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Seafood Steamers

Updated on October 11, 2014

Cookware - Seafood Steamers

This page provides information and links to help in choosing and buying high quality seafood steamers for cooking shrimp, prawns, crawfish, crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters, mussels, and other shellfish.

Types of seafood steamers range from small stove top steamers to professional duty outdoor units. Seafood steamers are available in stainless steel or coated metal.

crab steamer
crab steamer

One Piece Seafood Steamers

A good option for most cooks is a small to mid-sized seafood steamer. These come in 12 to 36 quart capacity, with stainless steel or coated metal construction. These steamers have either a basket or steaming rack to suspend seafood above the water level. A 12 quart steamer will cook about 24 blue crabs, several pounds of shrimp, clams, oysters, mussels or 1-2 medium lobsters.

3 Piece Outdoor Steamers

A popular option for steaming large amounts of seafood is a 3 piece outdoor steamer. These steamers consists of three separate parts: a bottom pan which holds the steaming liquids, an upper pot for holding food (the bottom has holes to allow the steam to pass through), and a lid on top to keep the steam in.

Outdoor steamers are constructed of porcelain coated metal or stainless steel. Steaming pot sizes range from about 19 to 100 quarts or more. A 19 quart steamer will cook about 36 blue crabs or 2-3 medium lobsters. An 80-100 quart steamer pot will easily hold one full bushel of blue crabs. As with any steamer, the design of 3 piece steamers should allow seafood to be suspended 2-3 inches between the liquid.

For best results, large size steamers should be used in conjunction with a free-standing outdoor propane gas burner, preferably rated at 150,000 BTU. Using an outdoor type gas burner is always preferred as it allows the steam, odor and mess to remain outdoors.

Seafood - Steaming vs. Boiling

Which is best, to steam or boil seafood?

When choosing to steam or boil seafood, there are number of factors to consider.

Advantages of Steaming:

- foods retain their natural smell, taste, form and color

- steaming helps limit losses of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that foods contain when raw

- oils or other additives are not required when cooking with steam

- steaming keeps the food temperature under 212 Fahrenheit, which is ideal for conserving the properties of the food.

- most steamers can be set up outside which helps control strong odors in the home.

Advantages of Boiling:

- boiling is a fast and simple way to cook foods

- boiling is a safe way to insure that harmful bacteria or other organisms that may be present in food are killed

Steamer Comments

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    • profile image

      TechGurrrl 5 years ago

      Great lens. I'm hungry now.

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      I don't really like seafood but thanks for sharing the information. I have many avid seafood lovers in my family.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Ah... I always wondered what those pots with the holes were for! LOL... I guess I don't live close enough to the coast to figure these things out.