You may not be familiar with smoked shrimp, but the fact is that by smoking these delicious sea creatures, you will end up with a wonderful smoke-infused appetizer or shrimp for different dishes like jambalayas, pasta, salads, and other recipes which use shrimp.
The best news is that smoked shrimp is easy to make and will take just about 30 minutes to cook to perfection.
Here is one of our favorite recipes for smoked shrimp, which you can prepare next time you get that smoker going.
Choosing the shrimp
While you can use any type of shrimp, you will save a lot of prep time if you buy shrimp that is already deveined and peeled. If you are planning on using frozen shrimp, make sure to let them thaw completely before popping them into the smoker.
Jumbo shrimps are our personal favorite, but due to their size, they may take slightly longer to cook.
Making the marinade or rub for the shrimp
You can make any marinade or rub which you prefer to season your shrimp before smoking them.
One easy homemade recipe for a smoked shrimp rub is to mix some kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, and parsley. Toss or brush the shrimp with some olive oil to act as an adhesive for the rub, and then sprinkle or dredge the shrimp in the rub until all sides are covered.
Another excellent and easy homemade mix for seasoning the shrimp prior to smoking them is by mixing Kosher salt, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, and lemon juice, and then cover the shrimp with it.
Other suitable marinades and rubs for smoked shrimp that you can try include chipotle seasoning and even some Asian marinades.
Placing the shrimp in the smoker
There are different methods that pitmasters use for smoking shrimp, but our tested and preferred ways include the following steps:
- Since these creatures are small, they are likely to fall through the rack in your smoker. This is why you should place them on some aluminum foil with small holes, which will allow the smoke to pass through and infuse them during the cooking.
- You can also place the shrimps in a pan and add some butter. Align them without too much overlapping to allow for even and complete smoking of each shrimp.
- You can use skewers to make kabobs from the shrimp as well.
- Last but not least, you can place the shrimps in a suitable grilling basket.
Choosing the wood and smoking the shrimp
Since normally, smoking shrimp will take only about 30 minutes, it is recommended that you use a stronger wood like pecan, maple, or hickory if you want a strong smoky flavor.
If you prefer to enjoy more of the delicate taste of the shrimp, you can use milder wood such as fruitwood or alder, which is usually used for fish and seafood.
Depending on the type of smoker or grill you will be using, set it to a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For the best results, try to keep the temperature constant throughout the smoking process. This can be monitored with the help of a good thermometer.
Since the smoking of the shrimp takes about 30 to 40 minutes and is not a low and slow cook, you should probably pay more attention to the smoker to ensure that the heat and smoke are consistent throughout the cook.
By overcooking the shrimp, it will become tough and inedible.
Once the shrimp are in the smoker, let them cook for about 10 minutes before opening the smoker and checking on them.
Do that every few minutes to prevent ending up with rubbery overcooked shrimp.
When they are ready, the perfectly smoked shrimp will gain a beautiful pink color. This should typically take 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size and type of shrimp you are using.
If you want to intensify the smoky flavor of the shrimp, you can smoke them at a lower temperature of about 180 degrees.
Once the shrimp is ready, you can serve it immediately as a snack, a topping for pasta or salad, for rice dishes, for quesadillas, or any other dish with shrimp you prefer.