Prepare to wow your friends and family with this Lemon Pepper Grilled Shrimp recipe, perfect to serve as an appetizer or an entre.
I grew up in Maryland, so summer always meant lots of seafood.
If you’re a Marylander too, then you know, there’s nothing that screams summer louder than a crab feast!
Or steamed peel-and-eat shrimp cooked with a ton of Old Bay seasoning.
But both of those can get kinda messy.
They’re more of an eat ’em on a brown paper covered table kinda thing…
So what do you do if you’re looking for a delicious way to serve shrimp that’s a little less messy?
Enter the grill.
Thanks to a savory lemon pepper marinade, these delicious grilled shrimp kebabs are perfect as an entre or an appetizer!
Tips for Preparing Lemon Pepper Shrimp
If you have access to extra large fresh shrimp, then that’s always the best.
But if not, uncooked, peeled frozen shrimp is still delicious.
Any time you prepare shrimp, I always recommend putting them in a colander in the sink and giving them a good rinse.
Then let them drain in the sink while you prepare the marinade.
If you’re using frozen shrimp, this is also an easy way to thaw them quickly!
They’ll be marinating for about four hours in the fridge, so they don’t need to be completely thawed, just thawed enough that they aren’t sticking together.
You want to make sure the marinade completely covers each shrimp.
The Best Lemon Pepper Marinade
I’ve grilled shrimp without a marinade and they’re good.
However I always feel like I need to dip them in cocktail sauce or give them a generous sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning.
If you want to give your grilled shrimp a ton of flavor without any dipping required, a marinade is the way to go!
You’ll want to keep the marinade pretty light so you don’t cover up the flavor of the shrimp.
This simple lemon pepper marinade is perfect!
It’s also delicious for salmon and chicken.
You only need a few ingredients to make this easy marinade:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Minced Garlic
- Mineral Salt
- Coarse Cracked Black Pepper (not the finely ground kind!)
Since there’s no sugar or sweetener of any kind, this recipe is naturally a low carb appetizer, perfect for any keto or diabetic-friendly lifestyle.
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Simply dump all the ingredients into a bowl, then whisk it all together.
Keep whisking until the oil is emulsified through the marinade.
Emulsified basically means that the oil and lemon juice aren’t visibly separating.
How Long Should You Marinate Shrimp
I’m partial to marinating meat in gallon-sized zip-top bags.
The great thing about bags for marinating meat is you can easily manipulate the shrimp so it’s completely coated in the marinade.
And it prevents your refrigerator from smelling fishy…
I always recommend placing the bag in a container or inside another bag (I just reuse the outer bags over and over!).
Because if the bag holding the marinade happens to have a hole in it?
Let’s just say cleaning the fridge before a dinner party isn’t fun…
The shrimp should marinate for at least 2 hours.
I typically let it marinate for about 4 hours for maximum flavor.
Flip the bag over about halfway through to let the lemon pepper marinade redistribute.
To Kebab or Not to Kebab
When you grill shrimp, you’ve got two options to prevent them from slipping through the grate:
Place the shrimp on skewers to make a kebab.
When I make grilled shrimp as an entree, I usually skip the skewers and use a grill mat.
Although I have to say I love how easy it is to turn the shrimp when they’re on a skewer to get them all perfectly browned on both sides!
But any time I’m entertaining?
I love a pretty presentation, so I always opt for the skewers.
These non-stick circular kebab skewers are perfect for shrimp!
They’re great for any kind of kebab, but I really love how the curved shape mimics the curve of the shrimp.
When I started placing the shrimp on the kebab skewers, I thought three was the right number.
But then I ran out of skewers and still had more shrimp…
So I ended up putting four shrimp on each skewer!
How to Perfectly Grill Shrimp
One thing that’s so important with shrimp is to not over cook it!
Even if you’re a “well done” kinda person.
Because well done shrimp?
And has zero flavor.
Not to mention it shrinks up so small because you end up removing all the moisture!
The cook times I’m providing are what I used for these extra jumbo shrimp.
They have 16-20 shrimp per pound.
If you’re using smaller shrimp, you’ll need to reduce the cooking time.
And if your shrimp are a little larger?
Then cook them a little longer.
For perfect grilled shrimp, spray or oil the grates with cooking spray designed for grilling or olive oil.
Then, preheat the grill to medium high heat, about 400 degrees F.
Place the shrimp on the grates and close the lid.
Always use a timer!
Set the timer for two minutes, then peek in to see how the shrimp are looking.
If the shrimp’s tails are turning pink/red and the top is just starting to look opaque (kind of white, but not turning pink yet), they’re ready to turn over!
If they’re not looking like the picture above, close the lid and cook for another 30 seconds.
One time I bought pink shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico.
They completely threw me off because I’m used to using the “turning pink rule” for knowing when my shrimp are done!
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Fortunately, they were still kind of translucent, so instead of looking for them to turn pink, I watched for them to look opaque.
I have to say, they had an amazing flavor!
So if you ever have a chance to try fresh pink shrimp, definitely do!
When you turn your shrimp over, the cooked side should have these wonderful browned grill lines.
Close the lid after you flip them over, and set your timer for just one minute.
I promise the shrimp will be cooked all the way through in that short amount of time!
If you go much more than four minutes at medium-high heat, they’ll be overcooked.
Use grill tongs to remove the shrimp skewers to a plate.
And now try not to eat one on your way back inside…
How to Serve Grilled Shrimp
One reason that grilled shrimp make a perfect appetizer for a summer dinner is you can serve them hot from the grill or chilled.
They’re really delicious both ways!
So if you don’t want to be watching the grill while your guests are at your home, simply place the skewers on a plate lined with butter lettuce leaves and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
I like to serve this keto appetizer on the skewers with the tails still on.
Be sure to provide your guests with a plate so they have somewhere to discard the shells from the tails.
If you’re using fresh shrimp, you can completely remove the shell and then your guests don’t have to worry about removing the tails.
And of course, these tasty grilled shrimp are wonderful as the main course too!
Just serve up two-three skewers, or allow for about 10 shrimp per person.
I love pairing these shrimp with a green salad, and they’re amazing on top of this salad instead of the chicken!
If you jumped directly to the recipe, be sure to check out my tips for getting perfectly grilled shrimp in the post above!
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