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How to: shrimp kebabs

Shrimp kebabs are an easy way to give great barbecued flavor to shrimp and vegetables.

  • When it’s Done:
    • When the shrimp curl and turn pink and the flesh is pearly and opaque.

The easiest way to barbecue shrimp is actually on skewers, because they become infinitely easier to manage and flip. You can barbecue the shrimp on the kebabs with the shells on or off — either works fine. Add some fresh vegetables or fruit to your shrimp skewers and you have a fantastic barbecued meal on a stick. Here’s how to make them in just seven steps.

  1. KFD_SKEWER-0025

    Start soaking your skewers.

    Readily available in most grocery stores, bamboo skewers are inexpensive and perfect for shrimp kebabs. However, because they are made of wood they can easily catch fire while barbecuing. To prevent this, simply soak the skewers in water for an hour prior to barbecuing.

  2. KFD_Sidebyside_SHRIMP_KEBAB

    Season your shrimp and prep the vegetables.

    You can use a marinade or a dry seasoning to bring flavor to your shrimp. If using a marinade, do not use one with high acid content with ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar. If left on too long, the acid in these marinades will change the texture of the shrimp, almost like cooking them. You can also simply drizzle olive oil onto the shrimp and apply the dry seasoning of your choice—many are popular for seafood. Next, cut your vegetables to match the size of your shrimp. Because shrimp cook so quickly, use vegetables that also cook quickly like cherry tomatoes and scallions. Fruits like pineapple or peaches are also good choices to pair with shrimp. If you plan on marinating your vegetables or fruits, do so in a separate container from the shrimp.


    Start assembling.

    Gently thread your shrimp onto the skewers, followed by the vegetables and fruits if desired. Work in sequence, alternating between shrimp and veggies to ensure even cooking. Do not overcrowd your skewers, but don’t skimp either. You want to fill the skewers so the shrimp and veggies are touching but not too packed in.

  4. KFD_2-ZONE_FIRE-0015

    Start a two-zone fire.

    You will barbecue the shrimp skewers over a two-zone fire. Fire up the coals, and once lit, pile them all onto one side of the BBQ. Leave the other side completely empty. You’ll sear the shrimp kebabs over high heat, but you can still move them over to the cooler side in case of a flare-up.

  5. shrimp-kebab.gif

    Sear and flip your shrimp kebabs.

    Barbecue your shrimp skewers directly over the coals on the hot side of the BBQ. Shrimp don’t take long to cook—only two to three minutes per side—so don’t load up the BBQ with too many skewers at once. Cook them in batches so you can flip them and move them aside in case of flare-ups.


    Finish on the cool side.

    If you are using particularly large, meaty shrimp, you may need to let them finish cooking through on the cool side of the BBQ.


    Serve immediately.

    You do not need to rest your shrimp kebabs, just serve them hot off the BBQ. Shrimp kebabs go great with leafy green salads for a lighter meal or paired with hearty pasta dishes on the side.

The advantage to using shell-on shrimp is their natural fireproof jacket prevents burning, and the meat steams up nicely inside. If you choose to go shell-on, use a liquid marinade to season so that more flavor gets past the shell.