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Great seafood deserves to be steamed to perfection with the right tools. If you have a family that is really into celebrating local crabs in their diet or are trying to perfect the perfect clam dish, it helps to have the right pot.
An outdoor seafood steamer is a great way to broaden our horizons for outdoor occasions. But, it has to be the right steamer.
My top pick in outdoor seafood steamers.
There are some great pots in this guide that all have their pros and cons. But, by top pick is the King Kooker Propane Outdoor Fry Boil Package because of the value for money. You get so much more than just a pot because of the burner, extra pans, and thermometer. It is a great set to consider if you are serious about cooking in the great outdoors and trying a range of different recipes. If you don’t need the burner, you can always check out the brand’s other pots.
Why get an outdoor seafood cooker.
An outdoor cooker for seafood gives you the perfect opportunity to steam lobster, crabs, clams, and anything else you like away from your kitchen. Steamer pots at home are great when you want to mix up the weekly menu and splash out with a fun seafood dish for your family.
You can contain the chosen ingredient in the suspended basket and make it soft and tender. From there it is ready for the plate or for use in other recipes.
Doing this outside lets you bring this culinary option to alfresco dining in the yard, camping trips, big community catering events, and even competitive cookouts. But, you need the right cooker for the best experience.
Seven of the best outdoor crab steamers around right now.
First of all, I want to talk about an aspect of the listing for this set that I have always had a bit of a problem with. When you have something that calls itself a 5-piece set, it isn’t unreasonable to expect five different pieces of cookware.
What you actually get here are two pots of varying sizes, the boiling basket for the seafood, and the corresponding lids. With that said, having that extra stockpot is a nice touch, especially when this set isn’t that expensive compared to other models.
The star of the show Is the massive 80-quart pot with its insertable basket. That is meant to allow for 45 pounds of shellfish if you are keen to feed an army.
Both pieces are professional-grade aluminum so should be lightweight and relatively durable. The pots have handles at the top for lifting and basic lids to keep the steam instead.
The basket also has a larger handle for ease of use when adding and retrieving the seafood.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The large capacity of the main 80-quart pot and basket
Professional-grade aluminum for better quality and longevity
The standard design with the simple handles and lids
An extra little stockpot for other meals[/i2pros][i2cons] A little bit of false advertising in the listing that says this is a 5 piece set.[/i2cons][/i2pc]
Granite Ware products are a little different from the more industrial-looking metal pots and baskets. I am a fan of stoneware and porcelain-coated cookware more generally because of the durability and the visual appeal.
But, I didn’t expect to see this effect in these larger outdoor seafood steamers. There are a few
different pots in the line, but this is the more straightforward container for large portions of seafood, stock, tamale, and other creations for the whole family.
The material is strong, ship-resistant, and should have no negative effect on your food. So, there is no need to worry that this isn’t that “cleaner” stainless steel.
This attractive pot is also more than practical with its large 15.5-quart capacity, the steamer insert, a large domed lid to keep the heat in, and two reliable handles at the sides. There are rare warnings about the quality control on the application of the porcelain coating, but most users are pretty happy with what they manage to create.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A great looking pot for fans of porcelain coatings
A great capacity for large portions of seafood
Pretty easy to use with the insert and large handles on the sides
[/i2pros][i2cons]Some rare issues with the quality of the coating[/i2cons][/i2pc]
This is one of the most simplistic options and it is one that you would probably skim over when looking through options online. Others are more interesting or more attractive while this is as unassuming as possible to get the job done.
The selling point is the size. At 62 Quarts, this thing is massive for families and should offer more than enough room for large quantities of food.
This could help in dealing with mass catering for parties, family gatherings, or big cooking competitions in the future.
The design is straightforward with the tall stainless steel pot, the internal steaming basket, and the lid. Set it up on the camping stove or burner and let it do its thing.
There aren’t the same clever aspects like a domed lid, but you do get handles on the side. It is noticeable on Amazon that this was frequently bought with a heavy-duty single burner.
This shows that you can get a more affordable option like this and then build on the setup. The two together give this the functionality of my top pick model. But, adding this extra purchase does ramp up the cost significantly.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A straightforward approach to the design for accessibility
One of the more affordable options, leaving room in the budget for a separate burner
The large capacity for big events
The practical design of the handles on the sides[/i2pros][i2cons]No additional accessories or selling points [/i2cons][/i2pc]
This next option is just one big pot – so you do end up with the same disadvantages as other options with a lack of features and accessories. But, this is a very popular and well-made pot that does the job well.
There are different sizes available so I recommend going through the options and checking the prices before you buy. I’ve focused on the 53-quart one here because I think that is a more practical size for families that want to use this when cooking outside.
Not too big and not too small. But, there are smaller portable options down as far as 24 quarts and the largest is 180 quarts.
This stainless steel pot has a basket that sits neatly inside with a collapsible handle. The handles and the lid are the standard shapes and in the regular position on the pot.
Few designers seem to want to play around with this to try and make it any more ergonomic or convenient.
There are some concerns about the durability and construction of these handles from some users, but not enough to be of massive concern to new buyers.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A well-made pot with few complaints
The functionality of the basket with its collapsible handle
A choice of capacity options when you look closer at the options
Easy to use in the right set-up[/i2pros][i2cons]Some questions over the durability of the handles[/i2cons][/i2pc]
The last of these stand-alone pots is this option from Chard. By this point, a lot of these products begin to look the same as there is a blueprint in the design.
Here you get the main stockpot, the basket to hang inside for steaming, the safety hanger, and the handles in all the right places. There is the promise of no-rust aluminum construction and general ease of use.
It certainly has a lot of positive ratings from users, which is why I included such an unassuming product in this list. I would have gone with something with more of a wow factor, but the prettier models aren’t necessarily any good for outdoor use.
I also think that this might be a good option for those that want something a little more portable. It is difficult to gauge an appropriate size for your family’s needs.
Too big and you can’t transport it around or you may struggle with cooking times.
Too small and you might not get the portion sizes you need. Still, this thin, portable 30-quart option should be good for backyard cookouts and camping rather than any commercial or mass-catering affair.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]Quality aluminum construction to prevent rusting and degradation
The taller compact shape and 30-quart capacity are great for portability
The basket sits nicely in the pot on the safety hanger
The conveniently placed handles on the sides[/i2pros][i2cons]Again, no wow-factor or extra feature.[/i2cons][/i2pc]
For the final two products in this guide, I want to talk about some practical options with the burner included. The first comes a company we have already spoken about: King Kooker. This is an interesting alternative product where you get a lot more value for money because of the extra features lacking in the package above.
You get the bonus of the 33,000 BTU cast burner, a basket, lifting rack, hook, and also an extra pan with a heat-resistant handle. This should increase your options when cooking outside with a menu that goes beyond basic seafood recipes. There is also a helpful thermometer.
The pot itself is a good size. It is taller and thinner than others so it sits nicely on the burner stand, but there is still a 29 Qt capacity. The aluminum should be durable enough while remaining light enough to lift and carry. There is also a good matching lid and handles on the sides.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]A more comprehensive package this time with the burner and other pots
The burner seems to be easy enough to use.
[/i2pros][i2cons]The capacity isn’t the largest but fine for this application. [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Finally, we have this alternative pot and burner set from Creole Feast. The immediate selling point here over the King Kooler option is the capacity. This one is significantly bigger at 60 Qt, with a much broader diameter and wider stand to hold it.
This feels like a more heavy-duty option with that strong steel burner stand and the powerful 100,000 BTU jet burner. This combination, as well as the all-important seafood basket, means that you should be able to create a lot of great meals with ease.
The extra capacity and power of this model explain why it is a more expensive option. This is more of an investment piece for use over many years at cookouts and more. However, the lack of additional features does make me question the value of money. For example, there is a hook on the lid for a mixing paddle but you need to buy that separately. There are also no additional pans and no thermometer.
[i2pc pros_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-up” cons_icon=”icon icon-thumbs-down” show_title=”false” title=”Pros & Cons” show_button=”false” pros_title=”Pros” cons_title=”Cons” ][i2pros]The much larger capacity
The extra power in the burner
[/i2pros][i2cons]Helpful accessories sold separately [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Finding the best outdoor seafood steamer for your needs.
In this guide, I reviewed a series of seven top outdoor steamers. The first five offer you the cookware alone. You may get just the one quality stockpot with the additional basket or potentially some additional items to go with it.
These require you to already have a burner or other suitable way to cook the food. The final two options are pots that come with the burner.
This all-in-one approach can be more beneficial but also costly. Still, you do get more for your money with the additional accessories.
You should now have a better idea of what to expect from these cooking pots and which may be the best option for your needs. I have included my top pick for those that want a quick recommendation and then you can see more on the seven options.
I also want to talk more about what to look out for.
What should you look out for when buying an outdoor seafood steamer for your family?
1) The capacity.
The size of the pot is perhaps the most important feature of all here. You need to be sure that it isn’t too big to be practical for your needs or too small that the portion sizes are all wrong.
Each listing should give a clear indication of capacity and you can convert this to gallons or to pounds of crab/crawfish/etc.
2) The ease of use of the steamer basket.
The steamer basket is the most important feature in this pot for the shellfish. It needs to sit above the base with ease and no danger to you or others when taking it out.
Look for an outdoor steamer cooker with collapsible handles and hooks to make things easier.
3) The portability of the set
Portability is also important if you are going to have the best outdoor crab cooker for big events away from home. This is another area where capacity is important.
Is it too big to fit in the car? Most pots have handles on the side. Make sure that these are well-constructed and set into the pot for heavier models.
4) The durability of the materials.
The use of materials in these pots might not be the first thing that you look at when there are more important details or interesting features. But, there are variations between products.
You will find that a lot of products are either aluminum or stainless steel. The latter is often preferred for regular cooking in commercial situations but the aluminum can be light and practical too.
There is also an option in this guide with carbon steel and an additional porcelain-enamel coating. This is uncommon in these outdoor pots.
5) The use of user-friendly design features.
Ease of use is essential when dealing with these large pots, especially if you have a pot and burner combo.
You need to be able to load the seafood into the basket, put that basket into the pot, put a well-fitting lid on the top, and then place it on the burner.
You don’t want any risk of the pot falling over, the lid coming off of the food becoming irretrievable, and overcooking.
6) The additional functions and features for other meals or ingredients
Some products come with additional features and cookware for dealing with other meals. Some will focus on the cooking of turkey and other poultry.
This could mean a rack and other tools for an even cook in the large pot. Some go even further with thermometers, probes, and ways of any spices and marinades. You may also find a pot set with a smaller stockpot.
7) The inclusion of any means of cooking the food.
Many consumers will get the straightforward pot and then source the right burner later. Or, perhaps you are borrowing a burner at an event.
But, you can find products that offer both in one package. This is is great for personal cook-outs and camping trips. Check the quality and certification of the system and look for additional protective features.
8) The look of the pot
Aesthetics aren’t that important when dealing with this sort of product. It needs to be practical first. A lot look exactly the same and are indistinguishable side-by-side.
Others that might not be as practical for outdoor use may have a different look to the exterior – something that you could proudly use at home.
9) The cost.
Finally, there is the price. I have tried to provide a range of models at a fair price. You don’t want to go too cheap and sacrifice quality or features, but you don’t want to go too expensive for a commercial model if you don’t have to.
Consider the pot and burner combos as a way of saving some money.
Which is the best outdoor crab steamer for your needs.
There is a lot of choices here when searching for the best possible option for an outdoor steamer cooker. If you have modest needs and only plan to feed your small family, some of the compact pots are great if you already have a burner.
But, you can get the same basic features and ease of use in larger items for community events and bigger catering needs. If you have more than seafood in mind, consider the pots that provide more features for other meals and turkey cooking.
Check the specifications and compare your choices for the right capacity and design for your needs.