Barbecued Lemongrass Rock lobsters with Cucumber & Carrot Salad

Rock Lobsters, known as Spiny Lobsters in most parts of the world, are the Southern Hemisphere relatives of European and North American Lobsters. The main difference is that ‘true’ lobsters have huge front claws or nippers, which Rock Lobsters don’t have; they’re just as delicious though!


2 x 450g live Rock Lobsters, chilled (see notes)

Lemongrass Paste 
⅓ cup chopped lemongrass, white part only 
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
2 small red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped 
2 teaspoons peanut oil 
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cucumber & Carrot Salad
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon castor sugar
½ small red chilli, thinly sliced into rings and seeded
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
2 red shallots, finely sliced (see notes)
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks 
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely sliced into half moons
10 mint leaves, torn


Heat a barbecue or char-grill plate. 

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add 1 Rock Lobster to the water, cover and return to the boil as quickly as possible. As soon as it boils, remove Rock Lobster and refresh in iced water. Repeat with remaining rock lobster. Cut Rock Lobsters in half and remove the digestive tract. 

Make Cucumber Salad: combine vinegar, sugar, chilli, salt and pepper and mix until sugar dissolves. Add shallots, carrot, cucumber and mint and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make Lemongrass Paste: place all ingredients in a blender and process to a paste. Spread Lemongrass Paste over the cut sides of the rock lobsters. Arrange them, cut-side up, on the barbecue and cook for 12 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further 6 minutes or so, until the shells have turned bright orange all over, the flesh is opaque and the topping is browned (be careful as it burns easily). 

Serve immediately with Cucumber & Carrot Salad. 


The easiest and most humane way to kill any crustacean is to chill them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes until they become insensible (but not long enough to freeze them). Once chilled, they should be killed promptly by splitting in half. See NSW Department of Primary Industries or RSPCA for more details.

Alternative species:

Bugs, Marron, large Prawns (reducing cooking time).

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