Cast Iron

J. Kenji López-Alt’s Grilled Shrimp Scampi-ish With Garlic and Lemon

July  3, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

There are 4 simple tricks for better grilled (or seared) shrimp nested within this recipe, which add very little more time or effort and outsized success: air-drying, dry-brining, adding baking soda, and snuggling on the skewers. Feel free to mix and match anytime you cook shrimp—they will all pamper them to a degree—or use them all right here. To read the full article, head here. Recipe adapted slightly from Serious Eats. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/2 pounds large (16–20 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined (frozen and thawed are okay)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon zest and 4 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine the shrimp, baking soda, salt, and optional sugar in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Thread the shrimp onto sets of 2 skewers, alternating heads to tails and pushing the shrimp so that they are nestled snugly together; you should have about 6 shrimp on each set of skewers. Lay skewers across the top of a baking dish so that the shrimp are suspended above the bottom of the dish. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine half of the garlic and half of the olive oil in a small bowl. Combine the remaining garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. When you’re ready to grill, brush both sides with the first garlic/oil mixture. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill, and allow to heat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and heat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. (You can also do this inside in a grill pan, heavy cast iron skillet, or broiler, but be sure a fan is turned on!)
  3. Place shrimp directly over hot side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through and well charred, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer shrimp to a cutting board.
  4. Carefully slide the shrimp off the skewers with a fork and transfer to the bowl with the garlic/oil/lemon mixture. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Richard Levine
    Richard Levine
  • Alex Koval
    Alex Koval
  • jennifer
  • cosmiccook
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

10 Reviews

cosmiccook June 12, 2022
Like everything about this EXCEPT: Baking Soda. Just don't. Its a restaurant hack to "plump" up shrimp and it makes them taste metallic. As a New Orleanian, no home cook I know uses BS when dealing w shrimp. I like to add fresh bay leaves from our tree to shrimp skewers.
Vivian April 12, 2021
The simple steps in this recipe make a huge difference. The shrimp are so much more flavorful. I doubt I'll ever make grilled shrimp any other way.
Richard L. June 25, 2018
Can you make this with a broiler?
John February 21, 2018
What is the reason for using only one side of the cooking surface?
Willa May 2, 2018
Indirect heat, shrimp cook quickly.
jodyrah May 25, 2018
Instructions say place on hot side of grill. This is direct heat.
Alex K. June 4, 2017
Beware, that's too much salt!
Shanon November 3, 2017
Depends on the kosher salt you use
jennifer November 26, 2017
1T kosher salt for 2.5 pounds of shrimp doesn't seem excessive.
cosmiccook June 12, 2022
Shrimp are already high in sodium-we always cut back on the salt (sea) amount.