For whatever reason, it can be more difficult to buy lobster tails online than to find a live or whole lobster. It’s harder to notice red flags, and fewer online companies sell this lobster product. Plus, there’s always the barrier of buying online – in-person customers benefit from seeing the animal whole or moving around.
Choosing the perfect Maine lobster tail requires a practiced eye and knowledge of pricing. You should also take the time to get all the information that you need.
Buying lobster tails for sale is not as easy as picking out a cereal. If you have never bought lobster tails, you might not know where to start. Our guide is designed to walk you through the process of how you buy lobster tails, whether online or in-person. Looking for live lobster instead? We have that here.
Why Maine Lobster Tails?
When you buy lobster tails from Maine, you are ordering a cold-water crustacean. By contrast, some vendors ship lobster tails from Florida, the Caribbean, or Latin America. If you buy from any of these places, you have likely ordered a warm-water lobster. These variations differ in crucial ways. You will pay less for warm-water lobsters. However, you should order Maine tails if you want the characteristic lobster taste and texture.
When cooked, the meat of warm-water lobster tails for sale remains soft and mushy. The meat is not firm and buoyant like a tail of Maine lobster. When you buy lobster tails online, you can attempt to firm up a warm-water tail. The tail will still easily fall apart, though. Warm-water lobsters also carry a slight ammonia odor.
Passing off a warm-water lobster as a cold-water option is easier with Maine lobster tails than with whole or live crustaceans. It is harder to assess the lobster’s variation by just one piece of its body. So, doing research is the best way to figure out which type you are purchasing.
If a company’s website says, “Harvested from the Gulf of Maine,” you’re on the right track. If there’s not any specification, we recommend calling ahead or taking your business elsewhere.
Sizing Options to Buy Lobster Tails Online
Customers can often purchase lobster tails for sale in four sizes.
- Small Lobster Tails (5-6 ounce)
- Medium Lobster Tails (8-10 ounce)
- Large Lobster Tails (10-12 ounce)
- XL Lobster Tails (12-14 ounce)
The below grids offer a brief view into lobster tail pricing.
|Company||Min Tail Order||Price/tail*||Rating||Order|
|The Crab Place||2||$22.01||4.7|
|Get Maine Lobster||4||$27.49||4.6|
|Fulton Fish Market (from CAN)||1||$24.84||4.4|
|Global Seafoods||5 lbs (16-20 tails)||$14.44||4.6|
|Sea to Table||1||$18||4.7|
|Company||Min Lobster Order||Price/tail*||Rating||Website|
|The Crab Place||2||$27.92||4.7|
|Fulton Fish Market||2||$31.20||4.4|
|Get Maine Lobster||4||SOLD OUT||4.6|
|Company||Min. Order||Price/Tail*||Reviews||Rating||Go To|
|The Crab Place||2||$31.66||564||4.7|
|Lobster Trap Company||1||$44.00||31||5.0|
|Maine Lobster Now||1||$44.99||2,896||4.5|
|The Lobster Guy||2||$34.50||48||4.0|
|Company||Min. Order||Price/Tail*||Rating||Go To|
|The Crab Place||2||$41.88||4.7|
|Fulton Fish Market||1||$44.49||4.4|
Distributors harvest the tails from whole lobsters that weigh between 1-3 pounds. Lobster tails can comprise any part of a meal. They can fulfill a decadent side dish or a featured entrée.
Certain size tails better complement certain meals. For instance, you may want to eat surf and turf one night. You want a balanced amount of each type of meat on your plate. Look for small lobster tails for that type of meal. Separately, if you buy lobster tails online, smaller tails provide a good amount of meat.
You should consider who you want to feed, as well. Everyone has different appetite limitations. You will not want to waste any of your lobster tails. If you have a healthy appetite, you should consider buying medium or large lobster tails. Save the extra-large lobster tails for larger dinner parties.
How to Buy Lobster Tails Online
When shopping for lobster tails, avoid any signs of yellowing, browning, or spotting. Additionally, stay away from gray coloring. Gray coloring means the lobster likely died before the tail was processed. That indicates poor-quality meat. Do not buy lobster tails online that have already thawed. Lobster meat spoils fast. You should thaw the tail as close to cooking as possible.
If you are set on buying cold-water lobster tails for sale, keep an eye on the price tag. Vendors price warm-water lobsters much lower than their cold-water cousins. If you see a suspiciously inexpensive tail, the vendor likely did not source it from Maine.
If you choose to buy your lobster tails online, you might think that you have less opportunity to check for quality control. Nonetheless, an online fish seller is more likely to have the information that you need than the grocery store. When you buy lobster tails online, consider the harvesting methods, dates, and preparation. You can always call ahead with product-specific questions about their lobster tails for sale.
How to Cook Lobster Tails
There’s always a bit of trial and error when cooking lobster. Nonetheless, use the tail’s size as a reliable guide. Below, we have included cooking times for the range of lobster tail sizes.
- Boiling Times: Small – 4-6 minutes; Medium – 6-8 minutes; Large – 8-9 minutes; Extra Large 9-10 minutes.
- Steaming Times: Small – 5-8 minutes; Medium – 8-10 minutes; Large – 10-11 minutes; Extra Large – 11-12 minutes.
If you select large or extra-large when you buy lobster tails online, we recommend steaming over boiling. As with the largest whole, live lobsters, steaming is often preferred to avoid overcooking the outermost layer of the meat. You can make your cooking method flexible with smaller tails. Any size lobster tails for sale will make for an excellent meal.
You can also broil, bake, or grill Maine lobster tails. The potentially challenging part when you buy lobster tails is determining the cooking method. We have outlined below which cooking method you should use and when you should use it.
- Broiling Lobster – We recommend broiling lobster if you have a time limit. The general rule to follow once you buy lobster tails online is to broil a lobster tail 1 minute per ounce of each tail. Broiling also works if a guest, or you, does not require much fanfare. Include butter sauce, crushed garlic, fresh parsley, and lemon wedges for your simple garnish. Make sure to pay attention to all of your tails. If you are cooking multiple tails, look to see if their lengths differ. If one tail is longer than another, the chance is great that it will sear faster. It may also burn if you get distracted.
- Baking Lobster – The first thing that you need to know when you select lobster tails for sale is, choose the appropriate lobster size. The next time you decide to buy lobster tails online, get small tails for when you bake them. It happens to us all — we feel tempted to purchase jumbo lobster tails for the most meat. Jumbo tails do work for some cooking methods. However, baking smaller tails produces the most tasty and tender meat. You should purchase 6 ounces. The lobster tail provides about 3 ounces of meat. There are many satisfying dishes to serve with baked lobster. You can pair the tails with red meat for a surf and turf meal.
- Grilling Lobster – If you are not in a rush, grilling lobster is a great summertime treat. When you buy lobster tails online, we suggest that you select a smaller size. Grilling larger lobsters often makes them become tough and dry. Keep in mind that grilling lobster requires prep time. Alternatively, no prep is needed when you boil lobster. When you grill lobster, make sure that you have plenty of space. You can serve your pleasantly smoky grilled lobster alongside some baked beans.
How to Shorten Lobster Tails
You may find when you purchase lobster tails that the lengths are uneven. Butterflying a lobster tail helps make sure that the tails cook at the same speed. Follow these three easy steps:
Step 1 – After you buy lobster tails online, pat dry the thawed lobster tail. Then, cut a lengthwise slit starting at the open end of the tail. Cut through the center and stop before you reach the tail fins. You will need some kitchen scissors. Do not worry about when you cut into the meat. Doing so butterflies it and allows it to sit best on the shell.
Step 2 – Spread the shell open in the area that you created the slit. Make sure that you do that both carefully and firmly. Using your fingers, remove the meat in one piece. Make sure that you have a firm, yet careful grip on the lobster meat.
Step 3 – When you buy lobster tails online, it is extremely hands-on. The final step is closing the empty shell. Ensure that you cut the tails to satisfactory lengths. Then, place the lobster’s meat on the shell and prepare to cook and flavor it.
Preventing Burnt Lobster Tails
Shortening your tails is not the only available method. One way to ensure the perfect dish is keeping an attentive eye on your lobster tails. It may seem intuitive, but it is easy to not pay close attention when baking or broiling lobster tails. After all, you can complete the process within minutes. Therefore, you should consider setting a timer.
A timer can help to determine when you should rotate your lobster tails. Make the most of the money that you spent to buy lobster tails online. Much like when you defrost tails, you do not want uneven results.
There is one other method to make sure that your tails sear evenly and do not burn. You can prop up smaller lobster tails so that they cook at the same speed as larger ones. When you decide to grill Maine lobster tails next, invest in an adjustable grate. You can place your smaller lobster tails above the larger tails and still cook them all with ease.
Unique Lobster Tail Recipes
We previously discussed different cooking methods. However, each cooking method gives you an opportunity to get creative. The next time you buy lobster tails online, consider trying these unique recipes.
Lobster Avocado Mango Salad – Are you missing the beach atmosphere? Lobster salad will make you feel like you’re on vacation. First, steam your lobster tails. You want to ensure that the meat is tender. Avoid boiling them because you will lose the lobster flavor. Make sure to use a pot that gives ample space for your lobster tails.
Next, select a large kettle and add 2 inches of salted water to the bottom. Place your steaming rack inside the pot. Then, over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. When you buy lobster tails online, they cook at different speeds. If you cook 1 pound, it will finish in about 10 minutes. Do not forget to shift the lobster tails so that they do not burn.
Crab-Stuffed Lobster Tail – Who says you cannot have the best of both worlds? Seafood lovers will enjoy crab-stuffed lobster tails this summer. You can prepare the recipe in 20 minutes. Then, you can cook the meal in 10 minutes. Ingredients include: 2 Maine lobster tails, 15 crushed buttery round crackers, 1/2 cup of jumbo lump crabmeat, and 1 teaspoon of seafood seasoning, like Old Bay.
Once you buy lobster tails online, make sure that they are split along the center top. Then, pull apart the edges of the split shells. Once you do that, you can gradually lift the tail meat and place them above the shells. Place your lobster tails for sale on a baking sheet for delicious results.
Creamy Cheesy Cheddar Lobster Dip – Warm dip lovers will want to make this dip for their next snack. The dip works well as a personal snack or one to put out with chips when friends come to watch a game. For first time dip creators, we recommend starting with small lobster tails. However, if you plan to buy lobster tails online for a large party, you might want to go up a size. Other ingredients include garlic and shallots.
You will sauté these ingredients to provide maximum flavor in the dip. The recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but substitutions are perfectly acceptable. If you want more kick behind your cheese, add the cheese in gradual amounts. You do not want to overpower the lobster. Once you complete your prep time, bake the dip at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes.
We have given you a lot to consider the next time you buy Maine lobster tails. While our guide details different sizes, cooking styles, and recipes, you should experiment. Adding your own twist when you buy lobster tails online provides your dinner guests with a great experience.
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