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Feb 5, 2009 11:08 AM

Smoked Shrimp

Hey Hounds.

So I saw on No Reservations last night that Tony was at a place that served smoked shrimp. He really seemed to love them and I've thought about it in the past.

So has anyone ever done it and if so, what size did you use, what wood and for how long??

Did you season them at all?? Was it worth it/will you do it again??


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  1. Use the biggest shrimp you can afford, at least big enough so they don't fall through the grate. Peel and de-vein, then brine in icy salt water as briny as sea water for about 20 minutes. Dry and smoke over oak at 225F. The time will vary with the different size shrimp, so just take them off when they're done.

    7 Replies
    1. re: austinfood

      Brine only, no other seasoning??

      Roughly how long time wise for 15 - 20's??


      1. re: Davwud

        I use a brine that is salt disolved in strong brew green tea and sugar = 1/3-1/2 salt
        we use cherry or cedar for most fish/shell fish
        husband likes his with a tiny dab of something hot ,I have never done any smaller than 8-12 it is fast,< 15 minutes

        1. re: lcool


          Eat 'em as is or dip 'em?? Or is that what you meant by "Something hot??"


          1. re: Davwud

            I thought those looked delicious. My recollection is that he ate them chilled, with no dip.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I also think the shrimp he had were still in the shell, i recall him peeling the shrimp.

              1. re: ESNY

                I peel,the shell on can be a mess.About one in ten "glues" on,very frustrating.

            2. re: Davwud

              sometimes Rick will brush or sprinkle something on.A little goes a long way .
              Too much and you loose complexity.My personal favorite is an Indonesian or Vietnamese sweet/hot viscous chili sauce.If you use them for a dipping base really taste as you dilute,my dilute of choice is water and or dry vermouth

      2. I smoke them almost daily at my restaurant Taco Sisters in Lafayette, La. I use 26/30 P&D Gulf Shrimp. I make sure all the veins are out, and dry them very well. Then I add olive oil and spices: chili powder, paprika, ground bay, ground thyme, tony chacere's cajun seasoning, garlic and onion powder. I make a paste with that and mix it in well with the shrimp. Then I smoke in an electric smoker on a perforated pan with wood dust at the bottom of the smoker for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees for 5 lbs. They tasted like bacon wrapped shrimp without the bacon!

        4 Replies
        1. re: tacosisterkaty

          WOW! I read about this yesterday morning and had to try it. I guessed at the seasoning ratios and went for it. WOW! Delish! I had coctail sauce ready but after the first taste I put it away. Didn't want to ruin a fabulous taste with something as mundane as coctail sauce. I used mesquite chips because that's what I have. I also smoked them in my garage/workshop because there is a blizzard blowing outside. I've got the best smelling garage in Colorado! A friend came over and as soon as he walked into the garage he said, "This smells so good I'm suddenly hungry. Got anything to munch?" There went the last of my/your/our shrimp.

          1. re: learning2

            Hey, I just saw that you tried the smoked shrimp - that is excellent!! Sounds like you succeeded and now know they are just about one of the best things on the planet!! Kudos too for doing it during a snowstorm - I love that!!

          2. re: tacosisterkaty

            Interesting, as I basically have always followed a similiar prep and smoke to make them as apps. I have also mized the seasonings with a combo of room temp butter and a "dab" of oil.

            The bring method, I suppose works, if I did it I would season the water with crab boil or Old Bay aslo--and enough to make sure it penetrates. Though I'm not so sure I would do that route, not wanting to add or water log the shrimp. I'm not a big believer in meat brining either though. Yeas it adds "flavor, but it also takes away the flavor of the very meat you brine by the same percentage. Me i want to taste the pork, the turkey, the chicken. Seasoning to simply enhance.

            1. re: tacosisterkaty

              Fan-Freaking-Tastic. I took a stab a the spice ratios but otherwise didn't alter your recipe and put some on my grill while I was smoking a port butt roast. Smoked my 26/30's for 30 minutes at 220. they tasted incredible! As with any shrimp preparation, be careful not to overcook or the shrimp will get rubbery.

            2. Here's my smoked shrimp....I smoke 50 lbs. a week. See my previous post.

              10 Replies
                1. re: tacosisterkaty

                  See, now I just don't see any possible way those can suck.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    It's true, they don't. We use 'em in soft tacos, burritos and salads, so good. At home I make a dip with them and dry them out even further and grind into Cajun Shrimp Stew that is outta this world. If you do a bunch at once, they hold well and you can use them for many dishes.

                    1. re: tacosisterkaty

                      Katy, your dishes sound excellent. Can you provide a recipe for your shrimp stew?
                      I'm wondering how I can improvise to smoke some without a smoker.

                      1. re: Jimisi

                        Hi Jim,
                        you can use a charcoal grill or even a gas one. set your temp or get your coals to make the pit around 225-50 degrees. you can put some soaked wood chips directly on your charcoal or put some in a foil pan and light them, then blow the flame out for smoke. use your dampers to create a flow of smoke. 20-30 minutes should do it.
                        Or you could grill with a few drops of liquid smoke added to your seasonings and oil - I never use the stuff, but in a pinch it might do.
                        I'll work on the recipe for shrimp stew and get back to you as soon as I can....

                        1. re: Jimisi

                          If using the smoked shrimp for stew you can smoke even longer to really dry them out and then grind them. It's amazing flavor.

                          1. re: Jimisi

                            Yes, and as TacoSisterKaty explains below. Of course you have the coals on the opposite side of the grill, and the dome holes over the shrimp or where ou will have your meat. The "smoke" and heat will flow over the protein side. I take a piece of foil or two and shape a small :pan---that is to say I crumple the edges up a little so the juices don't run out into the bottom of the pit---doing this I theorize I'm getting better heat/smoke with a smaller lip on my handmade tray than a higher lip that is on a purchased disposable tray.

                            1. re: mtomto

                              poke some holes in the foil so the smoke flows through....I have used this method too! :-)

                              1. re: tacosisterkaty

                                When I do this I am simply make a foil "tray" with a bit of a lip, just scrunching up the edges a little---not enclosing the shrimp in a packet. But if you did that, yeah, it would need holes. I just like using this the foil this way so the lip isnt too high and the shrimp (or fish) is getting a good exposure to the smoke---the store bought disposable aluminum things mostly have a higher lip on them.

                            2. re: Jimisi

                              First and foremost, purchase a grill thermometer, preferably a dual probe remote thermometer. Put the meat at temperature probe on one side of your grill and use the far side of your grill for heat. Cover the heated side of your grill with aluminum foil and put your wood chips or chunks on top of the foil. Blast the burner under the wood on high until the wood starts to smoke then back down the burner to the lowest possible setting. Close the grill and start to monitor the temperature of the air in your grill. You are aiming or 190-230 degrees. After 5 minutes or so, the temperature should stabilize.

                              If you are too cool: Turn up the temperature under the wood chips; however, if the wood chips actually catch fire instead of smoking, put the fire out with a squirt bottle and turn the burner back to low. Then ignite the burner next to it and put it on the lowest possible setting.

                              If your wood chips won't smoke at a burner setting that produces the right air temperature, then you will need to get creative. Put your wood into a carefully crafted "boat" made from heavy duty aluminum foil. Then place that foil DIRECTLY ON YOUR BURNER. You may need to MacGyver up some creative foil shapes to get the wood chip vessel to balance, but it will be worth it.

                              If your grill is too hot and you are only running one burner at its lowest setting, you have several options:

                              1) If your grill is only 20-40 degrees hot, then you should be able to achieve a good temperature by propping your grill open a few inches. I used balled up aluminum foil for this purpose. It's cheap, easy, and very easy to adjust thinner or thicker to fine tune your temperature.

                              2) Fabricate a heat shield out of heavy duty aluminum foil and get that heat shield between your meat and the heat.

                              3) If your burner runs really hot, even on its lowest setting, you may need to actually shrink the size of your burner by choking it. First, make sure your burner is cool, then remove it from your grill. Tightly wrap aluminum foil around about half of the burner. This will effectively plug half of the burner holes, essentially cutting the heating power of your burner in half.

                              This sounds like a lot of fiddling, but once you figure out how to get your particular grill to the correct temperature, it will be a lot easier next time. I typically need to fiddle with my grill for about the first half hour of smoking, then I don't have to touch it. My current setup requires the burner on the lowest setting, an simple foil heat shield, and the grill propped open about 2 inches. Once you get the temperature right, just walk away and don't touch anything for as long as possible. Check every 30 minutes or so to see if you need to add wood chips. Don't open the grill, just check if there's smoke coming out.

                              Keep the remote thermometer with you at all times and set an alarm for a max grill temp of 250 and a minimum of 190. If the alarm goes off, take immediate action using the advice above. The only problem I have occasionally is that I my air temperature will suddenly spike to 300+. If that happens, it is very likely that the wood in your grill has caught fire. Just open the lid and squirt the wood thoroughly with a water bottle. If you find that you often have trouble with your wood igniting, cover the wood with aluminum foil By covering the wood, you deprive it of oxygen and it is much less likely to ignite.

                              Happy smoking!


                      2. Yum! The only thing I have to add is that I skewer the shrimp, for easier handling, so they don't fall through the grill and easier serving and presentation. The same w/ smoked scallops. For smoked clams or mussels, I leave them in the shell, do not disturb, and lift out gently when done.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          yeah, I don't use skewers cause I smoke smaller shrimp and do 20lbs at a time!! :-)

                          1. re: tacosisterkaty

                            I used a bowl shaped strainer, about 14 or 16 inch diameter. Fits easily in my smoker.

                            1. re: tacosisterkaty

                              Plus, if I had to deal with a skewer hidden inside my shrimp burrito, I'd be a pretty dissatisfied customer!