Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: August 16, 2022

Grilled shrimp is incredibly delicious; however, if the heat is too high or you leave it too long, your shrimp disappears. It shrinks into nothing. That's why grilling shrimp in foil is the ideal way forward.

We have taken grill experts' advice, like Emeril Lagasse, the famous American chef, on the best methods of foil grilling.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • When grilling shrimp in foil, ensure you pinch the foil closed tightly.
  • Never put the shrimp over direct fire.
  • Grill it for 8-12 minutes.
  • Season the shrimp before grilling and add oil or butter for moisture and flavor.
  • You can do a shrimp foil grill in the oven using the broil setting.

Grilling shrimp in foil requires you to focus on a few primary factors: preparing and seasoning the shrimp, packaging and sealing the foil pockets, and the temperature and grilling time. Let's get into detail on each aspect.

Preparing the Shrimp

fresh shrimps getting thawed in a bowl

The shrimp preparation for foil packet grilling is essential to getting the correct texture and flavor at the end of the cooking process.

If you don't use the proper steps to prepare your shrimp, you will likely end up with flavorless, shrunken shrimp.

Here are the steps to prepare your shrimp for foil grilling:

  1. If your shrimp is frozen, allow it to thaw fully before the next step. You can leave it to soak in room temperature water to defrost faster.
  2. Wash and clean your shrimp well – remove the veins and rinse the shrimp out [1].
  3. Lay the shrimp out on paper towels or a clean tea towel for 10-15 minutes to absorb the water.
  4. Further, pat the shrimp with a new paper towel to ensure it is as dry as possible.

Grilling frozen shrimp is a bad idea because it will release too much water in the foil, causing you to boil the shrimp instead.

It will also reduce the flavor if there are any seasonings on the shrimp. The shrimp might also not cook through entirely but still shrink away [2].

The shrimp needs to be as dry as possible because seafood releases a lot of water during the cooking process.

Allowing it to rest and aspirate water and then patting it dry also helps to retain the size of your shrimp so it doesn't excessively shrink.

Seasoning the Shrimp

bowl filled with marinated shrimps

Seasoning the shrimp is the next essential step for grilling foil packs.

The American celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse tells us to wrap fish and other quick-cooking items inside foil packets with fresh herbs and place them directly on the grill for the steam to release the herb's perfume and flavor anything inside the pouch.

Here are the steps to season your shrimp for foil grilling:

  • You want to add seasoning to the shrimp on a plate or mixing bowl. Put all your dry spices first; avoid adding salt or use low sodium salt because sodium from salt causes food to release water.
  • Leave your shrimp to marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge. Allowing it to marinate helps the shrimp absorb all the flavors making your shellfish more flavorful and tender.
  • If you are not making saucy shrimp, you can now pack it in the foil. If you are using sauce, use the saucy marinade in the initial seasoning step before leaving it to rest.

Water doesn't evaporate when grilling shrimp in foil packs like it does when open grilling.

That means if the shrimp is releasing excess moisture in the foil, you will have shrimp that loses its flavor sitting in a runny liquid, and the meat of the shellfish will not be as tender because it lost its core moisture.

When making saucy shrimp, you don't need to leave the shrimp to rest because the sauce will give you all the flavor when eating.

But the shrimp will absorb more flavor if you allow it to marinate for some time.

Packing the Shrimp in Foil

stack of cooked shrimps

If you are making saucy shrimp, you can wiggle the foil into a bowl shape or place the piece of foil over a bowl.

Put your shrimp inside, and then fold the foil close. You can use the same concept when adding veggies or extra food items with the shrimp.

You want to make sure you add the shrimp on top of any veggies for grilling so the shrimp doesn't get done too quickly while the vegetables are not yet tender.

You can mix it all in if you are grilling in the oven with a broil setting because the primary heat is above.

With dry spiced shrimp, it will be best to try and lay the shrimp out in an even layer as flat as possible.

That helps all the shrimp cook evenly at once without overlapping shrimp releasing extra juices onto the bottom pieces.

Before you close the foil, remember to drizzle some olive oil or place a few blobs of butter around the shrimp.

It will help cook the shrimp by keeping it tender and adding flavor. In addition, you could also add a few lemon slices for more flavor.

How to Fold Foil for Grilling Shrimp?

folding foil

The primary importance of closing the foil is not about the folding method but more about sealing the edges tightly so that no air escapes.

Once you get the ends together from the first opposing sides, fold them inwards to press them closed.

Then take the other two sides and bring them over the pack, folding the ends inwards and pressing them closed tightly.

Check for any holes in the corners and double-check that your self-made seal is stiff.

When you make sure that your foil is airtight, it traps the steam in, allowing your shrimp to cook more evenly and preventing moisture from evaporating.

That gives you more tender shrimp and retains the size because it can hold its juices instead of releasing it.

Temperature and Length for Grilling Shrimp in Foil

grilling with foil

Reduce the temperature for grilling your shrimp foil packs on a bbq grill to medium heat fire.

If the fire is scorching, your shrimp will not cook properly, and the outer layer will get done too fast with the meat still raw in the middle.

Place the foil pack on the side of the grill so that it is not over direct fire.

In grilling, the masters call it "indirect heat." You can grill the shrimp for 8-10 minutes, and it will be ready to serve.

When grilling shrimp in the oven using a broiler, keep the temperature between 300-350°F. Place the foil packs in the middle rack of the oven and broil it for 10-12 minutes.

Be mindful when opening up the packs because it will release a lot of steam aside from being incredibly hot to the touch.

Related: When, How and Why to Wrap a Brisket?

Conclusion

Grilling shrimp in foil is easy if you follow the techniques above. If you are tired of having burnt, dried out, and shrunken grilled shrimp – the foil packs will be a game-changer for you.


References:

  1. https://seafood.edf.org/common-questions-about-contaminants-seafood
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28234341/

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