Cooking with shrimp can be a very tricky thing for new cooks. Many people that are new to grilling will want to try cooking shrimp or shrimp kebabs on the grill this summer. Shrimp is one of those foods that can quickly go from perfectly cooked, to complete overdone. It is also a very tender type of seafood when dealing with marinades and spices.
Here are some tips to help you in purchasing shrimp and preparing it for grilling on your Traeger:
During the summer many of your local grocery stores will probably advertise specials on shrimp. Some will advertise already cooked shrimp on sale. When grilling shrimp this is not what you are looking for. Others will advertise frozen shrimp on sale. Be very careful with this. If the shrimp is still frozen and not thawed, you will be paying more than is advertised per pound. This is because in general if you purchase shrimp that is 41/50 count per pound, or 41 to 50 shrimps in a pound, that is not what you will get when purchasing a pound of frozen shrimp.
Instead, considering the ice is factored in to the weight, you end up with about 25-30 shrimps at the most, so about 25% of your purchase price is actually paying for the weight of the frozen water on the shrimp! It is best to purchase fresh shrimp, but thawed shrimp is generally cheaper, just make sure it is almost completely thawed before having it weighed.
Whatever choice you make (i.e. frozen bagged shrimp or fresh from the fish store), please be mindful of your health by considering these seafood safety tips.
When it comes to cleaning your shrimp, so stores will advertise it is “deveined” already. This is a great convenience but if you are purchasing shrimp in the smaller sizes it’s not that big a factor. It is easier to pull the shell and the legs off your shrimp if it is partially frozen, but as mentioned above it also reduces the amount of shrimp you get for the money you pay. Ideally, if your shrimp is very cold, but not completely frozen after thawing that will give you the best bang for your buck and make it the easiest to peel.
When marinating shrimp or seasoning it, keep in mind that shrimp absorbs flavors very quickly. If sprinkling with spices you can do it while you grill the shrimp. If you are marinading shrimp in a liquid marinade it only needs to sit for half an hour to an hour to pick up the flavors of the marinade.
When grilling shrimp, keep a close eye on it. You should grill your shrimp with the lid open as shrimp will cook very quickly. In general smaller shrimp will take 2 to 3 minutes per side, while larger shrimp (smaller count per pound) will take about four minutes per side. A good indicator that your shrimp is done on the grill is when it turns the pink color you are probably familiar with shrimp in photos that you see when it is cooked. Keep in mind that shrimp due to it’s size is very hard to check with a thermometer for being up to temperature.
Hopefully these tips will help you as you learn to cook with shrimp, whether it’s on the grill, or on the stove in your house. Shrimp is one of those foods that requires a close eye while cooking, but the reward for cooking it just right is worth the time you put into it.
(Image Source: Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash)