Expert Explains Why You Should Never Peel Shrimp Before Grilling

While the phrase "shrimp on the barbie" is sure to grate on the ears of any Australian (they've been over all that "Crocodile Dundee" shtick for decades), grilling is still a great way to cook these tasty crustaceans. In order to pick up some tips on the best shrimp-grilling techniques, Mashed spoke with seafood professional Tyler Gallup of Tammen's Fish Market. Tammen's is one of the vendors in the popular food hall Denver Central Market, located in the city's hipster-y RiNo (River North) neighborhood, and Gallup is the fish market's Director of Operations.

Even though Colorado is a landlocked state, Gallup himself is quite the shrimp expert. He recommends the Florida Brown kind as being the best for grilling due to their sweeter, more complex flavor as compared to the standard supermarket shrimp varieties. Even if you don't have access to a boutique shrimpery with beaucoup species, though, Gallup does have one tip to make sure your shrimp grilling is, in his words, "an awesome experience:" Do not peel your shrimp before you cook them.

Shrimp peels keep the moisture in

Gallup feels it's best to grill only large-sized shrimp. The small and medium ones, he says, dry out too quickly, while "starting with a larger, tastier shrimp is the key to guaranteed success." Well, one of the keys. The other one, as mentioned, is cooking the shrimp with the shells still on. The reason for this, per Gallup, is that the meat will be able to steam inside the shells, retaining moisture so it stays tender. And don't worry: Even with the shells on, shrimp should still take on what he calls "bold grill notes."

Even if you leave your shrimp unpeeled, you may still want to cut into the shells to remove the unsightly black veins that run down their backs. People tend to find these unappetizing, although Gallup says the shrimp deveining debate is a matter of personal preference. If you do breach the shells to devein the crustaceans, he assures that the shrimps' large size means "the quality of the cook will still shine." So there you go — take this expert advice and boldly go forth to grill stellar shrimp, you shiny chef, you!