This will ensure a smooth and precise cut.

Step 2: Position the lobster tail

Place the lobster tail with the belly side facing up. This is the softer, flatter side of the tail.

Step 3: Start cutting

Hold the lobster tail firmly with one hand, and with the other hand, position the kitchen shears at the front of the tail, where the meat is connected to the shell. Carefully cut through the shell, applying gentle pressure. Aim to cut from the front to the back of the lobster tail.

Step 4: Make the second cut

Flip the lobster tail over and repeat the cutting process on the top side of the shell. This will ensure that the meat is easily separated from the shell.

Step 5: Separate the meat from the shell

After making the two cuts, gently pull the shell apart to separate it from the meat. Take your time and be careful not to damage the meat.

Step 6: Trim any excess shell

Once the meat is separated, you may notice some small pieces of shell attached to the meat. Use the kitchen shears to trim away any excess shells carefully. Be sure to remove all shell fragments for a smooth dining experience.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy

Now that the lobster tail is cut and the meat is ready, you can use it in your favorite recipes. Whether you’re grilling, baking, or pan-searing the lobster tail, this method ensures easy access to the tender meat without any hassle.

By following these simple steps, you can confidently cut lobster tail using kitchen shears. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get it right. With a little patience and the right tools, you’ll be enjoying the succulent meat in no time. Happy cooking! 

Tips and tricks for a perfect cut:

Cutting a lobster tail properly is essential for achieving delicious and evenly cooked lobster meat. Whether you’re planning to grill, broil, steam, or bake the lobster tail, these tips and tricks will help you master the art of cutting lobster tails with ease. Get ready to impress your guests with a gourmet seafood feast!

Tip 1: Gather Your Tools:

To successfully cut a lobster tail, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Kitchen shears or a sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Clean, dry kitchen towels or paper towels

Tip 2: Choose the Right Lobster Tails:

Look for lobster tails in your local grocery store’s fish department or freezer case. Alternatively, you can buy them online from a reputable fishmonger. Opt for spiny lobster tails, which are meatier and often marketed as rock lobster tails. Plan on one tail per person, approximately 8 ounces in weight.

Tip 3: To Butterfly or Not to Butterfly:

Most recipes call for butterflying lobster tails, where the shell is cut through but remains intact at the bottom. However, butterflying may not be necessary for certain cooking methods, such as boiling. If your recipe specifies butterflied tails, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Using Kitchen Shears or a Sharp Knife:

Hold the lobster tail with the top of the hard shell facing up. Starting from the thickest part of the tail, carefully cut down the center of the shell, ensuring that you cut through the meat as well. Stop just before reaching the bottom shell, and avoid cutting through the wide end of the tail.

Step 2: Open Lobster Tail to Separate the Meat:

Using your fingers and thumbs, gently spread apart the two halves of the tail, keeping the meat attached near the tail end. Be cautious not to break the bottom shell.

Step 3: Lift the Meat over the Shell:

Gently separate the meat from the back of the shell, keeping the base attached to the tail. Lift the meat over the shell and squeeze the shell halves back together beneath the meat, allowing the meat to rest on top of the shell.

Now your lobster tail is ready to cook using your preferred method – grilling, broiling, steaming, or baking. The butterflying technique allows the heat to penetrate the meat evenly, resulting in a juicy and tender delicacy.

Pro Tips:

  • Thaw frozen lobster tails in the refrigerator before cutting and cooking.
  • Consider pan-searing the lobster tail instead for a quick and elegant stovetop cooking method.
  • For added zest, experiment with different flavor combinations such as garlic butter, lemon herb, or chili lime.

Different cooking methods for the lobster tail and how the cut affects the cooking process:

You can use several different cooking methods to cook lobster tails, and each method will result in a slightly different flavor and texture. 

Boiling: Boiling lobster tails is a quick and efficient cooking method. However, the flavor of the lobster can become diluted in the boiling water. To enhance the flavor, you can add seasonings to the boiling water.

Steaming: Steaming lobster tails is a preferred method for many people because it provides a more gentle heat and cooking process. Steaming helps retain the lobster’s natural flavors and keeps the meat tender. Steamed lobster tails are typically seasoned after cooking.

Baking: Baking lobster tails in the oven is another popular cooking method. Baking with a bit of water or wine on the bottom of the pan creates a gentle steaming effect, resulting in a tender, almost poached texture. Baking also lightly browns the shell and meat, adding depth to the flavor.

Broiling: Broiling lobster tails gives them a nice smoky and charred flavor. The high heat quickly cooks the meat, so keeping a close eye on the cooking process is essential to prevent overcooking. Broiling can be done with the meat still in the shell or with the shell cut open.

The way you cut the lobster tail can also affect the cooking process. 

  • Butterflying the lobster tail by cutting it down the middle and pulling the meat out creates an attractive presentation and makes it easier to season the flesh. This method is commonly used when baking or broiling lobster tails.
  • Cutting the top of the shell down the center and placing the meat on top is another way to present the lobster tail. This method is commonly used when grilling lobster tails.

The cooking method you choose for your lobster tail will depend on your preference and the flavor and texture you desire.


Q: How do you butterfly a lobster tail?

A: To butterfly a lobster tail, start by holding the tail with one hand or placing it on a cutting board with the top of the hard shell facing up. Then, using a strong pair of kitchen shears, cut through the top of the shell with the bottom blade right above the bottom shell. Be careful not to cut through the bottom of the tail shell, the wide end of the tail, or the tail fan.

Q: When cutting a lobster tail, how do you separate the meat from the shell?

A: After cutting through the top of the shell, use your thumbs and fingers to gently pry and spread the halves of the tail apart, keeping the meat attached near the end of the tail. This will allow the lobster tail meat to be visible. If you’re butterflying the tail, once the tail shell is cut, use a sharp knife to cut down about one-quarter of the way into the tail to expose the intestinal vein. Pull it out and discard it. Then, gently separate the meat from the shell, keeping the flesh attached only at the tail, and lift the meat over the shell, allowing the shell to close up underneath the meat.


I hope you enjoyed learning about how to cut open a lobster tail and the importance of this technique in cooking. Now that you have mastered cutting lobster tails, you can create delicious and perfectly cooked lobster dishes in your own kitchen. The options are endless, whether you choose to butterfly, fan cut, split, piggyback, or cut into rounds. So why not impress your guests or treat yourself to a restaurant-quality lobster meal at home? And if you’re ever in the mood to indulge in beautifully prepared lobster dishes, be sure to visit Red Caboose Restaurant, where we take pride in serving the finest seafood delicacies.


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