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BBQ Lobster Mac and Cheese by BBQ Bill
Place your live lobsters in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to put them into a dormant state ready for despatching and cooking later.
Light your bbq and set up initially for direct cooking, I have used a ceramic bbq here using birch wood charcoal which is an excellent match for seafood. If using a kettle bbq, set up for indirect with the coals to one side, as you can cook the direct element of the recipe over the coals, then set the baking dish on the indirect side when finishing. Set the temperature to 180-200 degrees centigrade.
Whilst your bbq comes up to temperature, fill a large pot with salted water and bring to the boil over high heat on your hob. Once the water is boiling, stir in the macaroni and return to the boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, rinse with cold water to cool. Set aside.
Take your lobster/s out of the freezer, they should be cold and dormant, lay them out on a stable chopping board. Take a large chefâs knife and place the point in the middle of the back of the lobster head and on the natural line with the blade pointing towards the mouth. Push the point down firmly then with a single motion chop down through the head to the chopping board.
Turn the lobster around and follow the same line down the back of the shell cutting right through to the chopping board again, cutting the whole lobster into two even halves lengthways. Clean out the stomach sack in the head area and take out the digestive tract from the body of the lobster/s. Crack the claws with the back of your knife to allow the heat to get in when cooking.
Check the bbq is up to temperature. Brush the flesh side of each lobster lightly with a little melted butter or olive oil before placing flesh side down directly on the grill grates. Cook for 3 minutes on this side for a small lobster and 3-4 minutes for a large one. You are trying to get some char and smoke on the flesh to add the bbq flavour. Flip them over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes on the shell side. The whole shell should turn deep pink and you will get charred areas on the legs and edges of the shells. Lift the lobster off the bbq onto a large tray and allow to cool a little.
Using my ceramic bbq I now placed the ceramic deflector in place using gloves to set up the indirect phase ready to finish the dish, check your vents are set for a temperature of 180-200 degrees.
Remove the flesh from the lobster body and claws picking out as much as you can, set aside. Reserve the shells.
Place the reserved lobster shells, crushed garlic, chopped shallot, peppercorns and milk into a large saucepan on your hob. Bring to a gentle simmer, then lower the heat to cook for 20 minutes with the lid on. Sieve the finished milk into a suitable jug.
Melt the butter in another large saucepan over medium-low heat, I used the large pot I cooked the pasta in. Whisk in the flour; stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown cooking out the flour; about 5 minutes or so. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture is thick and smooth, 5-10 minutes. Stir the grated cheese/s into the thickened mixture until melted and smooth, take off the heat.
Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, stir in the macaroni then the lobster meat until evenly mixed. Pour the final mixture into a large baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the panko breadcrumbs.
Bake indirectly in the preheated bbq until the sauce is bubbly, and the top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
I have used one big baking dish here and this is a huge portion that would probably feed 6-8 hungry people. The recipe will work in the same ratios for more or less people or perhaps finished in individual heatproof pots. Enjoy served on its own with a cold crisp beer or a glass or two of chilled white wine.
- 1 large or 2 small live lobsters, around 1 kg in weight overall
- 500g macaroni pasta
- 1 clove garlic, crushed with the blade of a chef knife
- 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
- 10-12 black peppercorns
- 1 litre of milk (use semi-skimmed or a mix with full cream milk)
- 125g of good quality unsalted butter
- 5 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
- 500g grated Cheddar cheese, or a mix of 250g grated cheddar, 125g grated gruyere and 125g grated berkswell cheese
- a little melted butter or olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
Publication Date: February 12, 2019.