Grilling Shrimp With Shell On
Grilling shrimp with the shell on adds a delicious, rustic flavor while protecting them from overcooking. This is a simple recipe that requires very little time and works great with any type of grill.
Shrimp cook quickly, and you can tell they are done when they firm up and turn a bright pink color. Overcooking this delicate seafood will result in dry, chewy meat.
On the Grill
If you’re pressed for time and want to grill shrimp quickly, this recipe is an excellent choice. It requires only a 15-minute marinade and a 4-minute cook time. It is also extremely flavorful with a mix of smoky, salty and spicy all brightened by the luxurious Lemon Parsley Butter.
Juicy grilled shrimp is easy to prepare and tastes delicious served with rice or crusty bread. It’s a showstopper appetizer or a hearty main for lunch or dinner.
To start, preheat your grill to medium heat. If you’re using a gas grill, make sure it is completely clean and has cooled down to avoid burning the shrimp. Next, take each prawn and use your hand to flatten it so that it lays fairly flat on the cutting board (it’s fine if it loosens a bit). Then place each prawn on the grill for two to three minutes on each side or until they are cooked through and pink.
In a Marinade
Grilling shrimp with shell on isn’t just a pretty thing; it can actually help the shellfish stay juicier. The shells help protect the delicate meat from absorbing too much heat, and they can even act as a barrier between the marinade and the flesh, so the flavors of the sauce can really shine through.
A simple marinade of garlic, lemon or lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper works well. If you’d like, add a pinch of cayenne or some smoked paprika for a spicy flavor.
Combine all the ingredients and toss with thawed, cleaned shrimp in a bowl or resealable plastic bag. Grill over medium-high heat for two to three minutes per side, until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Serve immediately.
On a Skewer
For the best shrimp skewers, use jumbo-sized shrimp so they can handle the heat and grilling time. Thread 4 to 5 shrimp on each skewer (bunch them together). If you prefer, you can cook the shrimp loosely in a grill basket or in a grill pan instead of putting them on skewers.
Some people like to shell their shrimp as they grill, but it can be difficult for the marinade to penetrate the shells and add flavor. If you choose to shell your shrimp, they will taste even more delicious when served with a simple sauce like lemon butter or homemade tartar sauce.
Use fresh parsley and cilantro for flavor, or switch it up with other herbs such as basil, thyme, or oregano. A pinch of cayenne pepper adds just the right amount of spiciness to these grilled shrimp. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling.
In a Wooden Plank
Using a wooden plank to grill fish and shrimp imparts woodsy, aromatic flavor. Choose from a variety of species like cedar or hickory, depending on your preferences. Wooden planks are available at grocery stores with a well-stocked grilling section or from hardware or home improvement centers.
Shrimp cook very quickly and will only need 1 or 2 minutes per side to become tender and develop a nice char. They are done when they firm up, curl into a loose “C” shape and turn uniformly pink and opaque.
Leaving the shell on adds a lot of flavor to these grilled shrimp and protects them from drying out or overcooking. This recipe takes a little more work than tossing the shrimp in a marinade but it’s worth the effort. These are great as an appetizer or served with a fresh salad for a light lunch or dinner. Enjoy!