Published July 1, 2006.
Grilling shrimp in their shells protects the delicate flesh, but seasonings are peeled away at the table. Could we deliver tender, flavorful grilled shrimp--without the shells?
Shrimp can turn from moist and juicy to rubbery and dry in the blink of an eye--especially when grilled. While grilling shrimp in their shells can shield them from the coals' scorching heat, any seasonings are stripped off along with the shells when it's time to eat.
We wanted tender, juicy, boldly seasoned grilled shrimp, with the flavor in the shrimp and not on our fingers.
Our decision to go with peeled shrimp for this recipe meant we had to completely revise our traditional method for grilling shrimp. First we eliminated brining, which created waterlogged shrimp and hindered caramelization. Then we set the shrimp over a screaming-hot fire. This worked well with jumbo shrimp, but smaller shrimp overcooked before charring. With jumbo shrimp at costing as much as $25 per pound, we decided against them. They did give us an idea, though. For our next step, we created faux jumbo shrimp by cramming a skewer with several normal-sized shrimp pressed tightly together. Our final revision was to take the shrimp off the fire before they were completely cooked (but after they had picked up attractive grill marks). We finished cooking them in a heated sauce waiting on the cool side of the grill; this final simmer gave them tons of flavor.list of recipes