Grilled Florida Spiny Lobster

Most folks think of the Maine version when they think about lobster, but its southern cousin, the Florida spiny lobster, holds its own in the flavor department

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
prep time
cook time
2-4
serves
Easy
difficulty

Mention lobster in most of the country, and most folks will assume you are talking about the Maine version (Homarus americanus). But mention lobster around the Gulf of Mexico, particularly down in the Keys, and folks know you are talking about the Caribbean, or Florida, spiny lobster (Panulirus argus). 

With seasons that run from late summer through the winter along much of the Florida coast, now is the perfect time to catch a few for dinner.

While this Southern delicacy might lack the heavy, meat-filled claws of its kin from the North, the tail of the spiny lobster is rich, dense, delicious, and perfect for the Traeger grill.

Season for spiny lobsters in most of Florida starts in August and runs until the following March. Catching these crustaceans is a hands-on experience. Much like noodling a big flathead, you dive down to rock overhangs, reefs, and mangrove roots, reach in with a metal rod known as a tickling stick to chase them out, and grab the fleeing lobsters by hand or in a net. Size regulations require the lobster to have a carapace measuring at least 3 inches from front to back to be a legal catch. 

(Stay cool on the coast: Men’s Realtree Fishing Air Cast Fishing Shirt)

Once you have your lobsters, you can remove the tail and grill it, or, my preference, split the entire lobster for a showier presentation. 

Split the lobster and clean out the tomalley, if desired.

Lobster meat doesn’t need much to make it great. A bit of butter seasoned with minced garlic and some Cavender’s Greek Seasoning followed by a squeeze of fresh lime juice is just about perfect. 

These grilled Florida spiny lobsters are packed full of smoky, buttery garlic flavor with a hint of lime.

I like to start my lobsters meat side down for a few minutes before flipping and basting with the melted butter mixture to finish. Spiny lobsters can dry out when overcooked, so they won’t need much time. I usually figure 10 to 15 minutes total cooking time, depending on size. 

Ingredients

2 to 3 Florida spiny lobsters, split down the center

1 stick of butter, melted

1 tablespoon Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 limes, halved

Cooking Instructions

Start by removing the soft green mass, known as the tomalley, from the body cavity, if desired. Some lobster lovers prize this bit for its intense flavor. Others swear it needs to go before cooking. Preheat your Traeger grill to 350 degrees. Combine the Cavender’s seasoning and minced garlic with the melted butter. 

Brush on seasoned garlic butter several times as the lobster grills.

Place the lobster, meat side down, directly on the grill grate. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the lobster. Brush on a heavy layer of the seasoned butter. Grill for 2 to 3 more minutes, brush again with butter, then continue cooking until the meat is just opaque. Do not overcook. Brush with butter one last time and squeeze on fresh lime juice. Serve hot off the grill.

Squeeze fresh lime juice over the lobster near the end of the cooking time.

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