Shrimp is an excellent source of protein that’s very family-friendly—kids love it too. It’s also versatile—you can bake, fry or boil them—but the best is BBQ shrimp. Cooking seafood on the grill is easy, and in today’s post, I’ll show you a spiced shrimp recipe with lemon and garlic.
Some questions I’ll be answering before my grilled shrimp recipe:
- What kind of shrimp to grill?
- Shrimp sizes.
- How to cook shrimp on the grill?
- Preventing shrimp from sticking.
- Do you peel shrimp before grilling?
What Kind of Shrimp Do You Grill?
With roughly 300 species of shrimp, it’s essential to know which is best suited for a grilled recipe. There are a few things to consider before buying:
Types of Shrimp
When venturing into the grocery store or seafood market, you won’t find 300 species of shrimp. Here are the most common types:
- White shrimp: This type has a nutty taste. You can also find Mexican white shrimp and Chinese. They can be both farmed and wild.
- Brown shrimp: These contain more iodine and has more of a mineral flavor. They’re brown when fresh and turn pink while cooking—we generally use them in recipes like gumbo. These are also fantastic when grilled as they’re a decent size and affordable.
- Pink shrimp: These are the tiny shrimp you’ll see at the grocery store. They’re all pink, but darken once cooked.
- Rock shrimp: As the name suggests, these live in shells, but they’re usually deshelled before being sold. They have a firm texture and are excellent substitutes for lobster. They’re great as grilled, but not always easy to get a hold on.
When making grilled shrimp, size matters. You want to search for those labeled as “jumbo,” avoid going smaller than this. Tiny ones are tricky to handle on the grill, and they’re likely to fall through the grates.
If you can’t see a size label, consult the “count per pound” section. Here you may see something like “41/50,” which means the package contains 41 to 50 shrimps per pound. Fewer shrimps per pound indicate that they’re larger.
How Do I Cook Shrimp on the Grill?
With a variety of methods to use for grilled shrimp, your best bet is to marinate them before. Then place them on skewers and barbeque.
Skewers are best since they prevent the shrimp from falling through the grates and makes them easier to turn. You can also add veggies for flavor.
For grilled shrimp, a simple marinade is all you need. This could include some lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. During grill season, you could even have a marinade batch ready to cut down prep time. My recipe today calls for a 30-minute marinade soak with lemon and garlic to get the shrimp ready to be grilled.
How Do You Keep Shrimp From Sticking to the Grill?
Grilled shrimp is easy to cook, but one common issue is that about half of the batch tends to stick to the grates. This is due to a chemical bond occurring between the shrimp’s high protein content and the metal grates.
There are three easy ways of avoiding this. To begin with, make sure your grill is hot—as you place the shrimp onto the grates, it creates a little steam. This is enough to produce a small barrier, keeping it from sticking.
Another essential step is to use oil. Like hot grates, oil acts as a middle ground, filling out the gaps in the grill, preventing sticking. Roughly 2 tablespoons are ample to prevent them from sticking—you can add this to the marinade.
If you don’t add oil to the marinade, distribute approximately 1 teaspoon of oil across the grill where you’ll be cooking the shrimp. This should make them easy to turn.
My last advice is to let your shrimp cook for at least 3 minutes per side for a total time of 6 minutes—try resisting your urge to turn them earlier. It’s important to let the grilled shrimp brown a bit to minimize sticking.
Do You Peel Shrimp Before Grilling?
Peeling shrimp before placing them on the grill isn’t a necessity. It usually depends on the recipe you’re making. Barbequing them with the shell on is a good way of adding flavor.
What you must do is devein the shrimp—otherwise, you’ll get sandy grit in the food, and it could alter the taste.
When thawed, use a sharp knife to cut the shell along the back to the tail. Use the knife or scissors to lift the vein out gently.
If you’ve peeled the shrimp, simply use the knife to lift the vein out. Afterward, make sure you rinse it in cold running water.
For my recipe today, you need the shrimp peeled and deveined.
Grilled Spiced Shrimp Skewers
- 4 to 5 wooden skewers
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined.
- 1 large lemon Zest and juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 6 chopped cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 cups water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- Start by pouring water into a shallow dish or bowl. Add the skewers and leave them to soak while you’re preparing the marinade. Soaking the skewers prevent the shrimp from sticking
- For the shrimp marinade, add lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, parsley, white wine, salt and pepper to a bowl. Briskly whisk the ingredients. Ensure that the garlic is finely chopped, so you get more taste. If you want a nutty flavor, roast the garlic beforehand, you can do this in the oven or grill.
- Clean your shrimp, but leave the tails on.
- Take the wooden skewers out of the bath and add four shrimp to each. Ensure that the skewer pierces each piece in two places—aim for the top and just above the tail. Otherwise, the shrimp may fall off while grilling.
- Bring a shallow baking dish, and place the shrimp skewers inside. Get your marinade, give it a quick whisk and pour it over the shrimp. Ensure that all pieces are nicely coated.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. This allows your skewers to absorb all the flavor.
- While your shrimp is marinating, prep the grill. Preheat it to low to medium heat.
- Bring your shrimp out of the marinade and place them on the grill. Discard the marinade.
- Let the skewers cook for about 3 minutes per side. If you’re cooking on lower heat, give them 4 minutes per side. But stay close—shrimp cooks fast—when the flesh turns pink and appears opaque, they’re ready.
- If desired, garnish your grilled shrimp with chopped parsley and serve.
Grilled shrimp is not only delicious, but it’s super easy to make. Most recipes require a total time of 20 to 30 minutes, including prep and cook time.
You have several methods to prepare grilled shrimp, and the majority are reasonably easy. In my opinion, garlic and lemon complement the taste perfectly. Make sure that you chop everything finely, especially the garlic and parsley, to maximize flavor.
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