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How to BBQ Moist Large Shrimp or Prawns

Updated on July 2, 2013
Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul is a barbecue enthusiast. He is currently grilling and smoking on a Komodo Kamado Ultimate 23.

BBQ Shrimp over Coconut Rice

BBQ shrimp
BBQ shrimp

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

Cleaning 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.

Shrimp on Skewers
Shrimp on Skewers

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 grill
Shrimp on grill

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

5 stars from 1 rating of 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

Shrimp Sauce
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!

Grilled Shrimp on Rice
Grilled Shrimp on Rice

Questions & Answers


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      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        oh those large shrimps are awesome! i love BBQ shrimps, better than stir fried

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

        These look delicious and your instructions are easily followed. Shrimp any way it's cooked is practically my favorite. Boiled with some zesty sauce and grilled are the top two contenders. We like Costco, too and their ready to bake Panko Fried Shrimp is delicious.

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        This recipe is pretty special. We've grilled the shrimp over charcoal, oak, and gas. You could broil or bake them in the oven easily as well. Just don't cook them too long!

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        i love large prawns. Spicy prawns are even better. I don't own a bbq grill. Maybe i could baked them in the oven. I love the coconut sauce photo that you have uploaded. So tempting to try it out. I am going to give a try this weekend.

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

        The grilled shrimp over coconut rice looks very appealing, Paul. I'm going to give this recipe a try.

      • Donna Huebsch profile image

        Donna Fairley Huebsch 4 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

        Shrimp are one of my all-time favorite foods, but I've never tried grilling them...I'd like to give this recipe a try! Very nice photos, also.

      • rebekahELLE profile image

        rebekahELLE 4 years ago from Tampa Bay

        I love spicy and these sound so yum. The photos are great! The top image is very appealing. I may try the New Orleans recipe for July 4! Thanks for sharing, it's a helpful hub.

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        If you like spicy, this is soooo good!

      • rebekahELLE profile image

        rebekahELLE 4 years ago from Tampa Bay

        This looks and sounds delicious! I like the kick of a good hot sauce with shrimp . I would love to try either of these sauce recipes. We eat a lot of grilled shrimp here in FL. Just in time for the summer BBQ's.