When it comes to seafood, one of the most popular dishes is shrimp. It has a balance of sweet and salty with a unique mild flavor, making it a perfect canvas for different seasonings and sauces. You can use many methods to cook shrimp, but one of the best ways is smoking it. You can smoke shrimp in three different ways, depending on your preferences and available cooking tools.
Fresh or Frozen
Smoking shrimp starts with choosing what kind of shrimp is preferable for your circumstances. If you’re going to cook the shrimp the same day, it’s best to buy the freshest ones possible. Otherwise, choose frozen shrimp. This seafood goes bad quite fast, giving off a sour smell, dull appearance, and unusually slimy texture.
If you bought frozen shrimp you have to thaw them properly, or else their quality will deteriorate. There are three different ways to do this. Take note that all thawing should be performed using cold water, and you shouldn’t put shrimp in a microwave. That will make the shrimp susceptible to bacteria buildup, and make their texture uneven by only thawing their shells while the insides remain frozen.
Thawing and Preparing the Shrimp
The first thawing method is to put them in a colander and let cold water run through them for 15 to 20 minutes. This process will consume a lot of water, but it’s the fastest way.
Soaking the Shrimp
You can also soak the shrimp in a large bowl for 10 minutes, drain them, and let them sit again in water for another 15 minutes.
The last method is to place the shrimp in a bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and rinse them the next day.
Prepare the Shrimp
Once the shrimp is properly thawed, pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture before proceeding to the next step. It’s best to cook them immediately afterward for the best results. You should also take into consideration the size of the shrimp. We recommended choosing a medium to large shrimp because such proportions are more suited for high-heat cooking methods like smoking.
The next step in smoking shrimp is peeling and deveining.
- First, you have to chop off the heads and remove all the legs.
- Afterward, slide your finger below the shell and simply pull it off.
- To divide a shrimp, run a knife on its back and make a shallow cut. This will expose the dark vein underneath, which is what you’re going to remove.
You are now ready to add flavor to the shrimp. There are different recipes that you can follow for the marinade.
Meanwhile, if you want something fresh and savory, Herb and Garlic Shrimp Marinade, includes a collection of herbs, can answer your cravings.
Finally, you can now start with the actual smoking process. We recommend you warm your food smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit or 107 degrees Celsius. Remember not to skip this step so that your marinated shrimp can start cooking the moment you place them inside.
For the wood flavor, there are different types that you can try so that you can determine which one suits your palate. Sweet fruits like apples and cherries go well with spicy seasonings. However, when it comes to food smoking in general, strong wood flavors like hickory and pecan can give the shrimp a kick of flavor. You can check the wide variety of choices for high-quality Bradley Bisquettes online.
One of the best ways to smoke shrimp is to use a grilling basket. This method will only take a little bit of time to prepare, and it gives the seafood enough space for the smoke to circulate well. You don’t have to remove the tail of the shrimp, as that will make it easier for you to hold them while eating them.
Another popular way of smoking shrimp is skewering them. There will also be enough space between the pieces for the smoke to circulate, but it will take a longer time to prepare. For this method, it is recommended to remove the tails so that you won’t have to go through the trouble of removing them later.
The last method to smoke shrimp is to place them on a pan greased with butter. Unfortunately, the smoke won’t circulate well, so there might be less flavor if you cook them this way.
Regardless of how you smoke the shrimp, make sure not to let them sit inside the food smoker for more than 20 to 30 minutes. This is because overcooking will make them tough and inedible.
For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.