Steam Your Next Batch Of Shrimp In This Boozy Ingredient

Steaming shrimp — or steaming any food, for that matter — typically involves suspending it above a boiling liquid so the food cooks in the steam that the liquid generates. While just a few inches and a basket separate steaming from boiling, the cooking method makes quite a difference. What it boils down to is, it's not as easy to overcook steamed shrimp so there's less danger of them winding up rubbery. As to the cooking liquid, you may want to use something other than water for more flavorful shrimp. If the number of beer-steamed shrimp recipes is anything to go by, beer is an ingredient favored by many cooks.

Because the steaming liquid doesn't come into direct contact with the shrimp as it would if you were boiling them, beer will only impart a mild and pleasant maltiness rather than overwhelming them with a boozy flavor. Another advantage that steaming has over boiling is that it requires a lot less liquid, so if all you have is half a can of leftover beer, you can use it as part of the liquid in a steamed shrimp recipe (try our Old Bay-flavored one) and make up the rest with broth or water. It won't make any difference whether the beer's gone flat, either, as it will lose any fizz as it cooks.

Don't throw out the leftover liquid

If you hate the thought of food waste and want to reduce it whenever possible, you might be reluctant to use beer to steam your shrimp since it's just going to wind up being poured down the drain ... or will it? There's really no need to discard the cooking liquid once the shrimp are done steaming. After all, the USDA tells us that even liquid that has been in contact with raw meat is safe to consume after it's been boiled and the beer has not only been boiling the whole time, but it never even came into contact with the shrimp.

If you don't have any immediate plans for the liquid, let it cool, then pour it into ice cube trays to freeze. Next time you're cooking a dish such as our Louisiana seafood gumbo, slow cooker seafood chowder, or Instant Pot shrimp fried rice, swap out a few of the ice cubes for some of the liquid. There's no need to thaw them since they'll melt as they cook — just put the cubes in a measuring cup and fill the rest with stock, water, milk, or more beer, depending on the recipe.