The Simple Tip For The Juiciest Grilled Shrimp Of Your Life

Grilling shrimp is a delicious way to combine two of life's pleasures: seafood and backyard cooking. You can give a shrimp cocktail a smoky upgrade on the grill or you can simply grill shrimp on skewers and serve them straight from your Weber. Either way, shrimp are one of the classic proteins for grilling, and if you want to make sure they come out juicy and not dry, then there is one key tip to achieving exactly that.

You may not think to automatically utilize this method, because it runs counter to everything you've been taught about cooking food in large batches. Contrary to what you might think, your shrimp should actually be relatively crowded on their skewers if you want them to be juicy. Unlike air fryers, where you need to avoid the temptation of crowding, you actually want your shrimp to be very close to each other after you spike them. Doing so not only helps keep your shrimp from drying out and curling, but also has no negative effect on either flavor or how well they're cooked.

Closely-placed shrimp is how you keep moisture in

The main problem with grilling shrimp is how finicky they can be; if you're not careful, a juicy shrimp skewer will turn dry and tough very, very quickly. Jumbo shrimp have more room for error in grilling than smaller shrimp, but you can get around this problem with this simple skewering technique.

Though shrimp might look aesthetically pleasing individually curled up on skewers in their classic circular framing, this isn't the best way to get the most out of their flavor. Instead, you want to uncurl the shrimp a bit, tucking them into each other in such a way that it appears like they're cuddling up together. This ultimately locks moisture in between all the shrimp, allowing you to get a perfect char on the outside without overcooking your shellfish. There are really no downsides to this method. You can even do the same thing with a shrimp and vegetable skewer by carefully nesting a veggie inside the curve of the shrimp.

Other tips for grilling shrimp

There are plenty of other tips you should know about grilling shrimp, too. You should generally avoid grilling peeled shrimp, because the shell acts as a natural buffer between the heat and the shrimp's flesh, locking in moisture, in addition to preventing overcooking and making the shrimp easier to handle. The exception here is if you're marinating the shrimp first, because then the marinade will mainly stick to the outside of the shell. If you're using wooden skewers, you should also be sure to soak them for a minimum of 20 minutes first to keep them from burning. Lastly, you should buy fresh shrimp on the day you're planning to grill them, if possible — although frozen shrimp are actually fine for grilling, since they were typically frozen at their freshest possible point.

As long as you follow all these tips — including going against conventional wisdom and crowding the shrimp on their skewers — your seafood cookout should proceed swimmingly. Give them a try and see for yourself.