Perfectly cooked shrimp on the grill! You’ll love using a charcoal or electric smoker to make this delicious smoke kissed shrimp recipe.
I find this recipe to be one that is insanely easy but always yields quite a show stopping end result that always wows friends and family. It’s great as an appetizer, as a main course, or to pair with a good reverse seared steak for surf and turf too.
The end result is always a perfectly seasoned, garlic butter shrimp that is finger licking good. While I mentioned this was a simple recipe to recreate at home, I do believe there are a few different approaches and variations you can make to help this cook fit your grilling style and home cook needs.
I’ll walk you through the in’s and and out’s of how to prepare and how to season your shrimp to perfection, best methods for slow smoking, and my favorite ways to serve it up to guests. Grab all the details below or jump to the recipe and let’s dive in!
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Spoons
- Paper Towels
Whether you’re new to cooking or a total pro, I hope the information I’ve outlined below helps walk you through the commonly asked questions I get when preparing this dish. Use the information as needed to guide you through a successful and fun cook!
What shrimp can I use and how do I prepare them?
There are a lot of types and styles of shrimp available at the grocery store these days. Some are frozen, some are fresh or large and small. Some are raw and some are already pre-cooked. Some are peeled and deveined and some are not at all.
So where do you begin and does it matter what you buy? Yes, there are a few things to note before purchasing your shrimp so you can properly prepare them for the smoker. Here is what you need to know:
- Use fresh or frozen raw shrimp.
- If you buy frozen shrimp, defrost them by soaking them in a bowl of cold water and replacing it every 10-15 minutes until they are fully thawed. This takes around 20-30 minutes max.
- Always pat your shrimp dry with paper towels to remove the extra moisture.
- You can buy any size shrimp, but the size will impact the cooking time, so keep that in mind.
- I like to buy already deveined shrimp (it’s a gross job to do this yourself), but with the shells on. Shells add flavor! You can get fully peeled and deveined shrimp though if you prefer.
How long does it take for shrimp to cook on a smoker?
This recipe calls for the shrimp to cook/ poach in a butter bath. Because we use low and slow indirect heat, they take around 30 minutes for smaller size shrimp and closer to 45-60 minutes for large or colossal shrimp.
According to the USDA, seafood is cooked safely when it hits an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. You can also visually tell the shrimp are fully cooked when the shells and shrimp are no longer translucent and often turn an orange or pink color.
Garlic butter sauce ingredients:
- Butter: I use two sticks of melted butter.
- Minced Garlic: Pre-mince your garlic and warm it in the butter to prevent it from turning green. Fresh is definitely best, but in a pinch you can use garlic powder.
- Cajun BBQ Dry Rub: I use my recipe for this, but you can also substitute for any other blend or even Old bay instead if desired.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice adds some acidity and brightness to the butter sauce.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds salt and more depth in flavor.
- Tabasco Sauce: I like to add this for some heat and flavor.
- Red Pepper Flakes: For garnish, adds a little heat at the end!
- Fresh Parsley: For garnish, pop of color and freshness at the end.
- Salt and Pepper (as needed)
Smoking instructions and helpful tips:
- Start by preheating your smoker to 250 F. Set your grill for indirect heat and use wood chunks or wood chips like cedar, apple, or even hickory for a stronger flavor.
- Place your cast iron skillet over medium high heat and melt the two sticks of butter. Once they are fully melted, remove the pan from the heat and set it on a cooler burner.
- Add the minced garlic to the melted butter and let it heat through. This helps prevent it from turning a blue-green color while smoking. Additionally, whisk in the Cajun dry rub mixture, the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce.
- Finally, toss the shrimp into the butter mixture so they’re fully coated. Then lay the shrimp flat into the butter so they can cook fully in the mixture.
- Place the pan on your smoker and allow it to cook for 30 minutes. Check your shrimp and see if they have hit an internal temp of 145 F. Add more time as needed depending on the size of your shrimp. (Larger shrimp are going to take closer to 45 minutes)
- Remove from the heat and garnish with some fresh parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve it right out of the pan, place over a delicious steak, pair with my smoked crab legs or any other dish of your choice!
Easy Smoked Shrimp
- 2 lbs. Shrimp
- 2 Sticks of Butter melted
- 4 Garlic Cloves minced
- 2 tsp. Cajun BBQ Dry Rub
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Lemon juiced
- 5-6 Dashes of Tabasco
- 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Red Pepper Flakes optional for garnish
- Preheat the grill for indirect cooking at 250 F. Add your wood or pellet flavor of choice and get it smoking!
- Over medium high heat, place your cast iron skillet on the burner and melt the 2 sticks of butter. Remove it from the heat and place it on a cooler burner.
- Add in the garlic and then mix in the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, and Cajun BBQ seasoning.
- in the shrimp so they are fully coated in the butter mixture. Then lay them flat in the pan so they can cook evenly.
- Cook them for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp (small shrimp will cook faster than larger shrimp). The internal temperature should register to 145 F. and the shrimp will no longer be translucent.
- Sprinkle the shrimp with fresh parsley and red pepper flakes and serve as desired.