Steamed Lobster with Drawn Butter

Steamed lobster with drawn butter–with its sweet, succulent tail, slurpy claws, and chunky knuckles–is one of summer’s greatest hits. What sets this recipe apart is the herbaceousness of both the steaming liquid and the butter.

Steaming lobster is simple enough. It’s also stunning enough for company when you add herb-infused drawn butter (just a fancy way to say melted butter) imparts a lovely lilt to the lobster.Renee Schettler Rossi

Steamed Lobster with Drawn Butter

A what plate with steamed lobster with drawn butter--claws, knuckles, and tail meat
Steamed lobster with drawn butter–with its sweet, succulent tail, slurpy claws, and chunky knuckles–is one of summer’s greatest hits. What sets this recipe apart is the herbaceousness of both the steaming liquid and the butter.
JoAnn Cianciulli

Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 30 mins
Entrees
American
4 servings
5 / 3 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 bunch thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 lemons plus more for serving
  • Four (2-pound) live lobsters
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves

Directions
 

  • Fill a large steamer or stock pot with about 2 inches of water and toss in the salt, thyme, bay leaves, and the juice of 1 lemon. If a more emphatic lemon flavor is desired, go ahead and toss in the halves of 2 lemons. Bring to a boil.
  • Place the lobsters in the steamer basket or directly in the pot, cover, and steam until the shells are bright red and the tail is curled, about 15 minutes. Remove the lobsters from the pot and let drain.
  • Meanwhile, gently warm the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Warm it up gently so the milk solids begin to cook and sink to the bottom of the pot. Keep a close watch because once the milk solids collect and fall, they burn easily. Carefully pour the clear butter into a small dish, leaving the solids behind in the pan. (If necessary, strain the drawn butter to remove any pesky lingering solids.) Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the drawn butter and stir in the parsley and basil.
  • Serve the steamed lobster with the drawn butter and lemon wedges.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We prepare steamed lobster quite often, especially during the summer months when lobsters are frequently on sale. We use a very similar methodology but some of the “extra” techniques in this recipe didn’t seem to add much value. For example, we usually use plain water for steaming and the result was about the same. I even added an extra lemon to the water and could not discern even a hint of lemon in the lobster meat. The instructions for cracking the lobster worked well and are pretty much the standard way to handle a steamed lobster. Very useful to include this for people who may never have previously handled a lobster.

Steamed lobster and drawn butter is always a winner to someone who likes shellfish. I love lobster and was looking forward to treating myself to one of my favorite meals. Since I was treating myself to a spectacular specimen of shellfish I only cooked one but I left the ingredients at the same amount.

What I really liked was the drawn butter with the juice of 2 lemons and fresh parsley and basil. It had a wonderfully light and bright fresh taste. I thought the lobster itself was a bit flat. It was okay, it didn’t send me off to the shores of Maine without the butter.

Originally published July 29, 2018

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Comments

  1. Could ghee work? After all, it is a very convenient clarified butter that someone else did all the labor.

  2. Perhaps a silly question, but if I’m cooking 3 lobsters do I put them all in head first (so they would seem to be standing on their heads side by side) or once in are they sitting one on top of the other?

    1. Hi Deb451, not a silly question. I’d be inclined to put them all in head first side by side. If your pot is large and they tend to fall over during steaming, that’s fine.

  3. 5 stars
    This looks very good and unique, as Lisa said. I don’t like fancy lobster and this is simple but with an unobtrusive twist.

    Gary, from MA, living in CA

  4. 5 stars
    I LOVE lobster! I’m from Maine, and to me, lobster is comfort food. I do like it plain and simple but I’ll try to be open to new things. The instructions are really a great idea, nice post!….Lisa (lobster-lover!)

  5. 5 stars
    Wow, that looks awesome. I have always been a little shy of cooking lobster. I think this might be the handholding I need to make it. Thanks.

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