Shrimp cook in just minutes on the grill and are adaptable to a wide range of flavors, making them great for fast gourmet meals even during the busiest times. With the new E-Z peel shrimp, also called zipperback shrimp, peeling them is less work than ever, making shrimp even less time-consuming. Wondering the best way to grill shrimp? Or how long it takes? Want to add a marinade? All your questions are answered in this easy grilled shrimp recipe!
Read these basic grilling tips to learn how to grill shrimp.
- Choose medium shrimp or larger. Large and medium shrimp tend to enjoy the best prices and are perfect for making skewers.
- For the most part, shrimp are now labeled for their country of origin (typically China, Thailand or Vietnam but also U.S. and Canada depending on the season). The origin has no effect on the shrimp's flavor and suggested cooking method; labeling simply satisfies a legal requirement and a marketing point. Sometimes shrimp of the same size have different prices based on the country. I have seen large shrimp from Vietnam for a lower price than smaller U.S. shrimp. Buy what fits your needs and your budget.
- Almost all shrimp sold in the US have been previously frozen, so unless you live near a coastal shrimping area, do not expect to find them fresh.
- Frequently, tiger shrimp (they are striped when raw) are the larger ones available, and usually at a premium price. If there are shrimp large enough for your purpose, the kind of shrimp is irrelevant. More common white shrimp are fine.
- Shrimp for grilling should still have their shells. E-Z peel or zipperback shrimp have a slit cut down the back; they are essentially de-veined while still in the shell, eliminating a yucky and time-consuming step. Only medium or larger shrimp have this feature. The shell protects the shrimp from drying out on the grill, while the slit in the shell lets the flavors of a marinade or spice blend sink into the shrimp.
- Make a marinade for grilled shrimp. You can also season shrimp. Because shrimp cook so quickly, a sweet marinade is okay before grilling; the sugars won't have time to burn before the shrimp cook. Try teriyaki, Cajun, orange/honey/ginger, Old Bay seasoning (spicy with celery seed, bay leaves, cardamom, pepper and more), Thai, Tex-Mex, Caribbean, lemon-pepper seasoning, or Italian (usually a blend of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram). If you like, add a couple cloves minced garlic to your Italian seasoning and blend with melted butter, salt and pepper.
Whether you use a dry blend or a liquid marinade, season shrimp no more than 30 minutes before grilling.
- For grilling on skewers, soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes before threading shrimp onto them. If you don't want to make skewers, use a grilling basket to cook shrimp easily without worrying about them falling through the grill, which is otherwise inevitable!
- Leave half of an inch between shrimp on the skewer.
- Preheat the grill to medium.
- Grill shrimp for three to five minutes, until pink and curled. Be careful not to overcook. Larger shrimp take longer than smaller ones, of course!
- While cooking, baste shrimp with melted butter. If desired, add some of the aforementioned pre-cooking seasoning to the butter for extra flavor.
- When done, let rest for a few minutes to cool. Grilled shrimp are great served over rice and vegetables.
Enjoy these grilling ideas when learning how to cook shrimp.