This Easy Smoked Lobster Tail is cooked to perfection and drizzled in an Old Bay lemon garlic butter sauce. Whip these up using any smoker or Traeger electric pellet grill for holidays, weeknight dinners, or any occasion!
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.
What Type of Lobster to Use
When purchasing lobster, always look for cold water lobster. It usually comes from the East Coast or Canada. Maine lobster tails are a big deal because the water is so cold there.
Coldwater lobsters are larger than warm water lobsters 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 is often mushy with a fishy taste, and sometimes has an ammonia smell.
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 the worst and try elsewhere. Cold water is more expensive. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for and quality comes at a price.
Lobsters are always dark in color when you buy them. They turn bright orange and red once cooked.
I also look for wild-caught, which can sometimes be harder to find outside of specialty stores like Sprouts or even Whole Foods (which is why I order my lobster from Butcher Box).
How to Thaw From Frozen
Thaw the lobsters in the fridge overnight. You can also place them in cold water for 30 minutes.
Garlic Butter Sauce
To season the lobster tails 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 lobster is to butterfly it. If you’ve never done it, it may take some practice. Butterflying allows heat from the grill, oven, or air fryer 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.
Pat the lobster tail dry. With kitchen shears, starting at the open end of the tail, cut a lengthwise slit through the center, top of the shell, stopping just before the fin of the tail. You’ll also cut into the meat, which will butterfly it and cause it to sit better on the shell.
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.
Slip your fingers under the meat and the shell and lift it out to prop over the shell.
How to Smoke Lobster Tail
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- 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.
Best Wood/Pellets to Use
I like to use mesquite or the Traeger signature blend pellets. You can also use maple or apple.
I use 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 the Lobster is Done
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.
The tail should be completely white with no grey translucent color. If you overcook the lobster it will be rubbery and tough. The shells will turn bright red.
How to Reheat
I don’t recommend reheating the tails. Cook what you know you will be able to eat. If you have to reheat, you can do so in the air fryer on 350 degrees until warm or seared in a pan with butter. The more you reheat it, the tougher the texture will become.
Pair With These Recipes
More Lobster Recipes
More and Traeger and Smoker Recipes
Traeger Smoked Ribs
Traeger Smoked Bacon
Smoked Mac and Cheese
Traeger Smoked Salmon
Traeger Smoked Chicken Breast
Traeger Smoked Turkey
Traeger Chicken Wings
Traeger Smoked Whole Chicken
Traeger Smoked Brisket
Easy Smoked Lobster Tail
- 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.