Lobster Halves with Tarragon-Lime Butter

Lobster Halves with Tarragon-Lime Butter

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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Lobsters, plentiful in the summer months, make the perfect centerpiece for an alfresco dinner from the grill. Drawn butter, the traditional companion, is spiked here with fresh tarragon and lime juice.

If you prefer not to work with live lobsters, buy them just before you plan to grill them and have the fishmonger cut and clean them for you. Using this method, you can skip the recipes boiling step, but plan on adding a minute or two to the grilling time. You can keep the lobsters refrigerated for up to 2 hours, but no longer, before grilling.


  • 2 live lobsters, each about 2 lb.
  • Melted unsalted butter for brushing

For the tarragon-lime butter

  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice


Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

Just before grilling, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Plunge the live lobsters into the boiling water and leave for a minute or two. Drain well. Lay the lobsters, top side up, on a sturdy cutting board. Using a cleaver or large, heavy knife, cut the lobsters in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the white intestinal veins and the grain sacs from the heads. Brush the cut side of each lobster half with the melted butter.

Place the lobster halves, cut sides up, over the hottest part of a charcoal fire or directly over the heat elements of a gas grill. Cover the grill and cook the lobsters until the meat is opaque throughout but still moist when tested with a knife, 10 to 12 minutes. The shells may char on the bottom.

Meanwhile, make the tarragon-lime butter: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the tarragon and lime juice.

Place a lobster half on each of 4 plates and drizzle with some of the tarragon-lime butter. Serve immediately and pass the remaining butter at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).
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