Smoked Lobster Tails

The sweet and buttery flavors of lobster tails are enhanced even more with a little hit of smokey flavor.
cooked smoked lobster tails on the grill

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If you’re looking for something to serve for a special occasion, look no further. Lobster is regarded by many as an absolute delicacy. If you want to elevate them even more try these smoked lobster tails.

Sweet and buttery lobster paired with a slightly smoky finish makes them out of this world. 

Lobster tails are arguably the best part of the lobster and can be a delicious treat to share with friends and family. They can be served as the main attraction or with a delicious steak for a bit of surf and turf

Smoked Lobster Tails #Shorts

Tips for buying Lobster tails

Fresh and live is the preference when buying lobster, but that doesn’t mean frozen tails can’t be amazing as well. The key is to be sourcing the best quality lobster for your budget.

1. Warm water vs. cold water

There are often two types of lobster tails to choose from, warm-water tails and cold-water tails.

You want to go with cold-water lobster tails because they have the best texture and flavor.

If your supplier does not indicate whether the tails are from cold or warm water, you can always tell by where they are sourced from.

Cold-water lobster tails will be from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Maine.

Warm-water tails will be sourced from places like Florida, Latin America, and The Caribbean.

2. It’s all about size

Look for tails between 6oz and 10oz. Most people assume that bigger is better, but that is not the case when it comes to picking lobster.

As lobsters get bigger, they begin to take on a fishier flavor and will lose that sweet, buttery finish that great quality lobster is known for.

2 uncooked lobster tails, back side up on a wooden chopping board

3. Live vs. frozen

If you can get live lobster, that is the way to go. Whole, live lobsters are going to have the best flavor, which is why you will see so many upscale seafood restaurants have a live lobster tank on display – some even let you pick your own!

4. Know Your Seasons

The winter months are the best time to buy fresh lobster, as the peak season spans from the late-Fall months to early-Spring. You are going to get the best quality (both live and frozen) during the winter months, plus you will save yourself a bit of money!

5. Don’t rule out lobster delivery services

For this recipe, we sourced wild Maine lobster tails from Crowd Cow. 

These lobster tails are sourced from Ready Bros Seafood, which is based in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and they pride themselves on putting passion over profit to bring the best tasting lobster to as many people as possible. 

They offer up cold-cracked lobster that is processed cold from start to finish and is fully processed within 12 hours from harvest. 

Top three woods for smoking seafood

1. Apple wood

Apple wood is extremely mild in flavor but imparts a distinct sweetness upon the meat it’s smoking. You will achieve a fruity flavor when you smoke with apple and it’s commonly mixed with heartier woods such as oak or mesquite.

2. Pecan

Pecan wood is a mild wood that provides a sweet flavor with a nutty finish. When you fire up your smoker with pecan you will add a nutty sweetness that will really pick your seafood up a notch.

3. Cherry

Cherry wood is similar to apple in the sense that it produces a sweet and fruity flavor, but cherry is a bit stronger and produces a smokier flavor. Cherry is one of the most popular woods for smoking because it pairs well with most meats and mixes nicely with stronger woods like hickory or mesquite.

How to make smoked lobster tails

1. Make sure lobster tails are thawed

If you were like us and could only source frozen lobster tails the first step is to thaw them.

It’s important to thaw them properly to preserve the meat and keep it as firm and delicious as possible. 

Lobster tails that are defrosted too quickly can end up with a mushy texture and a less-than-pleasant flavor. 

Your best bet for defrosting frozen lobster tails is to be patient and let them defrost in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. The cool temperature of the fridge will keep the meat fresh and firm, and you will be left with delicious lobster that rivals the fresh alternative.

2. Butterfly the tails

Whether or not you choose to butterfly your lobster tails prior to serving is all about personal preference, but we recommend it because it will make the final product easier to eat and give it a beautiful, Instagram-worthy presentation.

Step 1: Start with a pair of sharp kitchen shears and lay your lobster tails out on a cutting board with the shell-side up and the tip of the tail pointed away from you.

lobster tail on wooden bench with scissors cutting shell

Step 2: Slide your shears under the shell in the space between the meat and shell and make a few cuts to split the shell down the middle. Do not attempt to pull the meat out of the shell until the cut is complete.

lobster tail underside on wood chopping board with shears

Step 3: Flip your lobster tail over so it’s shell-side down and pull the shell apart. You should be able to slide your fingers inside of the shell.

lobster tail on wooden chopping board with hand hold the meat

Step 4: Slowly pull the lobster meat out in one movement. The meat should come out in one piece, and you can lay it back down on top of the shell. The meat will still be attached to the shell at the base of the tail

lobster tails with meat sitting on top on a wooden chopping board
The meat on the shell presentation always draws ‘wows’ from guests.

3. Season the tails

Lobster is unique in the sense that it can be seasoned either before or after cooking. Lobster has an inherent sweet and buttery flavor that does not need a heavy dose of seasoning, so we opted to keep the seasoning blend simple.

seasoned lobster tails on wooden chopping board

Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt and black pepper along the top of your lobster meat, then finish it off with your favorite barbecue rub.

Any all-purpose rub will work perfectly for this recipe, and we chose the Reload FULLY LOADED. It’s a premium blend of spices and herbs that is packed full of flavor and pairs perfectly with smoked lobster.

4. Fire up the smoker

Smoke is the last ingredient you will add to your meat, and when you smoke lobster it is best to opt for a sweet, mild wood.

An overpowering wood will impart far too much smoke flavor into your lobster, but a mild wood will give it just a touch of smokiness that pairs beautifully. 

For this recipe, we fired up the Pitboss Pro 1600 smoker to 250°F with Apple wood pellets.

raw seasoned lobster on the grill
At the beginning of the cook the tails are a dark color, once cooked the shell takes on a vibrant orange color.

Once your smoker is preheated, the smoking process is simple. Just place your lobster tails with the meat side facing up directly on the grates of your smoker. They will take about 45 minutes to cook at 250°F.

5. Who doesn’t love butter?

Butter and lobster are a match made in culinary heaven, so you know we couldn’t skip the butter for this delicious smoked lobster.

cast iron pot with butter on a wooden chopping board
Having a small cast iron pot comes in handy when you need to put it on a hot grill.

Place the salted butter, garlic powder, and lemon juice in a small pot and heat until just combined.

Put the salted butter, garlic powder, and lemon juice in a small pot and place the pot next to the lobster on the smoker so the butter melts. Give it a stir to combine and baste the lobster meat every 10-15 minutes with a basting brush.

lobster tails on grill being basted with red brush
Don’t be shy with your butter application because there is almost no such thing as too much when it comes to this recipe.

After about 45 minutes, check your lobster’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer, it should be around 145°F and it’s ready to enjoy.

cooked lobster on wooden chopping board having lemon squeezed on it
Serve it alongside the remaining butter sauce with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and your favorite barbecue sides

Special occasion recipes you might like to try

Smoked Lobster Tails Recipe

cooked smoked lobster tails on the grill

Smoked Lobster Tails

Lobster tails seasoned, basted with butter and lemon and smoked on the grill.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger


  • 4 lobster tails 6-8oz each
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp All-purpose bbq rub
  • 3 tbsp butter salted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • Preheat your smoker to 250°F.
  • Butterfly your lobster tails and pull the meat out of the shell (instructions above).
  • Season the lobster meat with salt, pepper, and your all-purpose BBQ rub.
  • Place the lobster directly on the grates of your smoker with the meat-side facing upwards.
  • In a small pot or pan, combine the butter, garlic powder, and lemon juice.
  • Place the pot on the smoker next to the lobster. The butter should melt within 5 to 10 minutes, leaving you with a simple butter sauce for basting.
  • Baste the lobster every 10-15 minutes with the butter sauce.
  • After 45 minutes of cook time, or when the lobster reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, pull the lobster off the smoker and serve alongside the remaining butter sauce and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.


Smoked Lobster Tails #Shorts


Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 926mg | Potassium: 174mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg
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