Steam Lobster Tails In Beer For Elevated Flavor

Cooking with booze is nothing new, with countless recipes utilizing wine, bourbon, beer, and everything in between. Seafood gets its fair share of alcohol infusions, including beer-battered fish tacos, drunken shrimp (which uses absinthe), and poached branzino with beurre blanc (which uses white wine). While many home chefs treat lobster with kid gloves, often due to limited experience and high costs, there's no reason to avoid cooking lobster in your favorite booze. That's especially true if it's beer.

Steaming lobster tails in beer adds moisture to the meat while also elevating the flavor with malty, earthy notes. It's one of the easiest ways to transform plain lobster tails into a delicious ready-to-eat gourmet meal. You'll avoid the guessing game of choosing spices, rubs, and marinades, as well as deciding how much is too much or too little. The inherent flavors you already love in your favorite lager, ale, or pilsner will be what permeates those sea creatures — even better if you complement your meal with the same cold brew. 

Aside from the rich flavor infusion and moist texture, steaming lobster tails bypasses the fear of overbaking in a hot oven or over-charring on an outside grill. Lobster tails from a grocery store or fish market are typically sold raw or frozen. Steaming defrosted tails gets the entire job done in about 15 minutes with little effort on your part. 

Steaming and pairing beer with lobster

Prep time for making two beer-steamed lobster tails is typically five minutes or less, including bringing the beer to a boil in a stovetop pot. It only takes about two inches of beer in the bottom of the pan to create the stream, without it splashing onto the lobster. Place a stainless-steel steamer basket over the bubbling brew, lay the tails across the basket, reduce the heat, and cover. You can use either un-shelled lobster pieces or shell-on lobster tails, preferably slit lengthwise for easy access when eating. The cut only needs to go through the exposed outer shell, not through the meat itself. 

That's pretty much it; just let the tails steam for about 10 minutes, more or less depending on size. Check sooner if you've removed the lobster meat from its shell before steaming. Feel free to add butter or flavoring to the beer, such as a bay leaf or garlic clove. To keep lobster tails from over-curling while they steam, slide a skewer through each tail. 

Any type of beer works for steaming, but it helps to use ones that pair well with lobster, generally those with a mild to medium taste. Light, fruity cream ales are a good choice, as are peppery Belgian tripels, citrusy pale ales, and single IPAs or wheat beers. As with any food and alcohol pairing, the best type of beer for steaming lobsters will ultimately be the one you enjoy.