Grilling Shrimp, Peel on or off?

Balsamic

Member
I've been told leaving the peel on imparts more flavor when grilling shrimp; doing so means it must be peeled after, messy and difficult when hot. I always marinate shrimp, and wonder how much marinade does not get to the meat if the tail is left on. I have also had many guests complain that they cannot, or do not want to peel the messy shrimp; and of course kids cannot always do it. What is your opinion; does the peel on enhance the experience enough to leave it on, or is a partial sacrifice of flavor worth peeling before grilling?
 

dissn_it

Active Member
The only time I leave the shells on is when we are grilling the really large jumbo shrimps. All the other sizes I peel because I usualy kabob them. I really don't think leaving the shells on does a heck of a lot for the flavor but it helps keep the meat moister and it keeps them from sticking to the grill. I think you get more flavor when the shells are off.
 

soulglazed

Member
I usually keep the shells off, I don't remember noticing THAT much of a difference between the flavor of the two. Yeah, keeping the shell on has a few time saving perks but so does keeping them off from the start if you think about it. I think sometimes it depends what you're going for since the main difference is moisture.
 

roses12roses12

Active Member
I always take the shell off when I am cooking shrimp. I am happy with the flavor of the shrimp. I can see how keeping the shell on might give it a fuller flavor, but as you said, when you have cooked the shrimp and they are hot, it is hard to get the shells off. If I were doing a cold shrimp dish, I might consider leaving the shell on.
 

Jessi

Active Member
Like dissn, when I'm dealing with jumbo shrimp, I leave the shells on. I don't think it's that difficult to work on those when they're done and hot. I'm really not sure it's going to make much difference one way or another, though. I guess it's time to experiment and try it out, huh!?
 

dconklin

Active Member
I take the shell off before cooking. The only time I have ever had a shrimp that was cooked with the shell on was at a local Chinese buffet. They had incredible flavor, but I think it was the breading they had it in. It was quite messy since it was fried with a light breading and the whole shrimp was there-eyes and all. So I cannot say if that is why it tasted so good, or if it was the breading they used.
 

Frank

Member
I usually grill shrimp with the peels on. I have found that grilling shrimp with the shells on makes peeling them off quite a bit easier, which is the main reason I do it that way.
 

MelbLurker

Member
Generally whenever I do anything with Shrimp I take the shells off. If only for convenience.
Hell, I've even been known to buy them shell-less. (It's cheaper, as they sell them by the kilogram.)

I know a guy who was throwing Shrimps on the Barbies and eating them shell and all too. :/
 

Jessi

Active Member
I know a guy who was throwing Shrimps on the Barbies and eating them shell and all too. :/
I know people like that, too. Even if it's not on the grill, they just eat the shells, too. I don't know how that can be appetizing. It's definitely not a "good crunch," and I feel like it takes away from the taste of the meatiness inside.
 

MelbLurker

Member
I don't understand it either.
I tried it...It was just, awful. Like you can't even describe the way it crunches...Worse than awful.

Meh, to each his own, I suppose.
 

nene5

Member
I peel mine before cooking. I have tried the shrimp in Chinese restaurants. One near me has the best shrimp boil. It is tasty and yummy.
 

rollybooz

Member
I personally would leave the shells on. When you are grilling prawns, they tend to cook really fast and more so without their shell. This may result in rubbery prawns that still have a raw core if the prawns are huge and the grill too hot. Also, the shrimp would tend to get stuck on the grill due to the marinate caramelising and stuff so you'll end up with bits of broken prawn in the end. Marinating and then grilling them with the shell on would not only prevent these problems, but also help to retain the moisture in for the flesh to remain succulent and fresh. If you're concerned that it is hard to peel the prawn and the eyes would look disgusting, simply remove the heads and using a knive, halve the shrimp down their backs through the shells making sure not to cut all the way through. This way when they cook, the shell would still be there to help retain some moisture but as the flesh cooks, it will expand and curl outwards, making the shell peel open on their own. Hope this helps!
 

FireBrick

Member
One time, we tried grilling shrimps with the shells on, and we vowed not to do it again. Peeling the shrimps proved to be a real challenge. It seemed like the shells just wouldn't come off. :confused:
 

ohiotom76

Member
Shells off for me. I'm assuming if they are not shelled they are probably not de-veined either then? That doesn't sound very appetizing. You could always take the shell off and put something else on it in its place like, bacon!
 
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