Easy Grilled Shrimp–Brine Them First

by R.B. Quinn
easy grilled shrimp

Easy grilled shrimp take just a couple minutes to cook, and a quick soak in a salt water brine is worth the extra step, especially when you and your shrimp are landlocked. It puts a little ocean back into the shrimp. 

For the brine: in a medium-sized bowl, add about 1/4 cup of Kosher salt (or 2 tablespoons table salt) to 1 quart of cold water and stir until the salt has dissolved. Make the brine taste like the ocean, that’s the goal. Add the shrimp and refrigerate about an hour or while the charcoal gets started or the gas grill heats up. 

To grill the shrimp: Rinse the shrimp and put them on the grill. You can take the time to ladder them with skewers for easy turning, but I don’t mind the chaos of piling them on separately. Don’t leave your post because you’ll need to turn them over in about 2 minutes depending on the heat beneath them – medium to medium high is plenty, shrimp don’t need raging heat.

Grill them another 2 minutes and cut one open to check that the flesh is no longer raw. The exterior color is also a tell for doneness. Shrimp go from off-white (or tan depending on the style) to a reddish-orange when fully cooked. Well-done shrimp are tough to chew so err on taking them off sooner than later. They can always go back on another minute if necessary. 

One last word about shrimp: all shrimp are frozen for the trip to your store (unless you live on the coast), even the thawed shrimp at the supermarket seafood counter. Frozen shrimp are just fine. These heads-on shrimp are a little more work than peeled and deveined, but they can have a fuller flavor and right off the grill they make a great pre-dinner snack or a nice surf & turf dinner with that steak. 

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