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Lobster on the Grill
By Charlie Burke

Lobsters, boiled at the beach in seawater, combine their sweet meat with the
briny flavor of the ocean for a perfect New England seafood treat. For most of us,
however, the opportunity to cook lobsters at the beach is rare, and most settle for
boiling them in salted tap water at home. I’ve always felt that this dilutes their
flavor and now steam them if they are to be served in the shell.

My new favorite way to prepare them is on the grill. This concentrates the flavor
because the lobster cooks in its own juices, undiluted by water, and permits the
addition of herbs and seasoned butter to complement the lobster meat. It
requires more preparations and is not, perhaps, for everyone because the
lobsters are split before cooking. They can be plunged into boiling water for a
minute or two and then split, but placing them into the freezer for an hour
renders them immobile, and they are swiftly dispatched in a more humane
manner than either boiling or steaming. For the easy way out, ask your lobster
purveyor to carry out the task for you, but they must be kept iced and cooked
soon thereafter.

I cook over hardwood charcoal, and the smoky flavor of the charred shells adds
an extra dimension. Determining when they are done is simple: remove them
from the heat when the tail meat is white. Presentation is striking, and they are
much easier to eat than whole lobsters because the shells become brittle when

For two servings:

2 lobsters, preferably 1 ¾ - 2 pounds
4 tablespoons butter
Optional: 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon or chervil (or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges

Place lobsters into freezer for 1 hour. To prepare, place lobsters on a cutting
block, place the point of a sharp chef’s knife in the midline an inch or so behind
the eyes with the blade facing forward. Plunge the knife straight down through
the head and bring the handle down, dividing the head which kills the lobster
immediately. Turn the lobster on its back, slicing through the body down to the
shell. Turn the knife and split the tail, leaving the top of the shell intact .Crack
the thick part of the claws with a knife or cleaver.  Spread the lobster open,
removing the sac at the head and the intestinal vein from the tail. Remove green
liver and reserve; do the same with the black roe if the lobster is female. Both are
flavorful when added to the butter but may be omitted.

Prepare medium - hot charcoal fire or heat gas grill to medium – high. Melt
butter over medium heat in a small pan and add garlic or shallot if using. Cook
until soft and mix in roe and liver, if using. Cook until roe is bright red. Stir to
mix thoroughly and add herbs. Spread butter mixture over the tail and body of
each lobster and pour a small amount into the cracked claws. Sprinkle with sea
salt and ground pepper.

Place lobsters, shell side down, over the coals and cook, covered with a
disposable aluminum roasting pan or a sheet of foil, checking frequently after 5
– 6 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending upon the size of the lobster, its
temperature when placed on the fire, and, of course, the sizes of the lobster and
the fire. Remove each as the tail meat becomes opaque white.

Serve this intensely flavored lobster with baked potato and salad now, but soon
we will have fresh sweet corn and new potatoes which perfectly complement
this treasure from the sea. For purists the herb butter can be omitted; simply
roast the lobster with a brushing of plain butter and serve with melted butter
and lemon wedges.

About the author:

An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of the New
Hampshire Farmer'sMarket Association, president of the NH Farm to Restaurant
Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along with his wife,
Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in
Sanbornton, NH.
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Lobsters, prepared on the grill...Cody approves! Click here for more recipes...
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...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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Charlie Burke