Brine keeps shrimp moist during grilling
Shrimp is terrific grilled as a main dish or an appetizer. The challenge with shrimp on the grill is it's fragile and cooks quickly. If you overcook shrimp, it becomes tough and chewy.
The key is marinating or brining the shrimp and using no more than a medium heat. You can also brush the shrimp with a sauce while they are on the grill to keep them from drying out. And, after you put them on the grill, don't even think of walking away. Shrimp cooks quickly, and you need to pay attention.
Whenever I cook shrimp (grill, roast or steam), I brine them first, which plumps them and keeps them moist during cooking. For about two pounds of shrimp, in a large pot, dissolve a half cup of kosher salt and a half cup of sugar in one gallon of water. Add the shrimp and refrigerate the pot. Let them soak for about two hours, but no longer, or you risk them becoming too salty. Remove them from the brine and give them a quick rinse under cold water. This removes any possible surface salt.
The best way to grill shrimp is to thread them on wooden skewers or position two shrimp together.
Using the skewers helps you turn them all at once and cook them evenly.
If grilling shrimp without skewers, leave on the shells to protect them on the grill, but devein them.
To devein shrimp, cut a slit on the backside to the tail with small scissors and remove the vein. That slit also makes it easier to peel them after they are cookes.
Serve these shrimp as an appetizer or main dish, served over a mixed-greens salad or with grilled vegetables.
Susan Selasky is a staff writer for the Detroit Free Press.
Shrimp on the Barbie
It's important to cut the bell pepper and onion in small pieces so that they are even with the shrimp. If the pieces are too big, the shrimp won't touch the grill grates.
Adapted from “The Grilling Bible” by Marilyn Pocius (Publications International, $29.95).
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
6 wooden skewers, soaked in warm water
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 sweet bell peppers (any color), seeded, cut into even 1-inch pieces
6 slices of lime
6 small pieces of onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1⁄2 cup favorite smoky-flavored barbecue sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons red hot pepper sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. After the grill is hot, oil the grates.
Alternately, evenly divide and thread the shrimp in pairs, bell pepper, lime slices and onion pieces on the skewers. In a small bowl, combine the barbecue, hot pepper and Worcestershire sauces with the garlic.
Brush some of the sauce mixture over all sides of the shrimp skewers. Place the skewers on the grill, and grill them for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side (depending on how big the shrimp are) or until they turn pink. Brush them with the remaining sauce mixture while grilling. Remove the skewers from the grill and serve them warm.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition per serving: 124 calories, 1 gram fat (0 saturated), 112 milligrams cholesterol, 13 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 578 milligrams sodium