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The End of the Shrimp is Coming!!!

Do you eat that little bit of meat at the tail of the shrimp? I find myself jousting with my roommate regarding this issue.

On one hand, it's a bit of good shrimp meat, easily harvested with a little squeeze. On the other, it's the @$$ of the shrimp; given that it's still encased in shell, it hasn't been de-veined, and in my house, that means it's inedible.

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  1. I eat it. I can't bear to discard..

    1. I eat the entire shellwhen faced with the nubbin at the end. Not when I am at a cocktail party, mind but the tail portion on grilled shrimp? It's my favorite part. Remember that the shells are used for stock. There's a ton of flavor in there.

      1. Yes!! ~~ Pinch the tail and Enjoy!!

        1. If you examine the following biological diagram of a shrimp, you will notice that its anus is located at the end of this "nubbin:"

          Mmmmmm.... dirty shrimp anus...

          3 Replies
          1. re: tangoking

            Can you write off that this part is also in the court-bullion or the liquid that the shrimp is marinating in? You also overlook the fact that shellfish stocks are made from these anuses. Ever have Lobster Bisque?

            And have you ever eaten lobster tail or crawfish? That meat is a hell of a lot easier to get out than the shrimp's. All ass.

            1. re: Ernie Diamond

              I can hear that shrimp now: "Yeah, well, bite mine too, buddy!"

              Not liking to waste even that bit of butt, I long ago discovered that if I pinch that bit of shell both top and bottom and sideways, then pull the shrimp gently away from the tail, that last bit usually slides right out.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Yep, and it's the sweetest part of the shrimp tail, too.

          2. Perhaps your question is really, "How concerned are you about eating any segment of the shrimp's intestinal tract?"

            I myself don't even bother deveining smaller shrimp, and not even always larger ones, unless I see something that I'd just as soon root out. I get shrimp tail meat whenever it presents itself.

            But this isn't really a rational issue, is it? People vary a lot in how they interpret the imperative to eat "cleanly." There are cultures that won't touch food with with the left hand, presumptively tainted from toilet duties.

            1. Boy, I sure misjudged this post's content based on my read of the title.

              I had never actually considered the fact that the end of the shrimp is, indeed, the terminus of its digestive track. No matter, I eat it. In fact, I was repremanding my son the other night for "wasting" the tail meat when he didn't bother to suck it out of the shell. He will greatly enjoy the illustration of the shrimp that you posted.

              1. we always boil our own shrimp for "shrimp cocktails". i like to buy them with heads on as this adds to the flavor. we then peal them and leave the last portion in the shell so as to have the tail to hold the shrimp by. (there is a reason for this story.)

                there have been times when we have had guests that leave the last portion uneaten. they are NEVER served shrimp again!

                1. De-veining a shrimp is purely aesthetic. There's no harm in eating it. It's just the "ick" factor for some people.

                  So yes. I always eat the last little end of the shrimp. My only issue with leaving the tail on is when it's served in a hot sticky sauce or in a scalding soup. It's annoying to have to deal with the tail! Take the whole thing off when you're putting it in something hot! I don't like either having to remove the tail before I eat it or having to fish it out of my mouth after I've eaten the rest of the meat.

                  ... I know... it's traditional to serve it with the tail on. I just don't know why.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: egit

                    So you have something to hold onto when you're eating them with your fingers?

                    I do it like Will Owen sez above to neatly separate the tail bit from the shrimp rump. Or gently bite it at the point where shell meets actual tail, sort of like shelling edamame with your teeth.

                    1. re: tcamp

                      If it's scalding hot, I certainly don't want to hold onto it with my fingers. (Think Tom Yum Goong here)

                  2. eat it, save me yours, will eat them as well

                    1. So, for those of you who eat the unclean anus and rectum of shrimp, that is, for lack of a better word, disgusting.


                      Would you eat beef rectum and anus without cleaning it? How about pork? That's what you're doing with your shrimp.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tangoking

                        Well some people find even the most tidily cleaned shrimp disgusting. Whatever floats your boat.

                        Do you eat sardines? Snails? Anuses included there, too, I think.

                        1. re: tangoking

                          But(t), if you call it a "sand vein" it tastes soooo much better.

                          1. re: tangoking

                            "Would you eat beef rectum and anus without cleaning it? How about pork? That's what you're doing with your shrimp." If they ate the same things, you'd have a point. But they don't. There is no single substance classified as poop. It varies from animal to animal. Bovine poop, for instance, owing to the cow's diet, is a quite benign substance, if a bit stinky. Allowed to dry, it makes excellent campfire fuel. Shrimp are simple critters, with a simple diet, and the residue from what they didn't digest is mostly just dirt. Not teeming with bacteria, not smelly, not icky (unless you're silly enough to make it so). And if you still insist on being repelled, well, more for the rest of us.

                          2. I'm tangoking's roommate. I find this post hilarious considering "the king" routinely eats meat that's been left out to "age" for days if not weeks.

                            I personally have never had a problem with anus of any kind.