Southwestern Grilled Lobster [Lime Butter Sauce]

Delicious grilled whole lobster cooked over fire and smoke. Braised in a lime butter sauce, this seafood classic is creamy with just the right amount of sweet.

grilled whole lobster

Grilled lobster is the perfect summer dish – lovely, light, flavorful, and with a little summerish kick. And other than being perfectly delicious, grilling is also the ideal way to cook a lobster if you don’t have time or means to do it on the stovetop in your place.

However, while grilling is a great way to prepare finger-licking lobsters, many people don’t know how to grill and prepare them properly. For that reason, we’ll show you how to make the perfect Southwestern grilled whole lobster with lime butter sauce. It’s easy and delicious, and your family will love it!

In addition, you can use this recipe as a template for other grilled seafood recipes, such as salmon or swordfish. So, without further ado, here’s how to prepare the perfect Southwestern grilled lobster with lime butter sauce and build up your chef resume!

Buying Lobster

lobster anywhere whole lobster prepped for grilling

First, the type of lobster you should get for the recipe depends on your preference for lobsters and your experience behind the grill.

If you are only going to be using one or two lobsters per person, then a hard-shell southern wilderness lobster will be perfect. These lobsters are native to south U.S. waters and are often sold live in tanks at seafood markets. They have thick shells and a lot of meat, so they can be cooked whole without a problem.

However, hard-shell coldwater lobsters are the best choice for grilling. They have a firm and dense shell, which makes them less likely to be overcooked or dry out during the cooking process. The meat is also less delicate than warm water lobsters, so they hold their shape better when cooked. Although lobsters are one of the most popular seafood in the world, preparing them for grilling can be a challenge even for highly skilled chefs. The key to making the perfect grilled lobsters is to use the right tools and pre-grilling techniques.


If you’re new to cooking a lobster, here are some tips for how to properly prepare them for grilling:

First and foremost, check the live lobsters before purchasing. Live lobsters should have bright red or pink coloring that extends down their tail. Dead ones will have dark brown or grey color and may be limp or tinged blue or green.

Before you rock them on your grill, remove the head and claws from the live lobsters. They may already be declawed and cleaned if you buy frozen lobster tails! To butterfly a tail, hold it firmly with one hand at the base of its tail and twist off both sides toward each other until you have reached its tip. It will expose two “shells” where the legs would be underneath. If your lobster is over six inches long, cut off its tail to save on cooking time and ensure that it doesn’t split in two during cooking.

Clean out any sand or debris that may have gotten into your lobster cage before storing it in the fridge or freezer (this will help prevent bacteria from growing inside).

grilled lobster recipe

Times & Temperature

The key to cooking the perfect lobster is ensuring you don’t overcook it. The meat will turn out tough if you do this. If you’re grilling your lobster over charcoal or wood, you might want to start with a lower temperature. It would be best if you grilled it until the shell turns red, about five minutes per side (or until it’s cooked through.)

Most experts recommend grilling lobsters at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a meat thermometer to determine when your lobster is cooked.

Quick Tips

  1. The best way to cook lobster is on the grill using direct heat, which means placing it directly over the flame. If you want indirect heat, place your lobster over medium-high heat, add a little butter or oil and let it cook for 5 minutes before turning the lobsters over.
  2. You can also use one large lobster per person, but we prefer two medium-sized lobsters per person because they are easier to handle.
grilled lobster recipe
5 from 1 vote

Southwestern Grilled Lobster

Delicious grilled whole lobster cooked over fire and smoke. Braised in a lime butter sauce, this seafood classic is creamy with just the right amount of sweet.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 582kcal



  • 4 lobsters (1 ½ pounds each)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • kosher salt to taste

Lime Butter Sauce

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 4 tsp lime zest
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 fresh chives chopped
  • cup fresh cilantro chopped


  • 1 lemon quartered into wedges


  • Fire up your grill to high (400-450°F/200-230°C). Set up for 2-zone cooking, with one zone for direct grilling and the other for indirect.
  • Apply a light layer of oil to each lobster, before seasoning with salt and pepper
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  • Remove the butter sauce from the heat and stir in minced chives and chopped cilantro. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Using a basting brush, apply the baste to each lobster thoroughly. Leave the lobster to stand for 20 minutes.
  • Place the lobsters on the grill, flesh-side down, over direct heat. Grill until seared, about 2-4 minutes.
  • Move to the indirect side of the grill. Apply more baste to each lobster before cooking shell-side down over indirect heat for 6-8 minutes, allowing the lobster to braise in its own juices.
  • Remove from grill. Cover in foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with lemon wedges


Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 282mg | Sodium: 541mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1598IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 1mg

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