Our grilled Surf and Turf marries the best of the earth and the best of the sea with a Petite Filet Mignon and Lobster Tails, both grilled, and then finished with an herb compound butter.
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What is Surf and Turf?
Surf and Turf describes a meal that includes one food earth element like beef, and one seafood element, most typically shellfish, like shrimp or lobster. Because of the expense of such a meal, its often made for special occasions. But when done right can be so much more satisfying (and delicious) than the up-charge at most restaurants.
Best Steak Options
Any quality steak works that you like. But we recommend a thick steak that ranges from 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches thick is best for grilled surf and turf. For convenience of cooking time and flavor use:
- Filet Mignon
- Petite Filet Mignon
- New York Strip or Manhattan Strip (Smaller version of the NY)
We love and use Snake River Farms for their American Wagyu Filets, which are amazing. You can also get a USDA Prime from their Double R Ranch as well.
Best Seafood Options
Seafood grills quickly, so whatever you choose be sure its a larger meat like:
- Lobster Tails
- Crab Claws
- Jumbo Size Shrimp
We love the lobster from Lobster Anywhere. The options for various lobster tail sizes is super convenient and lobster tails is our go to for surf and turf recipes.
Check out our grilled lobster tail recipe to learn about how to break down the lobster tail for grilling.
How to Make Surf and Turf on the Grill
The idea is to coordinate and grill the food so the meat all comes off and ready at the same time. Because its ideal to let the beef rest 10 minutes before slicing, and to serve the lobster tails warm, coordinate by grilling the steak first, and then as it finishes and rests, to grill the tails.
- Make the compound butter in advance.
- Season the steak and prepare the lobster tails.
- Prepare the grill for two zone or direct/indirect grilling using lump charcoal.
- Grill the steak over direct heat for 5 minutes per side or until a nice sear, and then move to indirect heat and cover the grill.
- Remove the steak when the internal temperature of the steak reaches the desired finishing temperature (see chart below). If you have a cool side to the grill, then let the steaks just sit there until the tails are done.
- Add a dollop of the compound butter to the stop of the steak while it rests or is on the coolest side of the grill.
- While the steak rests, grill the lobster over direct heat for 5 minutes flesh side down.
- Flip and finish flesh side up. Add a dollop of the compound butter to the lobster. Continue grilling until the internal temperature of the lobster tails is 135 degrees F using an instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks Thermapen MK4. This will take roughly 4 more minutes.
- Remove and serve with your favorite sides.
Chefs Tip Have the side prepared and finished prior to starting the steaks. You can keep it warm in the oven at 150 degrees F or your lowest setting in the oven.
Beef Temperature Ranges
- Rare: 120-130 degrees F
- Medium Rare: 130-140 degrees F
- Medium: 140-150 degrees F
- Medium Well: 150-160 degrees F
- Well Done: 160 degrees F (and not recommended)
- Grilled Green Beans with Grilled Lemon
- Grilled Carrots
- Grilled Broccolini
- Perfect Roasted Potatoes
- Parsnip Puree or Mashed Potatoes
Wine Pairing for Surf and Turf
With two very different proteins for your typical surf and turf I highly recommend having two smaller glasses of wine (both a white and a red), so you can enjoy one with the lobster and one with the steak. This is a good opportunity to buy those half bottles you see at wine stores (or just save any unused wine for later in the week).
For the lobster look for a hearty white with some oak in it, like Chardonnay, or Champagne or sparkling blancs de blanc. For the steak, steer clear of something too big and tannic (tannins clash in a bad way with the lobster). Instead stick to lighter style reds like Pinot Noir or other red such as lighter style Zinfandel or Malbec.
Surf and Turf on the Grill Recipe
Grilled Surf and turf
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 tablespoon diced shallots
- 1 tablespoon diced chives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir with a fork.
Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and place the butter onto the plastic wrap. Slowly form into a log about 1 1/2 inches wide. Cover the log with the plastic wrap tightly and twist the edges. Place into the refrigerator to harden until ready to use.
When ready to grill the lobster tails, cut 4 teaspoon size medallions. Store any excess compound butter in the fridge for later use (great on grilled steak and pork!)
Grilled Surf and Turf
Prepare the grill for two zone or direct/indirect cooking with lump charcoal. Target 450 500 degrees Fahrenheit over the direct heat.
While the grill heats up, combine the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Coat the steaks with olive oil and dust them with some of the salt and pepper. Save some of the seasoning for the lobster.
Prepare the lobster by placing the lobster tails on a cutting board with the hard shell facing up. Using a chef knife or kitchen shears, gently cut the shell starting about 1/2 inch from the tail and working your way to the side that is open with the meat. Take care not to cut all the way through the other side.
Gently open the shell, exposing the meat using two hands. You will hear some cracking. Remove any shell that may break from the meat.
Season the flesh of the lobster tails with the remaining salt and pepper. (no olive oil needed)
Place the steaks over direct heat for 5 minutes and cover the grill. Flip the steak over, cover grill, and grill for another 5 minutes. Then move to the indirect side and cover. Continue grilling over indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches your desired doneness. We like 125 degrees F for rare (about 8 minutes). Remove and let rest for 10 minutes and place one teaspoon of the butter on each steak while resting (it will slowly start to melt into the meat).
While the steak is resting grill the lobster.
Place the lobster tails over direct heat, meat side down for approximately 5 minutes or until it gently pulls away from the grill without sticking.
After flipping add about a 1 heaping teaspoon medallion of the compound butter over the meat. Grill for an additional 3 4 minutes over direct heat. The butter will slowly melt. When the internal temperature of the lobster meat reaches 135 degrees F it is done.
After removing from the grill, place another teaspoon medallion of butter on the lobster meat and then serve warm with your favorite sides.
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