Can You Grill Frozen Shrimp?

Delicious Grilled Shrimp

The answer to this question is a definite yes – you can grill frozen shrimp. Shrimp is often bought frozen and stored frozen.

When that craving hits you, you may not want to waste time thawing the shrimp before blitzing it on your grill. But you may be unsure, and you surely don’t want to waste that good shrimp.

In this article, we cover the steps and some tips on grilling frozen shrimp perfectly every time.

Maintaining the Quality and Texture of Your Shrimp

Like most shellfish, shrimp is incredibly perishable. It will last in the freezer for twelve months or longer. The quality may deteriorate, but the shrimp will remain safe to eat even post twelve months as long as the packaging is not damaged.

It is, however, best to use within three months to ensure that you get the best flavor and texture.

Things You Need To Cook Frozen Shrimp on a Grill

  • Frozen shrimp (as many as like or need)
  • Skewers
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 lime
  • Seasoning (any of your favorite sprinkles on will do)
  • Grill
  • Basting brush

Step 1 – Preparing Your Grill for Your Frozen Shrimp

Set up your grill for direct cooking at 350-450°F. You are basically aiming for medium heat and will need to maintain medium heat throughout the cooking process.

Step 2 – Placing Your Frozen Shrimp on Skewers

In order to get even heat on your shrimp, place the shrimp lengthwise on the skewers. This also helps with turning and handling the shrimp. If you are using bamboo or other wooden skewers, make sure that you soak them in warm water for 10-15 minutes so that they do not burn on the grill.

Step 3 – Basting Your Shrimp

Melt your butter and add the juice of one lime to the butter. Mix it well and lightly brush the shrimp on both sides.

Step 4 – Seasoning Your Shrimp

You can sprinkle your shrimp with a light coating of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Or, if you are going for a different flavor, Cajun or Italian spices are great options. Make sure that you season both sides of the shrimp.

Step 5 – Grilling Your Shrimp

Place the shrimp on the grill at medium heat. Make sure that there isn’t any fire so that you maintain even cooking and consistent flavor. Cook the shrimp for 3 to 5 minutes on either side. If you prefer a crispy outer shell, add a minute or two to either side but watch it carefully to ensure that you do overcook the shrimp.

Tip: Charcoal gives shrimp a distinct flavor that you will never get from a gas grill.

Step 6 – Removing the Shrimp From the Grill

Once cooked, carefully remove the skewers from the grill. To enhance the flavor, lightly sprinkle on some of your favorite seasonings immediately after removing them from the grill.

Wrapping up This Method of Grilling Shrimp From Frozen

The above-mentioned steps are best for grilling shrimp from frozen, cleaned, and deveined with its outer shell intact. By keeping the shell on the shrimp, it cooks in its natural juices, maintaining its flavor and texture while cooking evenly throughout. The result is a crispy outer shell with a soft, scrumptious inside.

An Alternative Approach To Grilling Shrimp From Frozen

Shelled (no outer shell) shrimp tend to be a bit trickier to grill directly from frozen because the is no outer covering to protect the delicate flesh. For this, while you can start from frozen, thawing the shrimp is definitely a winner.

A Simple Way to Thaw Your Frozen Shrimp

Frozen shrimp is usually packaged as individually quick-frozen (IQF), so you can take out just as many as needed and safely store the rest back in the freezer.

To thaw the shrimp, place them in a colander and run cold water through them. Keep turning them as the cold passes through so that all the shrimp are completely thawed.

Once they are all soft, leave it to stand in the sink for 5 minutes so that the access water drains completely. Depending on the portion of shrimp you thaw, it should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

Grilling My Thawed Shelled Shrimp

Now that shelled shrimp has thawed, you are ready to start grilling. As a personal preference, I like to stack my shrimp on wooden skewers. They just make for easier handling, but you can do them without skewers, and it will work just the same.

If you opt for without skewers, I suggest that you use a fine mesh grid to prevent the shrimp from falling into the grill gates. A standard oven grid over your grill gates will also work perfectly fine.

Keeping Your Shrimp Delicious, Clean and Fresh

For this recipe, I like to keep things simple, fresh, and clean. I would lightly brush the shrimp with freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice and sprinkle it with kosher salt on either side.

Because shelled shrimp does not have the protection of the outer shell, I will cook these for no more than 2 to 3 minutes per side on medium heat, same as above. I would then finish these with some fresh lemon or lime zest.

Wrapping Things Up

So, there you have it, shrimp can be grilled, starting from frozen. The methods discussed in this article should give you a good idea of how-to best grill shell-on and shelled shrimps with or without the help of skewers.

We also threw in some simple recipes that pack a punch while bringing out the bold, sweet flavor of the shrimp.

As long as you follow these simple to follow instructions, you should be able to grill those shrimps to perfection, starting from frozen.

Tip: Once your shrimp is white and opaque, it is on point. Pay special attention to the temperature of your grill because intense heat can easily overcook your shrimp. And nobody enjoys a nasty rubbery shrimp.

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