This smoked shrimp recipe combines fresh shrimp with a buttery sauce, spicy spices and lemon zest for the perfect flavor combination. Cooked in the BBQ Smoker in just 30 minutes, this is as quick as your delicious fresh shrimp!
Many people look for skewers or baskets to cook their shrimp, but today I’m going to show you why grilling takes it to a whole new level.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to smoke shrimp, what woods to use, and what barbecue rub to use to tie it all together.
How to smoke shrimp
We will use aluminum foil for this, but YOU can use skewers or baskets as well. However, I often find that the shrimp can dry out easily when using these, so I prefer using aluminum foil.
The butter on the foil adds flavor to the shrimp while preventing them from drying out.
When it comes to grilled shrimp, I often think the bigger the better. So, don’t be afraid to grow big and get big. In this recipe we went all out with 16-20ct, which is among the largest you can get ( source ). I would say anything up to 24ct is fine.
These shrimp are cooked in a nice buttery sauce (made from two large sticks of butter). If the fat content here scares you, don’t worry. Most of it can be thrown away when it’s time to serve.
We start by melting the butter in a microwave-safe bowl or jar before adding a dollop of Worcestershire sauce and a few sprigs of fresh parsley.
Add a generous amount of barbecue sauce to the shrimp before placing them in the foil pan. Mix the shrimp together, then pour the butter mixture over them. You don’t want to submerge the shrimp here, you want them to sit half covered.
Heat the smoker to 250°F and add a few hickory chunks to your coals. Place shrimp pan on smoker racks, close lid and cook for 20-30 minutes. Using tongs, toss the shrimp around the 10 minute mark.
After about 30 minutes the shrimp took advantage of a nice pink color and smoky flavor.
Remove smoker and serve on a large serving plate. Serve with buttered bread and freshly squeezed lemon and enjoy!
While you can use store-bought options, I always prefer to make my own dressings. Here’s a quick homemade massage that’s going to be hugely popular.
- 1 tablespoon of peppers
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Simply combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a little paste, then apply to the shrimp as needed.
Best shrimp for grilling
For this recipe, we use king prawns, which are often around 16/20 or 21/26 .
If shrimp sizes are not available, the number indicates the numerical range of shellfish per pound. The lower number, the larger the shrimp. For example, 41/50 is considered medium size, while U15 (“U” means “under”) are “colossal” sizes that we often see in recipes like shrimp cocktail.
You can use any size you want, but I prefer the jumbo size because it doesn’t allow for large-scale cooking and still provides enough seafood meat to soak up the butter and garlic in the recipe.
Watch this video for a great guide to understanding shrimp size:
- I included Worcestershire sauce here after seeing it recommended by Malcolm on HowtoBBQRight.com. It pairs well with fish and can help add a bit of pizzazz to the shrimp. If you don’t have one, then the recipe is fine without them.
- Be careful not to dip the shrimp in butter. If completely covered, the shrimp won’t cook in the shorter time and won’t develop the pink color that good BBQ shrimp should have. As a guide, cover half the meat. This should be enough to add flavor and keep it moist.
- If you’re stirring on your charcoal grill, be sure to set your grill for indirect heat via 2-zone grilling.
More shrimp recipes
Would you like more than one serving of seafood? Try our other shrimp recipes:
- Forget the foil wrap with our Smoked Shrimp Skewers recipe . Prepared in a marinade of basil leaves and garlic before being smoked over hickory wood, these mini shrimp skewers are bursting with Mediterranean flavors.
- Add a touch of spiciness with our spicy grilled shrimp skewers . Prepared with paprika and dry sugar before being cooked over direct heat, this seafood appetizer strikes the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness.