Grilled Jalapeño and Lime Shrimp

Gluten-Free, Grilling, Latin, Main Courses, Seafood / Friday, June 22nd, 2012

This weekend, we have absolutely nothing to do (knock on wood), and I could not be happier.

It’s not that I don’t love to go out – the Nashville Crawfish Boil, especially, was epic – but Jeff and I are long overdue for a good lazy weekend.

Sleeping in.

Naked “X-Files” Marathon.

Probably some homemade ice cream. Definitely some grilling.

The thing about grilling for two is that it usually takes more time to prep the grill (if you’re using charcoal) than to actually cook your food, so we try to throw some quick-cooking things on the grill while the “main event” meat is resting. Sometimes that’s a side, Mexican grilled corn or veggie kebabs. Sometimes it’s a pack of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs. But when I have a flash of genius, I get these Grilled Jalapeño and Lime Shrimp Skewers ready to go.

The great thing about this recipe is that your jalapeño-lime mixture does double-duty as a marinade and a finishing sauce. You blend it in the food processor and then separate it into two bowls – one for marinating your raw shrimp, the other for tossing your cooked shrimp in the rest of the sauce.

Even with the double-dose of jalapeño, the shrimp really doesn’t get very spicy, so if you want more heat, be sure to add another pepper or some extra cayenne.

Also, be sure to use 14-inch flat metal skewers when you thread the shrimp. The first time I made these, I grabbed some wooden skewers we already had, and they were fine until Jeff had to flip the shrimp on the grill.

Not pretty.

They spun until the tails pointed in every direction and the kebabs looked like rock candy. Made of meat.

We usually eat at least one of these along with our burgers – think “redneck surf n’ turf” – but they make a really delicious main dish. When we have leftovers, I like to use them to make shrimp tacos or toss them into a big salad.

But this weekend, I’m thinking about leaving them on the skewers and brushing on the finishing sauce. Perfect sustenance for a Naked “X-Files” Marathon.

Grilled Jalapeño and Lime Shrimp Skewers

To make it easier to flip your shrimp, use 14-inch flat metal skewers.

Slightly adapted from “Cook’s Country” (June/July 2007)

Serves 4


  • 1 t0 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime, plus 5 tablespoons juice (from 3 limes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (1 to 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. For the Marinade: Measure the marinade ingredients into the food processor, and process until smooth. Set aside 2 tablespoons of marinade. Transfer the rest to a large bowl.
  2. For the Shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, and butterfly them. (Make a shallow cut along the outside curve of the shrimp to open them up a little.)
  3. Toss the shrimp into the large bowl with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. To Prep the Grill: Fill a chimney grill starter with charcoal briquettes. Light them, and let them burn until the coals are gray. Pour the coals into a pile on one side of grill. Set your cooking grate in place, close the grill, and let it heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, thread the marinated shrimp onto skewers, alternating the direction of each shrimp. (You should get 10 to 12 shrimp on each skewer.)
  6. Sprinkle sugar on one side of the shrimp skewers.
  7.  Grill the shrimp sugar-side down over the hot part of the grill until lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Flip skewers, and move them to cool side of grill. Close lid and let rest until other side of shrimp is no longer translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Using tongs, slide shrimp into a clean bowl, and toss with the 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade. (Or, if you want to serve the shrimp on the skewers, brush on the marinade.) Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) – calories: 208, fat: 12g, carbs: 4.7g, fiber: 0g, protein: 20.5g, PP+ = 5

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