I’m guessing you’re wondering what the difference between a Caribbean Lobster, or Spiny Lobster and a Maine Lobster. Am I right? I bet you’re also wondering about different ways to cook them and who servers up the best lobster in the Caribbean. If any of this is true then you’ve come to the right place! Below you are going to learn about the Caribbean Lobster, some delicious recipes, and who serves the best lobster in the Caribbean. Let’s dive in!
The Caribbean has a rich food culture that includes ingredients like conch, jerk chicken, sweet fruits, peas and rice and of course a bounty of seafood. Today we are going to focus on one of my favorite Caribbean seafoods, the Caribbean Spiny Lobster.
To start off, let’s talk about the difference between the Caribbean Spiny Lobster and the Maine or Atlantic Lobster.
Caribbean Lobster vs. Maine Lobster
Don’t worry, it can be confusing. This Caribbean traveler is here to help you out though. The first thing you should know is that they are two different animals, not just the same species living in two different geographical areas.
The Maine Lobster are the lobsters you might have seen in the tank at a seafood restaurant when you were a kid. They have pincher claws that probably had rubber bands on them. They are dark in color when alive, and bright red when cooked.
They are found in cold northern Atlantic waters and can weigh up to 40 pounds. Yeah, that’s a lot of good eaten!
The Caribbean Spiny Lobster has extremely long antenna on top of their head and pretty much a nonexistent claw. They are found in warm waters of the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
Some people say the Caribbean Lobster has a more fishy taste to it than then Maine Lobster. That might because the cold water helps keep the salt out of the meat. But on the plus side, the Caribbean Lobster has more meat in the tail than a Maine Lobster of the same size.
Caribbean Lobster Recipes
I’m no chef, but the above photo features a true grill master. This is Star of Bimini, I might even say THE Star of Bimini in The Bahamas. He’s cooking up some freshly caught Caribbean Lobster that from what I remember tasted amazing. I would describe the taste to you but the Havana Club Pina Coladas made my memory a little fuzzy. Did you notice that Star is pointing? I told you it would be a thing!
Okay, back to cooking the bugs.
A “bug” is common slang for Caribbean Lobster if you didn’t know.
Caribbean Lobster meat can be cooked in a number of ways and there is no shortage of amazing recipes out there. From lobster salad and ceviche, to Lobster Thermidor and Lobster Bisque.
Spiny lobster tails are traditionally grilled and basted with butter. They are also excellent steamed and roasted.
Here are a couple Caribbean lobster recipes that I found that will have salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs.
Recipe #1 – Simple Grilled Caribbean Lobster
Grilling your catch is probably the easiest and most common way to prepare lobster. All you need is a grill or open fire, some garlic butter, and a little lemon juice. Here is a simple recipe that will dazzle your guests and will have them calling you a grilling god.
Preparation: If you start with live lobsters, you must kill them first by boiling, for three to seven minutes depending on how many and how large they are. You don’t want them well cooked, that will be completed on the grill. Bring a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil and submerge lobsters, head first. Let boil, drain and cool, I would suggest placing them in an ice water bath to stop any further cooking, before proceeding.
Remove the meat from the tails by cutting down the center of the underside with heavy shears. Coat all sides of the tail meat with the garlic butter. Place on a medium heat grill. Grill for 5-6 minutes on each side (depending on the size), basting every few minutes. If you’re starting with pre-boiled tails cut the grilling time to 4-5 minutes. Coat the inside of the empty tail shells with the sauce and place on the grill for the final 3 minutes (you will want to cook the tail shells to be sure not to transfer any uncooked portions, they will not take long so watch them). Remove all from the grill and let sit for several minutes. Return the cooked lobster tails to the shells for serving.
Recipe #2 – Caribbean Lobster with Rum Jerk Butter
This is not your average lobster in butter dish, no this is Caribbean Lobster with a Jerk Rum Butter. I love jerk and I love rum, so why not combine the two. Spicy jerk seasoning, sweet rum butter with onion, pepper, lime, and chives…all smothering a grilled lobster tail . Salivating yet?
- a few 1-2 lb lobsters (or tails), halved and cleaned
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp jerk seasoning
- 1/2 cup sweet pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup Mount Gay Rum
- 2-3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chives and parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup diced tomato for garnish
- Parboil the lobster until bright red, then put into a 300 F oven with a little melted butter.
- Sauté onion, jerk seasoning and sweet pepper in remaining melted butter.
- Remove from heat pour in the rum and add butter, stirring until it has melted evenly and creamily.
- Add lime juice and herbs.
- Serve over lobster or in dipping bowls on plate.
Recipe #3 – Bobby Flay’s Curried Lobster Rolls
When I say this recipe my mouth started to water, so I had to share.
CURRIED MAYO INGREDIENTS:
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Small Spanish Onion, Coarsely Chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Coarsely Chopped
- 3 tbsp. Curry Powder
- 2 cups Mayo
- 2 tbsp. Key Lime Juice
- Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
LOBSTER ROLL INGREDIENTS:
- 3 cups Grilled Lobster Meat
- 1 large Stalk Celery cut into thick slices
- 1 cup finely diced Red Bell Pepper
- 1 cup finely diced Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 Red Onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups Curried Mayonnaise
- 1 cup finely chopped Cilantro
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 8 Hot Dog Buns
- 1 Room temperatureStick unsalted butter
- Boil the Lobsters until shell color turns. Remove from water and split in half. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill for 4-5 minutes, cut side down until just cooked through. Remove the meat from outer shell and then coarsely chop.
- Heat a medium sized pan over high heat. Heat olive oil and then add onions, garlic and cook until soft.
- Add curry powder, lower the heat to medium and then cook mixture for 10 minutes. Remove from heat & cool to room temperature.
- Combine the curry mixture, mayonnaise and lime juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Combine the lobster, celery, bell peppers, onion, mayonnaise and cilantro in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Split the rolls and brush with butter. Toast rolls in a pan or grill split-side down, until golden brown, about 30 secs.
- Fill rolls with the lobster salad and dig in!
Where To Get The Best Caribbean Lobster Meals
Okay, we’ve covered how to grill Caribbean lobster, now let’s learn some of the best places in the Caribbean to eat a lobster meal.
Santana’s Beach Bar – Little Exuma, The Bahamas
The picture above is a photo of Dee’s famous lobster. If you want Dee’s lobster then you need to travel to Great Exuma, drive south on the Queen’s Highway to Little Exuma and stop at Santana’s Beach Bar. This simple beach bar is the location of the best lobster meal I’ve ever had. Not even lying. Two grilled tails over peas and rice with a Kalik…mind blown. I don’t know how she does it, but I would break laws to eat these lobster tails.
Mac’s Lobster Pizza – Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
I can almost taste the above photo. I want to take a bite out of the computer screen right now! This is the world famous Lobster Pizza from Mac’s on Bequia in the Grenadine Islands. Bequia is a charming island that sits just south of St. Vincent.
When doing research on Bequia before my Island Windjammers cruise, Mac’s kept popping up. All the reviews said the lobster pizza is a must. I will say the reviews didn’t lie. The pies were loaded with Caribbean lobster and complimented with a special sauce that had all my ship mates raving. It’s a night I’ll remember for a long long time.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Catch and Eat Your Own – Exuma, Bahamas
Another great lobster experience was again in the Exuma, Bahamas. We were traveling north from Great Exuma to Staniel Cay with Four C’s Adventures. Along the way we dove for conch and Captain Pat speared a bunch of lobster. He tossed eight to ten in the boat and away we went. We arrived at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, took photos like the one you see above, then took those bad boys to the kitchen where they were prepared for dinner.
That stupid look on my face says it all. It was an amazing day in the Bahamas, catching our dinner, eating our catch, living the salty life style.
Anegada, British Virgin Islands
Anegada, the flat island in the BVI has no shortage of amazing places to eat lobster. It is the lobster capital in the British Virgin Islands. They even have a Lobster Festival! I’ve been to Anegada and it’s true, the lobster here is amazing. Some of the best spots to grab a lobster dinner are:
- The Lobster Pot
- Anegada Beach Club
- Potters By The Sea
- Neptune’s Treasure
- Big Bamboo
I haven’t been to every single Caribbean island yet, so I know there are some lobster dishes out there that are still waiting to be found. If you have a dynamite restaurant in the Caribbean that blew your socks off when it came to lobster, please hit me up on Instagram at @CaribbeanCastaways and send us a direct message letting me know about the restaurant. I’ll check it out and can add it to this post, giving you credit as well.
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If you are looking for more amazing Caribbean food recipes, then I highly recommend you grab, My Modern Caribbean Kitchen: 70 Fresh Takes on Island Favorites by Julius Jackson.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have learned a little more about Caribbean lobster. I invite you to explore our Caribbean podcast for more great island info, as well as our blog.
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