Cooking shrimp on the grill seems to frustrate people more than grilling any other seafood. And that’s a shame, because shrimp pick up a particularly wonderful flavor cooked over fire. The main problem is timing: if you cook shrimp even 10 seconds too long, you end up with rubber instead of great taste. Here is some advice to help the frustrated shrimp griller.
Buy Large Shrimp
You want your shrimp to weigh in at 24 per pound. The larger the shrimp, the longer they can stay on the grill and develop that deep, smoky flavor that you’re going for.
Keep the Shell On & Remove the Vein
The shell traps the shrimp flavor we all crave and also protects the tender meat, so grill them with the shell on and let folks shell their own shrimp at the table. If you don’t like the look of the dark vein, use kitchen scissors to snip open the shell along the length of the back of the shrimp. Using the tip of a small knife, cut a shallow groove along the length of the vein and lift it out. You have not only gotten rid of the vein, but you will also be able to see a little deeper into the shrimp to know when it’s done.
Brine Your Shrimp
Brining gives you just enough fudge factor to get away with a little overcooking, should you turn away from the grill at a critical point. Be careful that you don’t brine the shrimp for longer than 1 ½ hours, or else the brine could break down the muscles too much and result in mushy shrimp (yuck).