George Reis shares his secret seasoning and grilling technique for lobster tails.
By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
The hickory wood fired, grilled baby lobster tails at Ocean and 26 are divine. They are consistently moist, succulent, and sweet. Executive chef and co-owner of Ocean and 26, George Reis shares his secrets. One secret is the art of building a hickory wood fire in a wood burning grill-and knowing how to cook on it. Another secret is "The Love," which is a seasoning that goes on every piece of grilled fish at Ocean.
1. Build a fire using split hickory wood in a wood-burning grill one and one half hours before cooking the lobster.
2. Once you have a good coal base with a lot of hot coals, you will see a white fire spot in the center. When lobster is prepped and ready for cooking, wipe grill down around the white fire spot using tongs and with pumice oil on the cloth to grease the grill. This is where you will cook the lobster, around the perimeter of the white spot.
In a small bowl mix the following:
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 lemons, quartered
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 lemon, fresh lemon juice of
1. Split eight 3-4 ounce Canadian coldwater lobster tails by placing the point of a knife into the back edge of the lobster shell. Cut forward away from the tail, cutting all the way through the tail.
2. Pull the meat away from the tail until you reach the tip. Remove any veins.
3. Lay the lobster back in the tail. This will keep the lobster in the tail for cooking but will make it easy to remove for eating.
4. Spoon pumice oil over the lobster meat.
5. Brush on The Love seasoning, rub it in, and pat on top.
6. Place lobster tails on the grill, around the white fire spot but not on it, skin side down and cook three to four minutes. If the edge of the tails, near the white fire spot, start to cook to fast or have fire flaming up on them, spray with water bottle.
7. Roll one lemon on counter with hands to break the inside and release the juice.
8. Flip lobster over to shell side down.
9. Brush with The Love, and squeeze one lemon over the lobster meat.
You may flip the tails again if needed. If so, repeat step 9 with meat side up.
“The shell buffers the meat from the direct heat as it diffuses the heat. It also keeps the moisture of the lobster meat and the liquid of The Love inside, Reis explains. “And the lemon flavors the meat and creates a steam action to finish the cooking.” Reis does not want the lobster to go from intense heat to the serving plate.
10. Remove the tails before cooked and places them in a holding pan near the heat, meat side up.
11. Brush with lemon juice and The Love for a slow finish.
Catch them if you can. These tails are not on the regular menus. But they are served on Monday nights at 26 and as specials on Ocean’s dinner menu.