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School me on shrimp, please

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    School me on shrimp, please

    I live deep in the midwest, with not a lot of fresh seafood available. I do occasionally grill salmon, tilapia, and catfish, since those are the easiest to find at my Kroger and Aldi emporia. But I want to try grilling shrimp and I'm not sure what to look for and what to buy. I've read Meathead's helpful primer, so understand a little more about some of the options.

    My questions:
    • Is it ever worthwhile to buy the cleaned frozen pre-cooked variety, just to heat up on the grill, adding appropriate spice? Thinking here about shrimp fahitas or a shrimp and rice side dish where the prawns aren't necessarily the main event.
    • If frozen raw shrimp is vastly superior, what should I look for when buying it? As a kid I remember shelling and deveining fresh shrimp (I lived on the east coast back then), and I'm fine with doing that, but not sure how to process frozen raw shrimp. Do you thaw it in the fridge or a water bath, then devein? Can you even by fresh frozen deveined shrimp at a supermarket? (I haven't seen it, but I'm not sure I've looked that closely at the options.)
    • Any favorite grilled shrimp recipes that start with supermarket shrimp you want to share?
    • And finally, if I want to treat the family to some really good, large, fresh shrimp, what's the best source for someone who doesn't have a saltwater dock within 1,000 miles. Willing to mail order for the good stuff for special occasions.


    My family gets the deveined raw shrimp from Walmart. I ate some boiled in June.

    They live 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and for years bought fresh shrimp from local Shrimpers.


      I grilled it once, if I recall it goes from “not done” to done in an instant. Keep an eye on it.


        I buy raw frozen shrimp from Whole Foods in 2lb bags. If you can, buy Gulf shrimp this way. You don't need to process them, they've been deveined. You don't need to thaw them either, if you don't want to - you can sauté them from frozen. They will throw off some water, so account for that. What I've done recently is to add them early, get them partially cooked, remove them to a bowl, let their moisture boil off, then re-add them back. That avoids overcooking. As Mosca notes, they cook fast, so don't walk away.

        PS: I buy frozen because it's one of the few foods that can bail you out if you forgot to thaw something and have nothing ready to cook for dinner. Grab some frozen, sauté them etc and boom, dinner. Fresh is wonderful if you can get them but face it, no Gulf shrimp you or I get will really be fresh. They'll have been frozen for transport.
        Last edited by rickgregory; August 12, 2020, 11:12 AM.


          I wouldn’t buy frozen cooked shrimp, but living in Dallas I buy fresh frozen all the time. I usually thaw them in water or overnight in the refrigerator. I peel them and put them on skewers. I spray them with oil on both sides and the dust them with Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Shrimp Seasoning on both sides. I grill them on high for about 2 minutes per side.


            When we lived in Mobile Alabama we ate tons of fresh gulf shrimp. Now here in Illinois it's pretty hard to get fresh but I've actually had decent luck with the frozen as long as you use it when you get it. Oh and IMO buy the largest you can fine!!
            I like it marinaded put on skewers and grilled over hot charcoals or peeled, put in a pan,with onion and garlic, coat with a nice seafood rub, add some of your favorite hot sauce and drizzle a stick of melted butter over them. Now you can cook them on the grill or stove top either works.....this is almost like a modified shrimp scampi....really love them this way.


              My local Costco has a variety of shrimp options. I buy frozen raw 15-16 count jumbo's. They are shell on but already deveined. $12.99 per pound here. I usually grill them on skewers hot and fast like LA Pork Butt says above. Really tasty.


                I buy {got some yesterday} deheaded, shell on, previously fresh frozen shrimp.

                ​​​​​​You can buy them in the bag still frozen, or from the seafood counter, thawed.
                If you buy them still frozen, I thaw in the fridge although a water bath is fine.

                Peel and devein. Doesn't take long

                Unless I get them from the shrimpers - then they're just fresh on ice, but I treat them the same.

                Forecasts are predicting a slow market, over supply and low prices for shrimp this season.

                I only buy gulf shrimp! I don't buy imported shrimp. I don't buy precooked shrimp.

                I don't grill shrimp. I think they're too easy to over cook and by the time I put them on skewers, I could have cooked them already.

                I just cook them in a skillet, with a little cooking spray and whatever seasoning is called for.

                They don't take long. I've got some 15/20 count that I probably will only cook 3-4 mins.
                Smaller shrimp take less time.

                I'll take pics and post...... Assuming I can get pics to load.

                I use smaller shrimp for dishes the shrimps will be mixed into - pastas, gumbos, etc. They just take longer to peel.

                Save all the shells {and heads if you have them} for seafood stock!!!
                Last edited by BFlynn; August 12, 2020, 11:47 AM.


                  I find the pre-cooked shrimp to not be worth it, they're usually over cooked and rubbery and unseasoned. My wife likes 'em for quick salads and shrimp cocktail, but that's just about all they're good for. Trying to heat them up again just turns 'em into rubbery lumps of sadness. Almost all raw shrimp you'll find in the grocery store has been frozen, so there's no real difference between the bagged stuff and the stuff in the seafood case. I always keep a bag or two of jumbo EZ-Peel shrimp in the freezer. Just thaw under cold running water for a few minutes. I usually don't buy the already peeled stuff, as I like having the shells for making stock and shell on are better on the grill. Just make sure they're minimally processed IQF.


                    To specifically answer your - what to look for when buying question.

                    I look for, in order -
                    1} country of origin. I only buy US Gulf shrimp. Maybe the shrimp from China and Indonesia aren't as contaminated as the US shrimpers will tell you...... But I know enough of those guys, that we only buy US.

                    2} if I'm cooking them that day, I get the ones from the seafood counter that have been thawed. They should look fresh. They should have a consistent color. They shouldn't look mushy.
                    If they bag them up, and they smell overly shrimpy.....theyve been thawed too long and I hand them back.

                    Ask when they were thawed. The counter guys are just dumping the frozen bags out to display and thaw... Even in Houston.

                    2b} if I'm not cooking that day, I just buy the bags of fresh frozen.

                    3} I generally buy head off, shell on. But it depends on the price. Shrimp heads are about 1/3 of the total weight. Sometimes you'll find head on shrimp for half the price of head off. Then I buy them with heads and use the heads for stock.

                    Sidenote — 10 lbs of head on shrimp yield about 6.5 lbs of head off. Then when you peel them, you get about 5 lbs total.

                    4} then I look at size and price. The lower the number the bigger the shrimp.
                    For grilling - I wouldn't go with shrimp that are smaller {bigger number} than 10/15.

                    But I normally don't grill shrimp so I look at price per lb and decide how much peeling I want to do......

                    So that's what I look for.
                    Your mileage may vary.
                    The shrimp I'm cooking tonight are "gulf brown, previously frozen, shell on 10/15 CT".
                    Last edited by BFlynn; August 12, 2020, 12:24 PM.


                    • mnavarre
                      mnavarre commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I look for wild caught Mexican shrimp from either Sonora or Sinaloa because those are usually the best I can get at the Supermercado. So, I guess I get Gulf shrimp, too. Just a different gulf.

                    To your other questions -

                    This is my favorite shrimp recipe.

                    But 90% of the time I just cook them in a skillet with a little cooking spray or butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder if my wife having dinner or add cayenne if it's just me.

                    They're also good seasoned with MMD.

                    Occasionally, I'll put the peeled shrimp in a bowl with lemon juice and tabasco for 10 mins or so before they go in the skillet.

                    Shrimp are delicious. Don't over complicate it.

                    If you have a good seafood market, they should be able to order you bigger shrimp. I wouldn't special order them direct.
                    Frozen is frozen. But generally, unless I'm picking them up from the boat, shrimp that are bigger than 10/15 CT get pricey in a hurry.
                    I got some 4/6 count shrimp once when I lived in New Orleans, and they were really TOO big.


                    • Dewesq55
                      Dewesq55 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I recently saw some about that s size in my local supermarket. They looked like freaking lawbstah trails.

                    I will either buy them from my local market known for sourcing meats and other products well or buy them frozen. Either way, I want them deveined it's worth the extra cost. Shell on is okay but if you're cooking from frozen that means you have to serve them that way. The bigger the better of course though as @BFlynn points out there may be a limit to the rule of thumb though I've never encounter 4/6 shrimp personally. Precooked shrimp isn't something I buy and I would only use it for some kind of cold shrimp dish. I usually cook mine on my flat top but a grill basket would work too.


                    • BFlynn
                      BFlynn commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The 4/6 was a one time deal where one of my fishing buddy's cousin, who runs a shrimp boat, got those monsters, and we had to drive down to the boat to get them. I don't think they're very common.

                    US shrimp if you can find it where you live. Wild caught taste better to me, personally as opposed to farmed, but that isn't always an option here in AZ. Frozen is fine just thaw in cold water, takes me maybe an hour at the longest... then cook as you would like. They go fast, so keep an eye on them. My meat counter guy here lets me know when they get good stuff in.


                      I buy raw frozen. Sometimes, for the smaller sizes (31-41 and smaller) you can get them already peeled. I generally prefer the larger ones which generally aren't peeled, but are deveined as noted above. I generally defrost them in a bowl of salted water. I find that thawing them in fresh water desalinates them and they taste bland. If you can find wild caught they will generally be of better quality, but often considerably more expensive.


                      • Mr. Bones
                        Mr. Bones commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Th salination level makes perfeck sense to me; technique duly noted, an adopted.

                        Very nice post, an a doh moment on my part, now corrected, Brother!

                      • Parkin
                        Parkin commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Shit....I never thought of that...Great idea!!

                      • MrMeat
                        MrMeat commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I was waiting for someone to comment on not wanting to thaw them in fresh water. When it is for my wife and myself, I thaw them in the bag they came in Yes, it can be risky, but we've never had an issue (we eat shrimp often) and you can taste the difference.

                      I buy head off, shelled and deveined that are flash frozen on the boat. Get about 5 lbs at a time and put them in the freezer. Hour before you want a dozen for dinner, thaw in salt water and marinade. I like them cooked fast on a hot grill or sear burner, 1-2 minutes per side. If you can find Royal Red Shrimp, get em! The are from deep water (800-1500’) so I think they come from very clean water/environment. They melt in your mouth!


                      • Mr. Bones
                        Mr. Bones commented
                        Editing a comment
                        What count size are ya fonda usin?

                        (Dang, I MISS bein stationed at Gulfport; we had fresh shrimp from th boats, every night... )

                      • smokenoob
                        smokenoob commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Mr. Bones I just get the biggest ones they have.

                      • BFlynn
                        BFlynn commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Mississippi Gulf Coast! The redneck riviera!

                        Blowfly Inn was one of my all time favorite spots!


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