How to Cook BBQ Shrimp - Backyard Boss
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How to Cook BBQ Shrimp

Shrimp add a tropical touch to your barbecue, and you’ll find that cooking them is a simple process once you learn a few tricks. They are a crowd-pleaser, no matter how they’re served, but there’s nothing more unique than the aromas and flavors of good BBQ shrimp. Here we differentiate between grilling with propane or natural gas and barbecue, which to us means using charcoal.

Grilling will cook your shrimp, but charcoal briquettes create a unique, smoky flavor; they can also be purchased with hickory or mesquite chips pressed into the charcoal, which adds even greater depths of flavors. BBQ may take longer to bring up to heat, but it’s worth the wait.

Step-By-Step Tutorial On How To BBQ Shrimps

Step one: Prepare Your Shrimps

Raw Shrimps with peels
Image Credits: Daniel Klein on Unsplash

Start with medium-to-large shrimp that are fresh or thawed so that they will be easier to work with. Fresh shrimp is the best, but frozen shrimp will be just fine too. When it comes to the type – I recommend using jumbo shrimp for grilling.

They can be barbecued either in the shell or peeled, but I like to cook them peeled so they absorb as much smoky flavor as possible. If you peel them, remove the veins (if necessary), but leave the tail portion so they will be easier to handle while cooking and eating. You can use scissors to simplify peeling. Insert one point into the edge of the shell, and snip along with the shrimp’s curled back.

To de-vein, cut along the edge of the shrimp’s curled back using a sharp knife. The cut should be about ¼ inch deep, and in many cases, though not all, this reveals the shrimp’s black digestive vein. You can pull out the vein by sliding the tip of the knife underneath it and pulling it out. Throw out the vein and give the shrimp a quick rinse once you are done.

Step Two: Make Your Shrimp Marinade

Marinade (soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and sugar)
Image Credits: arnold | inuyaki on CreativeCommons

To add some flavor to plain grilled shrimp, marinade them after you peel them. You can use just about any marinade that you use on your burgers. Add a bit of tartness to your shrimp by marinating them in balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and crushed garlic for a few hours before grilling them. To bring an added “wow” factor to your dish, prepare and serve your shrimp with my famous lime & ginger marinade.

Combine in a bowl: 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. light soy sauce, 1 tbsp. dry sherry, the juice of 1 lime, a bit of olive oil, a touch of Worcestershire sauce, and a small piece of root ginger (peeled and freshly chopped). If you feel like it needs a bit more salt, use kosher salt.

Add the shrimp to the marinade and turn them until they are completely covered. Cover your bowl and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours before cooking. Any remaining marinade can be served as a dipping sauce while eating.

Step Three: Heat the BBQ

a fire pit grill closeup
Image Credits: Sindre Strøm on Pexels

To begin, light the briquettes so they come up to heat as you prepare the shrimp. High, or medium-high heat is best, but not so hot that the shrimp char on the outside before the inside is fully cooked. Also, make sure that your grill grate is clean so you won’t get sick and your shrimps will have the perfect flavor.

Step Four: Empale The Shrimps

Shrimps on a grill
Image Credits: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Thread the shrimp onto double metal or wooden skewers and let them come to room temperature. If using wood, be sure to soak the skewers thoroughly in cold water or they will catch fire. It is best to use a double skewer approach as the shrimp will tend to spin around a single skewer when you are flipping them during the cooking process.

Step Five: Grill The Shrimps

Shrimps grilled on a grill
Image Credits: hyun chun kim from Pixabay

When your grill is hot, lightly coat the shrimp on both sides with unsalted butter and place them on the grate. Grill shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, on medium heat flipping them halfway through. Do not overcook! Shrimp cook very quickly. As soon as they turn white and are slightly charred on the outside they are done. No one likes overcooked shrimp so be careful!

To test to see if the shrimp are done, cut one in half with a very sharp knife. The flesh should be delicate and flaky, and the shrimp should be completely opaque all the way through. Raw shrimp have gray bodies that are slightly translucent, while cooked shrimp are completely pink and white.

Shrimp are versatile; they can be grilled plain, basted with BBQ sauce or marinades while cooking, sprinkled with your favorite herbs and spices, or eaten with dipping sauces. No matter how you prepare or serve them, the great smoky flavors and textures will always come through.

For a small bit of sweetness and for some presentation points, place a pineapple chunk on each end of your shrimp skewer and between each shrimp before grilling. They always taste the best with some crusty bread!

If you can’t eat them all, don’t worry. They can be stored for a while in your fridge. Just make sure to leave them in an airtight container.

To Wrap Up

Shrimp are relatively high in cholesterol, but similarly low in fat. They have a deliciously tender taste, and some time on the BBQ adds an excitingly smoky flavor to this simple marine fare. They are easy to prepare and cook. If you are a bit tired of serving only meat during your barbecue, grilled shrimps are a perfect solution. As with the meat, you can try various grilled shrimp recipes. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the tastiest way on preparing them!