Lobster tails provide a sweet, tender meat. The jointed bodies and tails of all lobsters are protected by a hard shell which you crack open to get to the meat inside. The lobster you buy at a restaurant or a supermarket is either warm water or cold water lobster. The two are similar, but they have several differences.
Typically you’ll find cold water lobster in the north Atlantic and in the cooler waters off the coasts of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Typically, warm water lobsters are named for the place of their origin, which might be the waters of California, Florida, the Mediterranean, South Pacific, Caribbean, or the coast of Asia.
Both types of lobsters have five sets of legs, but a cold water lobster has large claws as the first set and then four smaller sets. Warm water lobsters have a tail and head that is similar to cold water lobsters, but they do not have claws. Instead, warm water lobsters typically have spiny antennae, and are often called spiny, slipper, or rock lobsters. They have a bumpy or spiny shell and a meatier tail. While both are referred to as lobster, they are from different families and species of crustaceans.
Fresh or Frozen
Typically, fresh or live warm water lobsters are only available in the areas where they are caught. More often in areas where the warm water lobster is not available, they are sold as frozen tails. Cold water lobster is available fresh in many regions, even if they are not caught there. Because they are caught primarily in the northeastern and northwestern Atlantic, they can be shipped overnight and sold fresh in many areas of the U.S.
Cold water lobsters have whiter meat than warm water lobsters. The meat is easier to work with than warm water lobster meat because it is firmer. Warm water lobster tails have more meat in them than cold water lobster tails, but it is mushier and not as easy to handle. Cold water lobsters have meat in their claws and their tails, but the only edible meat you’ll find in a warm water lobster is in the tail. Cold water lobsters have a sweeter meat then warm water lobsters. The meat of a warm water lobster tail can also have a fishier taste than cold water lobster tails.