Cedar-Planked Lobster Tails with Corn-Smoked Chile Relish

Cedar-Planked Lobster Tails with Corn-Smoked Chile Relish Recipe

Sometimes—admit it—part of the fun of grilling is showing off. When you’re doing something really cool, like smoking lobster tails between two planks of wood, it’s fun to have an audience to appreciate it. More important, the results taste amazing. The smoky, piney cedar perfumes the sweet lobster like you would not believe. This method was traditionally used by the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest to cook salmon, and it still works.

You’ll need untreated cedar planks, which you can buy at a lumberyard or at barbecuewood.com.–Bobby Flay with Julia Moskin

LC Lobstah-Palooza Note

Just can’t get enough lobster recipes? We’ve got a Lobstah-Palooza for you. Try Steamed Lobster with Drawn Butter, Steamed Lobster and Lobster Bisque, and Lobster Thermidor.

Cedar-Planked Lobster Tails with Corn-Smoked Chile Relish Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4


  • For the relish
  • 8 ears corn, silks removed, husks left on, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle purée (see note)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the lobster recipe
  • 4 cedar planks (about 10×12 inches each), soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • Four (8- to 10-ounce) lobster tails, or 8 smaller tails in the shell
  • Mild vegetable oil, such as canola
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the relish
  • 1. Heat your grill to medium-high.
  • 2. Place the wet corn on the grill, close the grill cover, and cook, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes until steamed through and hot but still crisp (test by carefully piercing with a knife).
  • 3. When the corn is cool enough to handle, strip off the husks and cut the kernels from the corncobs by standing them on end in a large bowl and cutting downward with a small knife. Place in a medium bowl and add the onion. Whisk the chipotle, lime juice, and oil together in a small bowl and pour over the corn mixture. Mix in the cilantro and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. (The relish can be made a few hours in advance, covered, and kept refrigerated.)
  • Make the lobster
  • 4. Heat your grill to medium-high.
  • 5. Remove the planks from the water and place them on the grill to heat. Brush the lobster tails with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • 6. Arrange the tails meat side down on two of the planks (leave the planks on the grill). Using tongs, place the two remaining planks on top (the planks will be hot). Close the grill hood and cook until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to a platter and top with corn relish. Serve immediately.


  • To make chipotle purée, buy canned chipotles in adobo and purée the chiles with the sauce in a blender or food processor. Covered and refrigerated, chipotle purée keeps for weeks.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Melissa Maedgen

Jul 10, 2004

There are people out there who believe that lobster is really just a vehicle for butter. This is the recipe to prove them wrong. We're all familiar with the idea of cooking salmon on a cedar plank. Here, that technique is applied to lobster with astounding success. The cedar imparts a gentle wood flavor to the lobster that brings out the sweetness of the meat perfectly. This was hands-down the best way I've ever eaten lobster and will be my go-to method from now on.

The accompanying grilled corn relish is simple to make and has a nice balance of flavors—the sweet corn offset by the tang of the lime, and the smoke of the chipotle accentuating the smoke of the grill. It complements the sweet, gently cedar-y lobster meat perfectly.

There is just one aspect of this recipe which needs to be clarified. I think it is intended that the lobster tails be split in half lengthwise, but the recipe does not tell you to do it. It does say to put the lobster on the planks "meat side down", and there would be no "meat side" if the shells were intact. So I cut mine in half, which is a common presentation, and easy to do. I like to use kitchen shears to cut down the length of the underside (leg side) of the lobster tail, then a cleaver or heavy chef's knife to slice through the meat and through the shell on the other side.

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