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A few weeks back, I was watching an old episode of Good Eats entitled Crustacean Nation. Alton Brown was making some shrimp cocktail but what intrigued me was that he brined the shrimp before cooking. Maybe I'm an idiot or maybe I've been living under a rock, but I've never heard of brining shrimp. Chicken...yes, turkey...yes, pork chops (and other cuts of pork)...yes, but never shrimp. So that idea has been tumbling around in the back of my noggin for awhile. Last night, I decided to give it a go. I was planning on sticking to his recipe, but somehow a 1/4 cup of Zatarain's Extra Spicy Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil made its way in as well. With the addition of that, I figured I should up the water to prevent it from being too spicy or salty.
Brine:2 cups water 1/4 cup Kosher salt 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup Zatarain’s Extra Spicy Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil 2 cups of ice
Bring the water to a boil and then add the seasonings and the ice. Once it has cooled, add shrimp and allow to brine for 20-25 mintues. Sorry, no pics of that. Shrimp swimming around in a brine isn't that exciting.
While that was happening, I chopped up some zucks, shrooms, carrots, broccoli and red onion and dumped them in a CI Skillet
Tossed them with some olive oil, S&P and some DP Swamp Venom and then put them on the Egg at 550 until the veggies had just begun to soften.
After the shrimp came out of the brine, I rinsed them a few time, dried them, skewered them (using 2 prevents them from spinning when you go to flip them), rubbed them down with some olive oil and sprinkled on some Old Bay. I took the top off the Egg and opened the bottom vent wide open once the shrimp went on to really get the heat going.
The shrimp only took a few minutes per side to cook.
I wasn't sure what to expect from the brine, but I can tell you from now on, when we grill shrimp, we are going to brine and leave the shells on. They were plump and juicy. The shrimp had a firm texture and each bite was like tasting the sea. So full of flavor, yet not spicy at all from the Zatarain's. Just the perfect flavor. I might skip seasoning the outside with Old Bay next time. It just comes off with the shell, unless you like to lick your fingers. I just did it because Alton did. We are definitely converts and will brine from here on out. The only thing I regret was that I had planned on leaving a shrimp or two out of the brine just for comparison. Not a reliable experiment with out a control to compare it to. Kinda glad I didn't, though as they were so good.
The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings