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Sep 20, 2010 07:32 AM

Choosing a Pot for Cooking Lobsters

I'm about to order an outdoor propane gas cooker and I'm trying to decide on a pot to use with it for cooking lobsters. Up until now, when I've cooked live lobsters indoors, I've boiled them. There are two pots I'm considering, although there may well be others that will better meet my needs. One of the pots I'm considering will give me the option of boiling or steaming the other is only a steaming pot One of the pots has a spigot for pouring out the water; the other does not. I don't really know how important this feature is. I'd like a pot that can handle 4-6 lobsters, and I'm not sure how large a pot I need.

I'm thinking that if steaming the lobsters is the best way to cook them, I can go with the less expensive, spigot pot, assuming it's large enough (19 quarts). But, if I want to boil them, I should go with the larger (24-quart) more costly one.

I'm confused. Can anyone give me some guidance? Is there a different pot I should be considering? Thanks!

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  1. Assuming you have other pots for cooking or boiling large volumes of food, I would absolutely go with the steamer with the spigot. I'm really not a great fan of boiled lobster. They get an excessive amount of fluid inside them that always seems to drip off my elbow when I'm trying to be dignifired. But who can be dignified while eating lobster, right? Overall, that pot looks like a winner to me. SOOOO easy to empty it with the spigot one smaller pan full at a time. Good luck, and here's hoping you will be happy with whichever one you choose for a very long time!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Caroline1

      Thanks, Caroline. One unknown about that spigot pot (well, about both of them, for that matter) is how many lobsters it's able to hold. This is likely to be a limited-use pot, stashed in the garage so storage is not a problem. Funny -- as I think about it, I think I've always boiled my lobsters because I imagined if I steamed them I'd hear them trying to escape the pot during those first few minutes of cooking.

      1. re: CindyJ

        I take my live lobsters directly from the refrigerator (they're hibernating), cut the rubber bands off the claws with scissors (hate the flavor of steamed rubber!), then into the pot they go. They don't make a sound and they don't mind crowding. Because I live so far from the ocean and can't get fresh seaweed (that I know of) I always add a couple of fairly generous pieces of konbu (Japanese dried kelp) to the water for steaming. They end up tasting fresh from the sea! Now if I could only learn to enjoy them without a pot of drawn butter, my waist line would be soooooo much happier!

        Edit: I have had dinner parties where I steamed two consecutive (or more) batches of lobster, not because I didn't have a big enough pot, but because I didn't have a big enough stove to hold a wash tub!

        1. re: Caroline1

          I LOVE the idea of adding konbu to the pot. How clever!

          Up until now, I've been cooking my lobsters in batches, too. The downside is that we're usually torn between splitting the cooked lobsters so that we can all get started, or waiting impatiently until the second batch is finished.

    2. I been using my really old canning pot for steaming lobsters. it will hold 4 - 5 two pounders easily. It looks like this one:

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I've got a canning pot that's similar, and I suppose, with a bit of modification, it can serve as a steamer. But I really like the convenience of being able to remove either the steamer basket or top steamer section to carry the lobsters back into the house, leaving the water behind.

        1. re: Gio

          I use something similar to your canning pot.

          To cook lobsters, I use a 175,000 BTU outdoor propane cooker (normally used for brewing beer) and about two inches of water. (I don't worry about the fact that a couple of the lobsters are partially submerged. ) The lobsters are easily removed with 16" tongs, like these:

          and placed into a big bowl for serving. The big bowl becomes the shell bowl after serving.

          I can't think of a use for a spigot for cooking lobsters. The spigot is useful for steamed softshell clams, where the clam broth is served alongside the clams. (The broth isn't consumed - it's for rinsing stray sand off the clams.)

        2. Just to close the loop, I ended up with a relatively inexpensive Granite Wear steamer pot (no spigot) which can easily hold 5-6 lobsters at once, and also bought a Bayou Classic propane burner, both of which we used on the deck for the first time this past weekend. They were both great choices, and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of as many sales on lobster as I can find this summer. This past weekend they were $5.99/lb. at my local Shop Rite.

          1. I use my canning kettle. I put in the canning rack and enough water to barely come up to the rack. When I have a rolling boil I add the lobsters on top of the rack, not in the water, and steam them. Lobsters are pretty watery to begin with and steaming gives you a more flavorful lobster.

            I'd only use the pot with spigot if I was steaming clams so i could draw off the clam juice.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Candy

              I just use a stock pot, put the lobsters & 1 inch of water in the bottom. My biggest one will hold 4 or 5 1 1/2lb Bugs. Dag we love lobsters, just had them Friday night!!

              1. re: Candy

                That's why I decided against the pot with the spigot. I really don't steam clams all that often.

              2. I live in town, small kitchen, feeble gas. So I use my biggest Le Creuset, 32cm, get it really hot over a long time and steam lobster. The pan has enough thermal mass to keep boiling when the two or three lobsters go in.

                The seaweed is a great idea.

                When I lived in Jersey, the original island off the coast of France,not the New one, we collected local lobster from a vivier, which was inside a WW2 fortification, added sea water and seaweed. Best ever