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Grilled Shrimp Cocktail: A Perfectly Savory Summer Treat

When it comes to delightful summer appetizers, a Grilled Shrimp Cocktail stands out as a perfect blend of simplicity, flavor, and elegance. This dish is a fresh take on the classic shrimp cocktail, adding a smoky grilled twist that elevates the experience. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or looking for a quick and tasty seafood snack, this recipe is a must-try. Let’s dive into the details and discover how to create this mouthwatering dish.


Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This Grilled Shrimp Cocktail is perfect for seafood lovers and those who appreciate fresh, vibrant flavors. It’s an excellent option for gatherings, offering a sophisticated yet easy-to-prepare appetizer. The combination of juicy grilled shrimp and homemade cocktail sauce creates a tantalizing contrast of smoky, spicy, and tangy notes. Plus, the recipe is adaptable, allowing you to tweak the ingredients to suit your taste preferences.


Ingredients You’ll Need

For the Shrimp


  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lime, zested
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


For the Cocktail Sauce


  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • A few drops of your favorite hot sauce (optional)


Special Equipment


  • 10″ metal or wooden skewers


Kitchen Equipment Needed


  • Medium bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Sharp paring knife
  • Grill (gas or charcoal)
  • Metal or wooden skewers (if wooden, soak them for at least 45 minutes)
  • Paper towels


Preparing the Shrimp


The quality of the shrimp makes a significant difference. Fresh shrimp is always preferred, but if you can only get frozen, ensure they are fully thawed before proceeding. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels to help the marinade adhere better.


How to Peel and Devein Shrimp


  • Peeling: Grab the legs and pull off the shell, leaving the last segment and the tail intact.
  • Deveining: Run a sharp paring knife down the back of the shrimp (about 1/8 to 1/4″ deep) and remove the dark vein.


Marinating the Shrimp


  • Place the shrimp in a medium bowl.
  • Add the minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, lime zest, and freshly ground pepper.
  • Toss to coat the shrimp completely and let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.


Making the Cocktail Sauce

While the shrimp marinades, prepare the cocktail sauce. This sauce is ready in about two minutes and is far superior to store-bought versions.


  • In a small bowl, combine ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce (if using).
  • Stir to combine and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Chill the sauce until ready to serve.


Grilling the Shrimp


  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 400-450°F).
  • Skewer the shrimp, piercing through the head end first and then through the tail section to hold them securely.
  • Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side until they are pink and firm.


Serving Suggestions


Serve the grilled shrimp alongside the cocktail sauce. For an elegant presentation, you can serve the cocktail sauce in small glasses or shot glasses with a shrimp perched on the rim.


Notes and Tips


  • Wooden Skewers: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 45 minutes to an hour to prevent burning.
  • Marinade Variations: You can swap lime zest for lemon zest or add fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley to the marinade for additional flavor.
  • Storing Leftovers: Store any leftover shrimp and sauce in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. The shrimp will keep for up to 2 days, and the cocktail sauce for up to a week.



Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes, you can use frozen shrimp. Make sure to thaw them completely and pat them dry before marinating.


What can I use instead of horseradish in the cocktail sauce?

If you don’t have horseradish, you can use wasabi for a similar heat or Dijon mustard for a milder option.


How can I tell when the shrimp are done?

Shrimp are done when they turn pink and opaque. Be careful not to overcook them as they can become tough.


Food and Drink Pairings

Pair this Grilled Shrimp Cocktail with a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light beer. For a non-alcoholic option, a refreshing lemon-lime soda or iced tea complements the flavors well.


Enjoyed this Grilled Shrimp Cocktail recipe? Share it with your friends and family, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more delicious recipes and cooking tips! Your feedback is always welcome, so let us know how you enjoyed this dish and any variations you tried. Happy grilling!

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