If you enjoy the flavor of freshly cooked lobster, then you really must try cooking up a batch at home.
For some, however, the idea of cooking up lobster or a pot of crawfish may seem a little daunting, especially if you’ve never tried it before.
If this is the case for you, then please keep reading, because this post is going to outline what to look for in a good seafood kettle, and subsequent posts will cover cooking and cleaning crabs, lobsters, clams and other shellfish, as well as crawfish.
BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: OUR 5 BEST REVIEWED LOBSTER, CRAB, AND CLAM POTS
- Bayou Classic All Purpose Stainless Steel Stockpot (24 – 162 Quarts)
- All-Clad 12 quart Specialty Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe Multi Cooker Cookware Set
- Granite Ware 6194-1 19-Quart Enamel-on-Steel 2-Tier Decorated Clam-and-Lobster Steamer with Faucet
- Granite Ware 6317-1 19-Quart Enamel-on-Steel 2-Tier Clam-and-Lobster Steamer
- Precise Heat 24-Quart “Waterless” Stockpot with Deep Steamer Basket
Note: the links above lead to pricing, customer reviews, and more information and specifications on Amazon or other major retailers.
- Bottom Line Up Front: Our 5 Best Reviewed Lobster, Crab, and Clam Pots
- Where to Start
- Some Features to Look For
- Metal Used In Construction
- Frequency of Use
- Steamer Baskets
- The Best Lobster, Crab, and Clam Pots
- Bayou Classic All Purpose Stockpot with Steam and Boil Basket: The Best All-Around Model
- All-Clad 12 Quart Stainless Steel Multi-Cooker: The Highest Quality
- A Better All-Clad Option
- Granite Ware Enamel on Steel 2-Tier Decorated Clam and Lobster Steamer
- Granite Ware Enamel on Steel Clam and Lobster Steamer: The Best Value
- Precise Heat 24 Quart Stock Pot with Deep Steamer Basket
WHERE TO START
Your selection really boils down (pun intended) to deciding if you want a product that can be used in the house, or a “beater” that is cheap to replace so you don’t have to worry whether it survives intact on the return trip from the beach.
A lobster pot can be put to many uses other than just cooking seafood. It can also be used for steaming vegetables, blanching seasonal foods for the freezer, cooking tamales and pasta, and preparing veggies and fruit for canning.
So, before making any decisions, determine how much use your cookware will get.
Then you can look for a kettle that’s the most appropriate for the job.
SOME FEATURES TO LOOK FOR
When shopping for a lobster, clam, and crab kettle, give some of these features a bit of consideration before making your purchase.
What size pot will you need? If you’re cooking only one lobster at a time, then you won’t need a kettle with the same capacity as you might for cooking four at a time. When cooking lobster, crab, crawfish or clams, keep in mind that they should all be ready to eat at the same time, for the maximum flavor.
That being said, it’s usually better to have a pot that is bigger than you may need than one that is not big enough – as long as it fits on your stove or heat source.
Of course, it would be great to have several sizes. However, your budget and, probably more importantly, your storage considerations may make that a hard proposition.
METAL USED IN CONSTRUCTION
As these kettles tend to get heavy when there’s lots of water in them, a lighter weight material works well. The lightest cooking material is aluminum, but with the concerns over aluminum leaching being associated with Alzheimer’s, it may not be the best choice.
A few good alternatives to aluminum are stainless steel, stainless with a disk bottom, clad tri-ply aluminum/stainless steel, or enameled steel.
FREQUENCY OF USE
If the only purpose for your purchase is to steam some seafood, then you may want to consider one at the lower end of the price scale. However, if you plan to use it for multiple purposes, then more expensive cookware may be more appropriate.
A spigot at the bottom of the pot makes for easy draining of the delicious homemade broth without the sediment that can develop when steaming seafood. And, it can be used for emptying rather than having to pour the hot water out from a large kettle.
A standard stockpot doesn’t usually come with a steamer basket, but lobster cookers do. And, if you do a lot of canning or freezing of vegetables or fruit, a large wide-mouthed steamer basket is ideal for blanching.
Again, determine the most likely uses for your kettle. Will you boil or steam your lobster? Will you be cooking crabs or clams?
Will you be cooking up your feast in the kitchen, or outdoors over a gas or wood fire? You may not want to put a high-end cooker in the charcoal at a bonfire on the beach…
Here’s a look at some popular crab and lobster pots, starting with a smaller 12-quart size and going up to 24 quarts, with varying prices as well.
THE BEST LOBSTER, CRAB, AND CLAM POTS
BAYOU CLASSIC ALL PURPOSE STOCKPOT WITH STEAM AND BOIL BASKET: THE BEST ALL-AROUND MODEL
This handsome all-purpose cooker measures 14 x 14 x 13″ (for the smallest size – 24 quarts), is made of surgical grade stainless steel and comes with a vented lid, and it’s ideal for steaming and boiling. The large and deep steam basket has raised legs that hold the steamer about 3” off the bottom of the pan, and its bucket handle makes it easy to lift in and out of the pan.
Just right for lobsters, crawfish, clams and vegetables, it also works well for deep-frying, and the heavy duty welded side loop handles makes it easy to move around. Made in the US, it’s great for indoor or outdoor use, and perfect for tailgating.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Most reviewers on Amazon are very happy with the Bayou Classic. It remains very popular with many backyard chefs, as it is available in many sizes from the smallest at 24 quarts (pictured above) to a whopping 162-quart behemoth that’s capable of feeding all your neighbors and friends, and their friends.
Foodal’s Take: As with most products, the Bayou Classic has seen a reduction in materials and quality throughout the years. This side walls are a little thinner than they used to be, and the handles are now welded rather than riveted. It’s still a good pot, but we’d rather pay a little more for the older, more robust version if it were still available.
ALL-CLAD 12 QUART STAINLESS STEEL MULTI-COOKER: THE HIGHEST QUALITY
This beautiful set of cookware from All-Clad is made of highly polished 18/10 stainless steel with an encased aluminum disk bottom, for even heat distribution and superb conductivity. It comes with a tall colander insert that’s perfect for lobster or pasta, and a steamer basket for vegetables.
The colander insert has two riveted loop handles, while the steamer basket has a bucket style handle, all of which stack inside the pot for cooking veggies along with your seafood, so all parts of your meal are completed together. The dimensions are 14 x 14 x 11” and the tight-fitting lid locks moisture in while cooking.
For use on gas and electric ranges, the stainless steel means easy clean up and years of efficient use. Although this is made in China (unlike most of All-Clad’s products), it does come with All-Clad’s guarantee and warranty. This is an ideal set if you’re looking for a multi-purpose steamer.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
This steamer and stockpot has relatively good reviews on Amazon. The couple of lower ratings it received were primarily due to fact that an old product description stated it had a magnetic steel bottom and was induction compatible. It’s doesn’t and it’s not (the product description has since been revised). Those using this on a gas or conventional electric stove provided mostly glowing reviews.
Foodal’s Take: If you’d like to have a pot with the All-Clad name and a lifetime warranty, at a price that will allow you avoid selling off your first born, then this is the product for you. However, despite being cheaper than most of All-Clad’s other cookware in similar sizes, we found the quality to NOT be worth the asking price.
A BETTER ALL-CLAD OPTION
It’s no secret that most of the Foodal staff is in love with the majority of All-Clad’s products, but this vessel is manufactured in China (there is nothing really wrong with that, but not at this price point), it has a disk bottom rather than clad sides, and it uses relatively thin steel for the sides and the inserts.
Although it would be a much more expensive route, if you’re looking for a quality lifetime pot that is a lot more versatile, we’d suggest the 12-inch All-Clad Stockpot (an 8-quart stockpot would work as well) along with the professional steaming basket insert.
If you’re going to spend the money for the All-Clad name, you might as well go all out and get a better product, even if costs a little more. Also, this combination works well with induction stoves, should you already have one or if you are considering switching over to induction cooking.
Moreover, these two items are made in the USA (like anything carrying the All-Clad name should be) and the stockpot is composed of stainless steel encapsulated aluminum, allowing it to serve as a Dutch oven, stew pot, and as a sizeable “one pot meal” pan that’s able to go from searing to braising.
GRANITE WARE ENAMEL ON STEEL 2-TIER DECORATED CLAM AND LOBSTER STEAMER
This specialty seafood steamer is perfect for the job. Measuring 15 x 15 x 13”, this steamer has a carbon steel core for strength, which means even heating and efficient conductivity. Plus, it features a durable fused enamel finish with a funky exterior print of lobsters and clams.
The two tiers have side loop handles, and a steamer insert that raises the food out of the liquid for cooking different foods at the same time. For example, you can start with a layer of corn or potatoes and add a tier of lobster or clams, so that everything’s ready at the same time.
The tight-fitting domed lid with its large loop handle keeps the steam inside the pot. The convenient spigot allows you to drain off the tasty broth without any of the sediment that is released during cooking, and it also makes for easy emptying.
This specialty cooker is dishwasher and oven safe, and recommended for use on gas and electric ranges, but not glass cooktops.
Made in the US by Columbian Home Products, the oldest manufacturer of cookware in the country since 1873, they’re very well known for their porcelain-on-steel pieces.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
A couple of customers have complained about the spigot leaking, but the majority are pleased with the product.
Foodal’s Take: A basic pot that you can throw in the back of the truck and hit the beach with, this granite ware offering won’t rip the wallet out of your pants or purse. Serves double duty as a water bath canner if you’re into jam making.
GRANITE WARE ENAMEL ON STEEL CLAM AND LOBSTER STEAMER: THE BEST VALUE
Another granite ware steamer made in the US from Columbian Home Products, this 3-piece kettle is perfect for steaming lobster and clams. Constructed of porcelain on steel, it’s safe for all foods and can be used for indoor and outdoor cooking. With large loop handles, it’s perfect on a bed of coals for a clambake on the beach.
The convenient steamer insert has the same wide loop handles and fits smoothly into the lower tier, making it easy to lift food in and out, while the domed lid also has a large loop handle. Similar to the Granite Ware 2-Tier Steamer above, this one doesn’t have a spigot, or a decorative exterior.
Oven and dishwasher safe, it’s also good on gas and electric ranges, and is induction compatible.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Customers on Amazon rave about this kettle with its roomy dimensions of 16 x 14 x 9”, outstanding durability, and easy clean up. It’s made in the USA and is a great value.
PRECISE HEAT 24 QUART STOCK POT WITH DEEP STEAMER BASKET
From Precise Heat, this attractive and durable steamer pot measures 15 x 15 x 12”, is constructed of highly polished surgical stainless steel, and comes with a deep steamer basket with bucket handle for easy lifting. The welded and riveted handles have wide, stay-cool grips for safe and comfortable moving, and the fitted lid has a stay-cool knob handle.
It also steam cooks with minimal water. Simply bring the water to a boil on medium heat, and when the valve on the lid handle starts to whistle, push the lever until the word CLOSED appears. Turn the heat down low to continue steaming.
Suitable for steaming and draining vegetables, cooking lobster and clams, or blanching foods for the freezer. This beautiful 3-piece kettle comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
After some initial problems with the steamer basket size in 2008, customers now report being very happy with this kettle.
Foodal’s Take: This is a great pot – plain and simple. Thick stainless steel at a reasonable price, and it’s everything that a stockpot or lobster steamer should be. The fact that it is about double the price (but still reasonable) and no country of manufacture is listed (we assume China) are the only things that keep it from claiming the first spot on our list.
A vessel such as this will last much longer than one of the enamel porcelain coated steel jobs. It’s pretty much a lifetime buy with no chance of a cracked a finish, and you’d need to take a sledgehammer to it to dent it. It’s also available in a 30-quart size as well as a 42-quart version if you’d like one that’s a bit bigger.
Well, there you have it: the features to look for in a good seafood pot, and a few product reviews for your consideration. Now all you need is some seafood and a few friends to feast with. So dust off your seafood bib and get to it!