These Shrimp Kabobs are sweet and tangy, succulent morsels that will whisk your taste buds away to the tropics (great for entertaining)! They are dripping with flavor from a Hawaiian inspired marinade that doubles as the glaze (no double work!), and are a meal-in-one complete with caramelized pineapple and charred bell peppers. These shrimp skewers boasts a grill time of less than 5 minutes or bake them in the oven to enjoy year-round!
Marinate shrimp for about 15 to 30 minutes. Marinating for too long can result in the shrimp becoming mushy as the proteins break down.
Shrimp should be marinated at room temperature because the marinating time is extremely short, not to exceed 30 minutes. This short time brings the shrimp to room temperature so it will cook more evenly.
According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), you should avoid rinsing raw shrimp before cooking due to the risk of spreading bacteria and potential foodborne illnesses.
Rinsing raw shrimp can spread bacteria like Vibrio (commonly found in raw seafood and can cause infections if ingested), to the sink and contaminate other surfaces and utensils, leading to potential cross-contamination.
Rinsing shrimp also diminishes the overall taste and texture of the shrimp, as it washes away some of their natural flavors and make the shrimp water-logged.
Instead of rinsing, pat shrimp dry with paper towels before cooking.
Shrimp should be grilled uncovered to allow the direct heat from the grill to cook the shrimp evenly and quickly. It also helps to develop a slightly charred and smoky flavor, instead of becoming soggy or steamed.
Yes, shrimp should be flipped when grilling to ensure it cooks evenly on both sides. Shrimp cook quickly, so flipping them allows the direct heat to distribute evenly and prevents one side from overcooking while the other remains undercooked.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers by piercing just above the tail and again through the head so one shrimp is skewered in two places. This prevents the shrimp from turning on the skewer so it’s easier to handle and so it cooks evenly.
I recommend grilling the shrimp with the tails on because it’s much easier to skewer. It also gives the option of enjoying the grilled shrimp more like buffet finger food, the tail allowing you to easily pick the shrimp up. Once your shrimp is cooked and resting, you can remove the tails if you wish.
To grill shrimp without drying it out:
1. Use medium-high heat so the shrimp cook quickly.
2. Marinate the shrimp briefly (15-30 minutes) so it soaks up extra moisture.
3. Keep the cooking time short (2 minutes per side) so the shrimp doesn’t overcook and release excess moisture.
4. Baste with oil or reserved marinade during grilling to maintain moisture.
Wooden skewers should be submerged in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. I prefer metal skewers because you don’t have to plan ahead, they never catch on fire and are reusable.
You can grill cooked shrimp but I don’t recommend it because it won’t be as juicy. Essentially grilling cooked shrimp is warming up already cooked shrimp. Raw shrimp already cooks super quickly, so cooked shrimp will require even less time so you are at a high risk of drying out the shrimp. Additionally, the shrimp isn’t as flavorful because it doesn’t soak up the marinade as well.
Yes! Take care to thaw the shrimp completely and pat it dry before grilling. There are two options for defrosting your shrimp:
1. Easy Defrost: Thaw shrimp in the refrigerator overnight by transferring the package to the refrigerator or removing the desired amount of shrimp to a covered bowl. The shrimp should be thawed by the morning.
2. Quick Defrost: Place the frozen shrimp (in its packaging) in a large bowl filled with cold water (you will likely need to place something heavy on the package to prevent it from floating). Let sit for 10 minutes; after 10 minutes, replace the water with new cold tap water and submerge the shrimp again. Let shrimp sit an additional 10- 20 minutes. If the shrimp isn’t completely thawed, repeat.
Shrimp that is not deveined will still have the dark, sandy intestinal tract running along the back of the shrimp just beneath the surface. Sometimes it will be very dark and sometimes it will be harder to spot depending on when the shrimp ate last.
While eating the shrimp with the veins won’t harm you, it can add grittiness and distract from the clean shrimp taste so I highly recommended removing it. To devein shrimp:
1. First, locate the vein in the shrimp running along its back.
2. Make a shallow cut and use the tip of the knife to lift it out.
3. The veins and shells can then be thrown away.
4. Rinse the shrimp and lay on a paper towel to dry.
You may notice a second dark tract running along the inside belly of the shrimp even if you purchase “deveined” shrimp. This tract is NOT another digestive tract but the nerve cord and does not need to be removed.
Grilled shrimp kabobs are one of the healthiest ways to consume shrimp because it doesn’t cook in any butter and there is minimal oil in the marinade. Shrimp is low in calories, contains zero carbs and provides a high amount of protein and healthy fats. It is also an excellent source of iodine, an important mineral required for proper thyroid function and brain health as well as selenium, a mineral that may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health.
Shrimp is also a good source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as the antioxidant astaxanthin, all of which promote heart health. It is also high in other nutrients, for example, four ounces of shrimp contains over 75% of the daily value for vitamin B12, over 50% for phosphorous, and over 30% for choline and copper, as well as phosphorus, niacin, zinc, and magnesium.