Grilled shrimp skewers marinated in honey garlic sauce makes for a quick and easy outdoor meal. Smoky flavors from the barbecue and bold spices take this succulent seafood to the next level.
Grilled shrimp skewers are a family favorite, and I love making them because it’s quick and easy. When the weather warms up, I always enjoy firing up the barbecue and cooking outdoors. The food scientist in me also appreciates the versatility of having various cooking methods on one efficient piece of equipment.
Shrimp is pretty easy to cook because it’s ready in mere minutes. To maximize the flavor of the protein, I use a combination of bold spices and garlic to season the surface. These grilled shrimp skewers can even be prepared a day in advance for a weeknight meal if you know you’ll have limited time after work.
I was very excited to make this meal on my new Pit Boss Memphis Ultimate grill, I mean look at this thing, it’s incredible! I’m blown away by all the different options it has. This is a three-in-one cooking station, exclusively sold at Walmart. It has a 36,000 BTU 3-burner gas grill, a Charcoal grill with 6 position adjustment, and a 3-rack electric smoker.
The gas grill is very efficient! The temperature sensor on the top of the lid heated up within just a few minutes. It’s also straightforward to adjust the chamber temperature using the control knobs for whichever the style of cooking you are going for.
There are adjustable vents on both the gas and charcoal chambers that can let in fumes from the electronic smoker. So, if you were burning wood chips in the smoker, you could add that flavor while your grilling protein or vegetables on the grates.
Shrimp grilling tips
During culinary school, I learned some fundamental grilling techniques that helped my confidence. Here are my top grilling tips for cooking shrimp:
- Marinade: A quick way to heighten the shrimp flavor using oil, salt, spices, and aromatics.
- Skewers: Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.
- Heat: Preheat grill to quickly develop beautifully charred marks from the Maillard reaction. Adjust the temperature to between 275-325ºF to moderately cook the shrimp by convection.
- Grease: Lightly oil the grill grates before adding the food to prevent sticking.
- Time: Once the shrimp turn an opaque pink they are done, it only takes a few minutes!
The gas and charcoal grills can be temperature controlled using big thermometer gauges on the lids, which indicate the overall heat. Multiple gas control knobs, or how you set up your coals, will allow for direct and indirect heat to achieve the perfect temperature of foods. This makes it possible to use a plethora of cooking techniques other than just grilling like roasting, baking, searing, and hot smoking!
With my grill, I love how I can quickly preheat on high for 5 to 10 minutes, and then adjust the heat to maintain a consistent temperature during cooking. If the grill got too hot, I just opened up the lid to reduce the temperature and then adjust the control knobs. The unit is very responsive! This process helped to achieve perfect grill marks and evenly cooked shrimp.
The benefits of marinating shrimp
I often make a marinade to instantly boost the flavor of foods. The marinade for the jumbo shrimp recipe is a citrus honey garlic sauce that I then thread on skewers. I add lemon and lime zest instead of juice because the olive oil helps to dissolve the essential oils in the rind for a more intense citrus flavor.
The small amount of honey in the marinade also helps to create a caramelized surface on the shrimp. I then give the protein a quick baste with butter and then garnish it with fresh cilantro. A squeeze of citrus juice adds just the right amount of zip to brighten the shrimp flavor right before eating it. The bold taste from the sauce makes these grilled shrimp skewers disappear from the dinner table fast!
More shrimp recipes
Add fat and salt to create an effective marinade
Adding fat like oil or butter when marinating helps stabilize and protect the unique flavor compounds in garlic to enhance its taste. It also helps to dissolve fat-soluble flavors from the dry spices so that the taste is evenly transferred and amplified on the shrimp. Salt not only provides a savory note, but it also helps the water-soluble flavor compounds like allicin infuse more quickly into the shrimp. (Source: Cook’s Illustrated, The Science of Good Cooking)
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Grilled Shrimp with Honey Garlic Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more to grease the grill grates
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon paprika, sweet or smoked
- 2 pounds shrimp, 16/20 count, peeled, deveined, tail on
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, honey, garlic, salt, black pepper, lemon zest, lime zest, and paprika.
- Add shrimp to the bowl and toss with the marinade until evenly coated.
- The shrimp should marinate for at least 30 minutes before adding to the grill for maximum flavor.
- Thread the shrimp on skewers, about 5 per stick.
- Preheat grill over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, the chamber temperature should be between 275 to 325ºF (135 to 163ºC).
- Add a small amount of oil on a folded piece of paper towel and carefully grease the cooking grates.
- Once the grill reaches the recommended temperature, add the shrimp skewers and close the lid.
- Cook shrimp until no longer translucent with a lightly charred surface, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- Transfer to a serving platter and brush with melted butter on both sides.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with lemon and lime wedges.
- If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes before adding shrimp to prevent from burning.
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