Grilled Lobster Tails with Pesto

Lobster is one of our favorite items to take to the grill. Not only does it cook quickly, but the flame-kissed flavor is amazing! Our recipe for grilled lobster tails with pesto will have you coming back for more. These halved tails are grilled over charcoal and topped with a cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto to die for—the perfect main course for special occasions.

What you’ll need:

Raw whole lobster tails (5-6 ounces each)- Buy fresh whenever you can, but if you only have access to frozen lobster tails, then certainly use that! They need to be thawed before prepping and cooking,

Fresh herbs: This recipe calls for cilantro (coriander) leaves and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley for the pesto.

Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is the top choice of oils when making pesto.

Toasted pepitas: These are toasted pumpkin seeds. If you have raw pumpkin seeds, coat them in a little oil and salt, then pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let them cool completely before using.

Sharp kitchen shears or knife: Depending on the method you go with, you’ll need one of these two items.

lobster prep
kostomarova/Depositphotos

Prepping the lobster:

There are two ways you can prep the lobster for this dish. We used the first option.

  1. Place lobster tails onto a cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut each one down the center lengthwise to create two halves. Briefly rinse under cold water to remove any debris and blot dry with paper towels. Spoon about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of pesto onto the exposed flesh side of each halved tail.
  • Using sharp kitchen shears, make a vertical cut from the top to about 1/2″ above the tail. Do not cut through the tail. If you so choose, you can make diagonal cuts on both sides (about 1/4″ -1/2″) and gently part the shell, and pull the lobster meat on top. The shell will serve as a platform with the exposed flesh above it. Carefully top with pesto mixture. 

Grilled Lobster with Pesto 1

Cilantro vs. Parsley: 

We are using a combination of these two items to tame the overpowering nature of cilantro. You are most welcome to use only cilantro or just parsley if you are not keen on one or the other. However, keep in mind that this will change the flavor profile.

Grilled Lobster with Pesto 2

Cooking Method: 

We designed this grilled lobster tails with pesto recipe using a charcoal grill; however, you can apply it in other ways.

Oven method: Follow recipe instructions and cook for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. 

Pellet Grill: Cook at 425 degrees F. for 5-6 minutes.

Smoker: Cook at 350-375 degrees F. Use alder or oak wood chips for extra smokiness. Lobster tails will take 20-30 minutes, depending on size. We recommend prepping method two (or 4 whole lobster tails) for smoking.

Grilled Lobster Tails with Cilantro and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Grilled Lobster Tails with Pesto

Yes, you read that right. These lobster tails are split, topped with a freshly made pumpkin seed and cilantro pesto, then grilled hot and fast. Don’t worry; if you’re not a cilantro fan, you can certainly substitute with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Trust me when I say that these lobster tails are pure perfection!
Photo by: Sabrina Baksh
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, American BBQ
Keyword: grilled lobster, grilled lobster tail, lobster tail recipe, pesto
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 4 lobster tails uncooked and thawed (5-6 ounces)
  • For pesto:
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • Pinch of black pepper optional

Instructions

  • Place cilantro, parsley, pepitas, garlic, pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper into a food processor. Secure lid and begin processing. Slowly pour in olive oil through the top. Check for consistency and add another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil if needed. The mixture should have a pureed texture. Taste for salt content and add a little more if needed. Set aside.
  • Preheat grill for medium heat.
  • Place lobster tails onto a cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut each one down the center lengthwise to create two halves. Briefly rinse under cold water to remove any debris and blot dry with paper towels. Spoon about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of pesto onto the exposed flesh side of each halved tail.
  • Add lobster tails onto the grill, shell side down. Close the lid and let them cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the shells turn pink and the flesh has an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.
  • Once cooked, remove the lobster from the grill and place it onto a serving dish. Spritz with a bit of fresh citrus juice (lime if using cilantro, lemon if you are using just flat-leaf parsley). Enjoy!
Grilled Lobster Tails with PestoGrilled Lobster Tails with Pesto

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