How to BBQ Moist Large Shrimp or Prawns
BBQ Shrimp over Coconut Rice
Shrimp vs Prawns for Barbecuing
By all accounts shrimp and prawns taste the same, but it can be a bit confusing on what makes them different. For the technical details read this. However, for barbecue purposes, large shrimp are often called prawns. Even though they only have two claws on each leg and they have different gills. The key is to do well on the grill, the shrimp or prawns need to be good sized. And, for the record, I can't tell any difference in taste between large shrimp and prawns.
De-Vein but Leave the Shell On the Shrimp
We typically buy shrimp from Costco that were previously frozen that have been de-veined in their shells. If you can't find them de-veined, this adds a bit more work. To de-vein a shrimp or prawn, take a pairing knife and make a small slit down the back. Then rinse the vein out under cold water. The video to the right shows how to do it, but don't remove the shell. Having the shell off isn't great for barbecuing because the shrimp will quickly dry out on the grill without it.
Tip: Keep shells with the tail on and in their shells for grilling. It helps keep them moist.
To clean we place them in a strainer and rinse them with cold water.
Season and Skewer Shrimp
After the shrimp our rinsed off, place them in a bowl. For a basic recipe, add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle olive oil over the shrimp. Let them sit for at least ten minutes before putting then on skewers.
Before the shrimp are placed on the skewers, wood skewers should be soaked in water for about 15 minutes to keep them from burning through while they're on the grill.
Grill 2 - 3 Minutes per Side
Shrimp on the Grill
Cook the shrimp over a direct hot fire. Typically we use the searing burner of a gas grill. If you don't have a searing burner, turn it to it's highest temperature and grill them for two to three minutes per side. Use the end of skewers to flip the shrimp. Shrimp are done cooking when they're white through the middle. An underdone shrimp will have a raw fleshy color.
Tip: Pay attention when grilling shrimp because they cook quickly!
Spicey New Orleans BBQ Shrimp Sauce and Rub
Spicy Sauce and Shrimp Dry Rub
I personally love bbq shrimp with some zip. This shrimp rub is spicy and can be added to a curry like sauce. I've modified this from "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen.
Shrimp Dry Rub Ingredients
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon course salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Tobasco)
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and toss the shrimp in the rub. Using your hands, work the rub into the shrimp meat, behind the shell a bit and into the slit for de-veining. This will pack the shrimp full of flavor. Let the shrimp sit in the rub while you prepare the sauce. Set aside two tablespoons of rub for sauce.
New Orleans Shrimp Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of shrimp dry rub
- 1.5 sticks of butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup clam broth (can use clam sauce as alternative)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup beer (any full bodied beer)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons cane syrup or Karos
- 1 tablespoon of Tobasco (2 if you want it more spicy)
- 1 thick slice lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsely
Add the ingredients to a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the butter has melted. Then let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes uncovered to let the sauce thicken up.
Spicy New Orleans Shrimp Sauce
Serve over Coconut Rice
This sauce goes incredibly well over coconut rice. This foodnetwork recipe for the rice is pretty good. Just put a serving of cooked rice in a bowl, add the grilled shrimp and then ladle the sauce over the top.
This is one of my top five all-time favorite BBQ recipes. A must try!
Tip: Use some fresh country style bread to mop up the sauce!
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