Best Ways to Smoke Shrimp

Best Ways to Smoke Shrimp

If you have ever set your tongue on a smoked shrimp, we are sure that you must have gone on a fulfilling gastronomic ride. Smoked shrimp is a delight to the taste buds and it satiates the palate like no other food can. Now the good news is that smoked shrimp is as easy and fast to cook as it is to eat.

Well, almost! We know we have always maintained that smoking is a long and laborious process but in this exceptional case, it is quick and easy.

It takes less than 30 minutes to smoke a jumbo shrimp. And if you have smaller shrimps, likewise the time taken is even lesser. You can just start with some deveined and peeled shrimp. It is always better to smoke fresh shrimp. But frozen shrimp will also work. Just make sure they are properly thawed before you start.

Pre prepping the Shrimp Before Smoking

1: Marinade

A good marinade or a spice rub can further accentuate the flavors of the shrimp. For the same, you can mix some salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and cayenne. Then glaze some olive oil over the shrimp, sprinkle the spice rub, coat it properly and then leave them to rest.

Another easy way to do it is to add the spice mix in a zip lock bag, add the shrimp and shake to mix. There is one more spice mix you can make with salt, garlic, cajun seasoning, and lemon juice. Or, if you are a professional chef then you know the flavors you like. You can mix them all together according to your taste buds.

2: Method of Smoking Shrimp

There are a few different ways which you can follow to smoke your shrimp. You can either line them up on a pan and let them overlap. This is our least favorite way to smoke shrimp because the butter and the pan do not allow the smoke to evenly touch the surface of the shrimp. In other words, smoke circulation is very limited in a pan.

You can poke them through a skewer and make shrimp kebabs. Make sure you leave some space in between each piece so the smoke has enough space to breathe and the smoke can circulate well.

You could also use a grilling basket which is also an effective method and takes less time as well as you do not have to skewer the shrimps also.

3: Wood to be Used for Smoking

As already stated, wood is one of the most important elements to consider while smoking shrimps. So for easy and quick smoking, it is preferred to use a strong wood like hickory or pecan. You could either use this if you want very strong flavors.

Or you could mix the strong wood with mild woods like cherry or apple to get a tinge of fruity and subtle flavors as well.

4: Dishes to Serve Smoked Shrimp With

  1. You can add smoked shrimp to pasta, spaghetti or noodles.
  2. You can add them to a vegetable salad or even a chicken salad.
  3. You can add them in quesadillas or use smoked shrimp filling for tacos.
  4. You can make some jambalaya or rice dishes and add fresh smoked shrimp for heightened taste.
  5. Lastly, you could also serve smoked shrimp solo as appetizers alongside a dip of choice.

Recipe for Smoked Shrimp

You can smoke the shrimp both peeled or unpeeled. If you are smoking unpeeled shrimp then you can serve them within their shells to be eaten as ‘peel and eat’ alongside a garlic butter dip. And if you are smoking a peeled shrimp, then you can just take them off the smoker and serve fresh.

Either way, make sure you have rubbed them with the marinade before putting them on the smoker so that the juices are retained and the meat does not get too dry. You can serve them with a dip of your choice. Have a look at the recipe and ingredients given below.
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 25 min
  • Servings: 4


Sr. No. Ingredients Quantity
1 Shrimp (Deveined) 1 pound
2 Olive oil infused with garlic 1 tablespoon
3 Sea Salt As per taste
4 Fresh Ground Pepper As per taste
5 Grass Fed Ghee ¼ cup
6 Minced Garlic 1 clove
7 Fresh Basil or Parsley (Minced) 1 tablespoon


  1. Preheat the smoker (or grill) on low heat as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Add wood chips of your choice- oak or hickory (for strong) and apple or cherry (for mild). We recommend a mix of oak and applewood chips.
  3.  Let the smoker reach a temperature of 225 °F.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the spice mix in a bowl- salt, pepper and olive oil, and coat the shrimp. 
  5. Lay the tossed shrimp on the grill in a single layer- do not overlap. Close the lid after the placement. If the shrimps are falling through the lid. You might also have to line the grill with aluminium foil.
  6. Open the lid after 10 min to check if the shrimps are done.
  7. The shrimps will be done in 15 – 20 minutes but make sure to keep checking throughout.
  8. Through the process of smoking also, you can keep coating the shrimp with garlic butter, herbs and salt so that the juices do not dry out.
  9. You can use the remaining garlic butter dip as a sauce to serve alongside smoked shrimps.

Go on and try smoking shrimps, and experiment with herbs and spices according to your taste. Let us know about your smoked shrimp cooking experience in the comments below.

Author: Thomas Shah

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