America's Test Kitchen

Never Overcook Shrimp Again! Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Fire Up the Grill.

Craving some grilled shrimp? We are pretty much, oh, all summer long, but shrimp is trickier to cook than we thought. It’s just a little more complicated than “throwing some on the barbie”— at least if we want it to taste good!

If you’ve never attempted grilling shrimp, you might be wondering what exactly makes the tasty seafood fave so tricky. Turns out, the problem is all about timing— or at least, too little time.

You see, when you cook shrimp on the grill, they cook up too quickly. As America’s Test Kitchen explains in the video below, that means you’ve got too short of a time frame to allow them to get that delicious grilled char without overcooking. And you know what overcooked shrimp tastes like— less a seafood delicacy and more of a rubbery chew toy. Who wants that?!

Since nobody wants overcooked, rubbery shrimps, we need to find the way to guarantee flavorful seafood. Luckily, America’s Test Kitchen has done all the work and research for us. Even better? You don’t need to be a professional seafood chef to get those shrimps perfect. They’re all so easy to do!

Allow us to highlight our favorite tips from the video:

Skewer a Crowd

Everybody has their favorite way of barbecuing and grilling smaller, piecier foods like shrimp, but the best way is also the most simple: pack them on a wooden skewer and throw them on there!

More importantly? Pack as many shrimps as possible onto the skewer as you can, and squish those shrimps right up against each other. This technique is one case where it’s GOOD to crowd your food.

Why? Packing them together actually guards against overcooking! You can subsequently leave them on the grill just a little longer to achieve your desired char level without getting that rubbery feeling.

Plus, these packed-and-skewered shrimp are much easier to grab and flip with your tongs. No more trying to frantically flip a bunch of individual shrimps all at once!

Char Just One Side

You know already – if only because we keep mentioning it – that a good char is paramount for perfectly grilled shrimp. What you probably don’t know? You really only need to char ONE side of the shrimps to get that delicious flavor.

America’s Test Kitchen recommends cooking the first side of the shrimp skewers over high heat. Then, once they’ve achieved that char, flip them over and move them to another part of the grill, over low heat, to finish cooking all the way through. The shrimp will end up absolutely perfect, and your guest won’t stop asking for more.

To learn more about grilling shrimp, see these tips in action, and learn America’s Test Kitchen’s final secret for perfect seafood “on the barbie,” watch their video below. The final tip is pretty “sweet.”

Want even more tasty ways to eat shrimp? Of course you do! So make sure to check out all of our delicious recipes involving everybody’s favorite seafood: