Grilled Shrimp With Shells On Or Off

How Do You Keep Shrimp From Sticking To The Grill

The Best Way to Grill Shrimp

The most important step you can take to keep shrimp from sticking to the grill is to clean the grates before anything touches them. If you plan on marinating the shrimp, the oil in the marinade will prevent sticking. If youre just using dry seasonings, brush the grill grates with a little neutral cooking oil to help the shrimp release easily.

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Grilled Shrimp Recipe Tips And Tricks

  • Purchase prepared shrimp. Use shrimp that is already shelled and deveined which saves you TONS of prep time.
  • Use large shrimp. Using large shrimp is an insurance policy for juicy shrimp. It is slightly more forgiving when overcooked than smaller shrimp.
  • Pat shrimp dry. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels before marinating so the marinade can evenly cling to the shrimp and you can achieve that coveted char.
  • Dont over Dont marinate the shrimp longer than 30 minutes or it wont be as juicy.
  • Dont over-cook shrimp. Cook shrimp just until opaque for the juiciest shrimp- dont be tempted to cook them a second longer!
  • Scale recipe. If youre cooking just for two or for small eaters, this grilled shrimp recipe is easy to cut in half. The grilling instructions remain the same.

Solution #: Don’t Peel Off

What if messing about with sugar and marinades isn’t the solution? One surefire way to guarantee juicier, more tender shrimp is to cook them with their shells still intact. Those shells act as a temperature buffer, helping to keep the meat from overcooking while developing plenty of flavor in the shells themselves.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Personally, I like being served shell-on shrimp. Those shells give a ton of flavor to the meat, and if you’re feeling bold, you can go ahead and eat the grilled shells as they are. But shelling shrimp as you eat them can be a messy-fingered affair. Nothing wrong with that per se, but there had to be a solution that could work for those who only want to use a fork.

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How Do You Not Overcook Shrimp

But thats one of the factors shrimp are typically overcooked. They cook so rapidly typically in 2 to 3 minutes that they can go from tender to rubbery prior to you even realize whats taking place. The key is to eliminate them from the heat right when the flesh is evenly pink, with no brown or greyish-brown spots.

What To Eat With Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp with Old Bay and Aioli

Unlike a steak or fish fillet, shrimp is a team player that adds flavor to other dishes. We love shrimp served with cocktail sauce, on a skewer, or in fettuccine alfredo. These common dishes are also good ways to use shrimp.

  • To taste freshly ground black pepper

  • Italian parsley, chopped

  • Before you start cooking or seasoning, make sure your shrimp is prepared. If they havent been deveined, now is the time to do so. With a small knife, cut a line lengthwise down the shrimps belly. Remove the large vein going through the shrimp — its actually an intestine and you dont want to eat the contents.

  • Preheat your Traeger to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the lid closed.

  • While the grill is preheating, combining the shrimp with the oil and Old Bay Seasoning in a large bowl. Alternatively, you can simply season with salt and pepper in the oil. Toss shrimp until well covered.

  • Grill the shrimp on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until the shrimp are opaque and pink, then remove from the grill.

  • For the cocktail sauce, combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. If youd like an extra kick, add your hot sauce of choice.

Serve your shrimp alongside the cocktail sauce in a small bowl and garnish with parsley.

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Why Is My Shrimp Rubbery

Overcooked shrimp is chewy or rubbery if you undercook them, you risk of slimy shrimp which, in some circumstances, can be harmful. But shrimp cooks extremely rapidly, so theres a fine line between badly cooked and effectively prepared and were here to make certain you do not cross that line.

Do You Leave Shell On Shrimp When Grilling

If you want to keep the shrimp soft when grilling over high heat, butterfly them by slicing them almost through lengthwise but leaving the shell on. Grill the shrimps for 2 minutes on each side, or until the shells are hot pink and the shrimp is opaque, brushing them with oil and seasoning them with salt and pepper.

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Tips For Grilling Peel And Eat Shrimp

Grilled peel and eat cajun shrimp is surprisingly simple to whip up. As we said, its best to keep the shells on when you can because it results in a more flavorful, succulent shrimp.

Seafood, in general, can be cooked quickly. The same is true for shrimp, which can easily be cooked through on the grill in under 10 minutes.

When it comes to grilling shrimp, here are some tips to keep in mind:

    • Choose jumbo or colossal-size shrimp that are easier to grill
    • Make sure your shrimp are thawed and patted dry at room temperature before grilling to ensure they are cooked evenly
    • Skewer your shrimp on metal or wood skewer for easy grilling
    • Preheat your grill to 350-450°F, or medium heat
    • Shrimp cook quickly over direct heat, cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side

How To Prep Shrimp For The Grill

Cooking Shrimp: Shell On or Shell Off?

Once youve got thawed shrimp you need to remove the shell tail and all and skewer it. There are couple of methods for peeling and deveining, but I find a pair of sharp kitchen shears the best tool for the job. If you run the blade through the top of the shell you can open up the shell and remove most of the vein at once.

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What Shrimp To Buy For Grilled Shrimp Skewers

You can purchase either fresh or frozen raw shrimp for these grilled shrimp skewers. Heres what to look for:

  • Purchase wild caught shrimp. Look for wild caught shrimp versed farm-raised for the best flavor and texture.
  • Purchase raw, deveined shrimp. Look for shrimp that is raw , peeled and deveined. Buying prepared shrimp saves you TONS of time and makes your job a snap because all you have to do is defrost the shrimp.
  • Frozen shrimp is awesome! Frozen shrimp is frozen shortly after its caught which means its frozen at peak freshness. So, unless you live coastal , it is even more fresh than the seafood counter by the time its purchased and you actually use it. Frozen shrimp is also more economical than fresh which means you can keep it stocked and read to use any time.

Dishes You Should Be Using Shell

When it comes to seafood, American’s like to stick with what they know. The usual suspects like salmon, cod, crab, canned tuna, tilapia, and scallops consistently make the list of Top 10 Seafoods consumed in the American market, per Seafood Source. However, there is nothing quite so popular as shrimp.

According to NOAA Fisheries, nearly all of the multimillion pounds worth of shrimp sold in the U.S. are caught in the Gulf of Mexico, as white, pink, and brown shrimp thrive in the temperate coastal waters. Across the country, these little crustaceans can be found hanging off martini glasses filled with cocktail sauce, mixed into a scampi, or skewered and grilled over a flame.

Chances are, however, that when you’re out shopping for shrimp, they are missing an important part of their anatomy: their shell. Whether it’s pre-cooked frozen shrimp or bagged raw shrimp, the shells are often missing. Sure it’s convenient, but here’s the thing, though. Shell-on shrimp are way tastier than their de-shelled brethren. According to Epicurious, hidden within a shrimp’s shell is an immense store of delicious flavors naked shrimp simply cannot match. Not only are the shells edible when cooked correctly, but they impart extra umami to the meat and make for a rich seafood stock or excellent garden compost. Across numerous cultures, there are a variety of dishes where using shell-on shrimp is the only way to achieve maximum flavor.

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Six Steps To Grilling Shrimp

Raw shrimp on a skewer, ready for the grill How to grill shrimp

1. For the best possible results, buy fresh shrimp on the day that you plan to grill them. Shrimp thaw quickly and can go bad even more quickly. Make sure that you buy either jumbo or colossal sized shrimp for easier grilling.

2. Shrimp can be grilled with or without their shells. I like to peel the shrimp prior to grilling. Remove all of the shell except for the part that is around the tail of the shrimp. Removing the shell will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat and give the shrimp more taste.

3. Devein the shrimp by using a small, sharp knife to cut down the back of each peeled shrimp. Pull out the back vein while washing the shrimp under cold water. The vein is noticeable in jumbo or colossal shrimp.

ully grilled shrimp on a skewer How to grill shrimp

4. Give the shrimp flavor in the marinade of your choice. My favorite is just a simple brush of olive oil on the shrimp with some salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon.

5. Thread your shrimp on a skewer for easy grilling. You can use a wooden skewer or metal skewer, both options work well.

Take the shrimp off the grill and it is time to enjoy, perfect for a shrimp cocktail or to pair with your favorite dipping sauce!

Do You Season Or Marinate Shrimp Before Grilling It


You can and should marinate or season your shrimp before grilling it. Marinades generally take a little longer. You should marinate shrimp for no less than 30 minutes, but you can quickly toss shrimp in seasoning just before grilling.

If you opt for a marinade, you can generally let your shrimp sit, refrigerated, for up to eight hours. Theres an exception, however, if you use citrus in the marinade. Because its acidic properties break down proteins, shrimp can get soggy and mushy if its marinated in citrus juice for more than two hours.

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Tips To Make The Best Grilled Shrimp:

  • Do not overcook: Shrimp are fully cooked when they turn a pink color and look opaque and white on the inside. Pull them off the grill as soon as they are done.
  • Rinse: Clean your shrimp before cooking them. Rinse in cold water to remove any debris, pieces of shell, etc.
  • Cook from frozen: Save yourself time and cook your shrimp directly from frozen. No need to thaw first.
  • Pre-cooked shrimp: You can grill pre-cooked shrimp. Essentially you will just be heating them on the grill so it will take less than cook time. You just want to leave them long enough to warm them.

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Can You Marinate Shrimp In The Shell

Do you shell the shrimp and eat them with the flavor of the marinade that dries on your fingers or do you cook them in the shells? If you want to do so, it is a perfectly acceptable alternative. To be honest, I just take a great big chunk of the whole thing, shell and all, and then suck the heads. Its the greatest of all conceivable worlds in this situation.

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Thaw And Remove Shells

Before marinating, the shrimp need to be completely thawed. If you are transporting them in a cooler, this might happen naturally. If they are still a little frosty, the best way to fully defrost them is to place them in a large bowl of water and let them soak for about 10 minutes.

Once theyre done defrosting, you will then want to remove the shell, but leave the tail on.

While the shell can act like a heat buffer while grilling , it prevents the marinade from penetrating into the shrimp . It also puts the exterior char on the shell not the meat. Thats why like to remove and discard the shells before we begin the marinade.

Shrimp shells smell a little fishy, so we recommend putting them in a disposable zip top baggie, otherwise your trash can is going to have an aroma.

How Do You Make Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp

How to Grill Shrimp
  • To start, whisk together your sauce. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, mustard and garlic.
  • In a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat add the butter. Add the sauce and whisk and let reduce until the butter is melted about 2 minutes.
  • Salt and pepper the shrimp and add to the sauce. Toss and cook in the sauce until the shrimp is opaque.

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Solution #: Get Dry To Stay Moist

We like moist food. We want our shrimp to be juicy. But there’s a difference between surface moisture and internal moisture. Internal moisture is what we’re really after. For the exterior, we actually want the exact opposite. Browning reactions can’t take place until surface moisture has evaporated, and it takes an awful lot of energy to evaporate that moisture. When you place a damp skewer full of shrimp on the grill, for at least the first several minutes, you’re waiting for surface moisture to evaporate. All the while, the interiors of those shrimp are getting hotter and hotter, thus expelling more moisture, which then has to be evaporated again, thus exacerbating the problem.

Fact is, if you want shrimp that stay moist inside, they have to start dry outside. Carefully blotting them with paper towels helps, but there’s an even better solution. After skewering my shrimp, I lay the skewers over the edges of a baking dish so that the shrimp are completely elevated. I then place the whole thing, uncovered, in the refrigerator for an hour. Good air circulation means the shrimp dry out rapidly.

When I’m ready to grill, I brush the shrimp with some olive oil and place them over the highest possible heat, pressing down on them slightly to ensure good contact with the grill grates.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt


Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

They may be shrimps, but as far as flavor is concerned, they’re giants.

How Do You Grill Shrimp Without Drying It Out

Depending upon the size, shrimp take practically 3 minutes per side to grill, so watch them thoroughly. Grill the shrimp over direct heat. While grilling you can brush them with marinade or sauce to keep them from drying. But remember, if barbecuing with shells on, not much of that sauce will remain with the shrimp.

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Variations On Grilled Shrimp:

  • Grilled Shrimp Skewers Instead of putting shrimp directly on the griddle, thread the shrimp on a wooden skewers. Marinate the shrimp with butter and seasoning. Grill about 5 minutes on each side.
  • Add Vegetables Toss in red potatoes, broccoli, and squash on the griddle for a complete meal. Add your seasoning and this shrimp recipe turns into an amazing dish.
  • Change the Seasoning If you want to add some spice to your recipe, add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
  • Make Shrimp Tacos Once you have finished grilling your shrimp, wrap them in a tortilla topped with your favorite tacos. You can also do shrimp fajitas.
  • Olive Oil and Lemon Juice Toss to coat the shrimp with Olive oil and Lemon Juice and cook on the stove top.
  • Grilled Shrimp Salad Top your favorite salad with grilled shrimp. This a nice change from the normal grilled chicken.
  • Shrimp Scampi Quickly grill your shrimp and add it to your favorite scampi sauce. Toss with some angel hair pasta for an amazing meal. You can have dinner done in about 30 minutes.
  • Shrimp Fried Rice Make Shrimp Fried Rice right on your griddle. If you have leftover white rice toss with your shrimp and veggies.

Grilled Shrimp Recipes: Four Delectable Marinades

Grilled Shell

In this section we will showcase four exciting grilled shrimp recipes that will make your BBQ the talk of the town. With these recipes, you wont even need sauce for your shrimp anymore.

Before diving into these recipes remember these tips to make shrimp the easiest part of your next barbecue:

  • Shrimp like most seafood should only be marinated for 30 minutes

  • Remember to peel shrimp before marinating to ensure intense flavor

  • If your skewers are thin, consider using 2 to keep your shrimp from flopping around

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Can You Grill Shrimp Without Skewers

It is quite possible to cook this shrimp dish without the use of a skewer. To prevent the shrimp from dropping through the grill grates, I like to lay a cookie cooling rack immediately on top of the grill grates. This dish may also be prepared in a pan with a small amount of olive oil simply cook over medium high heat until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Let Them Sit But Not Too Long

How long should you marinate shrimp?

You want the shrimp to absorb the flavor and the oil of the marinade, so we suggest letting raw shrimp for 30 minutes to 1 hour.If you let your shrimp marinate for longer than 1 hour, it will likely come out tough and chewy because the acid will begin to cook the shrimp after a while.

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