Margarita Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Margarita Grilled Shrimp Skewers are loaded with flavor and charred to perfection. An easy grilled shrimp recipe that promises to be the star of your summertime grilling!
The Best Grilled Shrimp Recipe
This post features two of my very favorite things in our summer backyard world:
- Flavorful grilled jumbo shrimp, charred to perfection.
- A refreshing homemade margarita in a glass rimmed with course salt. Here’s my favorite classic margarita recipe.
Blake and I have gotten the grilled shrimp method down to perfection, so they’ve turned into a regular craving of mine. I can never get enough of those delectable shrimp!
Is this a Main Course or an Appetizer?
One of the best things about this recipe is how easy it is to customize. Fancy a shrimp dinner? Use larger skewers. Want to make a simple shrimp appetizer? Use small skewers. We make this recipe with smaller appetizer-sized skewers, larger meal-sized skewers, and without any skewers at all – every method is a winner! We like these short skewers for creating appetizers, and these long skewers for meal-sized portions.
Here are a few more grilled seafood recipes I’m loving right now: Blake makes an awesome Sweet and Smoky Grilled Salmon. This Grilled Chipotle-Orange Salmon has also been a favorite around here, and it’s so pretty! Also check out these Grilled Lobster Tails with Sriracha Butter and my 5-Pepper Bloody Mary with Grilled Jalapeño Shrimp!
The marinade for this grilled shrimp recipe comes together easily with these ingredients. I bet you have nearly all of these items on hand already – the only thing I usually need to pick up is a fresh jalapeno!
For the shrimp marinade:
- Olive oil
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh jalapeno
- Brown sugar
- Smoked paprika
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
For the shrimp skewers:
- Extra Jumbo shrimp: I use raw, peeled Extra Jumbo-sized shrimp for this recipe. I recommend shrimp labeled “16 to 20 per pound”, also meaning that there are 16 to 20 shrimp in a pound.
- Fresh lime and cilantro: These are optional, but they offer additional flavor at grilling and serving time.
- Tequila: optional. :)
How Do You Choose Shrimp?
Purchase shrimp that looks and smells fresh. Living in Minnesota, we obviously don’t have access to just-caught seafood. We buy shrimp from our local Kowalski’s seafood counter or frozen seafood area. If you purchase shrimp from a seafood counter or fish market, try to use it within a day or two.
How to Grill Shrimp
1. Make the Marinade & Marinate the Shrimp
- Place all of the shrimp marinade ingredients in a small bowl with tall sides.
- I like to use a 2-cup glass measuring cup with spout, so I can easily pour the finished marinade over the shrimp.
- Use an immersion blender to blitz it all together. If you don’t have one, a blender or small food processor works well, too.
- Pour marinade over the shrimp and gently fold to coat evenly. Then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to infuse the shrimp with all that Mexican-flavored goodness.
2. Grill the Shrimp
Shrimp can be grilled with or without skewers. We do it both ways.
- If using skewers, I recommend flat-shaped ones like the ones in my photo above. This will help the shrimp stay put, so they won’t twist and turn on the skewers. Soak the wood skewers in water for at least a couple hours prior to grilling, so they won’t burn up as quickly on the grill.
- If not using skewers, I highly stress the importance of using jumbo shrimp. Smaller shrimp are much more likely to fall between the grill grates when not threaded onto skewers. To grill the shrimp without skewers, you will simply place each individual shrimp onto the hot grill grates. Using a tongs, flip each piece of shrimp over, one by one.
How Long to Cook Shrimp on the Grill
Shrimp does not take long to grill, especially over medium-high heat. Once the shrimp are nicely charred and no longer opaque, they’re done.
- Heat grill to medium-high.
- Clean grill grates well. Then oil the grates.
- Grill shrimp for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Do not overcook.
This will give you shrimp that are perfectly tender and juicy!
My Two Most Important Tips
I’ve gathered up all my very best tips for successful grilled shrimp, margarita-style!
1. Use Jumbo Shrimp
Its large size allows for enough cook time on the grill to give the shrimp some char, without over-cooking the shrimp. Because shrimp cooks up quick!
The larger shrimp cost more per pound, but this is a recipe that’s not worth skimping on. Extra Jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) will give you luscious, tender shrimp with gorgeous char.
Another important benefit is that the larger size helps to ensure that the shrimp won’t fall between the grill grates when grilling without skewers.
This photo gives you a better perspective of what I mean by extra jumbo. They’re HUGE!
2. Marinate Your Shrimp Before Grilling
While I’ll never turn down simple salt-and-pepper seasoned shrimp with a squeeze of fresh lemon…I insist that this margarita marinade is AWESOME.
These grilled margarita shrimp skewers (or kebabs if you prefer!) are marinated in a simple-to-make sauce with flavors you’d find in most any Mexican dish.
I include a splash of tequila for this grilled shrimp marinade’s margarita effect, but you can certainly leave it out if you prefer. This dish is great either way. Just know that the alcohol in the tequila will cause a bit of an initial flare-up on the grill…which isn’t a bad thing. I LOVE that grilled char!
More Tips & Tricks
- Use flat skewers if making shrimp skewers. This will keep the shrimp from twisting on the skewers, which makes them much easier to grill.
- Soak skewers in water if using wood skewers. Soak for at least a couple hours prior to grilling. This won’t prevent them from burning on the grill, but it will definitely help!
- Do not overcook the shrimp. It would be a shame to waste your money and time to only end up with dry, tough shrimp! The goal here is to have gorgeously charred shrimp on the outside that is tender and juicy on the inside.
- Serve shrimp with fresh lime wedges. Limes provide fresh color and an element of lime-squeezing fun. They also elevate the whole margarita shrimp experience. Just trust me. You’ll love it!
We’ve Been Making this Recipe for Years
Blake and I created this gorgeous pile of margarita grilled shrimp when we were visiting my sister’s family in Florida a couple of years ago. Jumbo shrimp had just arrived from Key West and were SO AWESOME GOOD!! A big thank you to my parents, who were also there, and had treated us to fresh Florida seafood that evening. We picked all of the seafood up from Walt’s Fish Market in Sarasota, a favorite place to eat and grab some fresh seafood whenever we’re in the area.
I love how the grill’s heat quickly cooks of the saucy-ness of the marinade, leaving drier bits of spices that cling to the shrimp. The little bits char so beautifully from the bit of brown sugar that’s included in the marinade. This adds so much wonderful texture and flavor!
These 2-piece jumbo shrimp skewers make for super fun appetizers or small plate meals.
You can serve this shrimp so many ways, as both an appetizer and a main course.
Shown in the photo above is white rice. I use a rice cooker for cooking rice. I add the zest and juice of one lime to the water before cooking. Then, when serving, I sprinkle coarse salt, sliced fresh green onions, and chopped cilantro over the top.
Here are a few more Mexican-inspired sides:
- Cowboy Salsa with tortilla chips
- Watermelon Jicama Salsa with tortilla chips
- Grilled Chipotle Orange Salmon
- Taco Salad
- Easy Fish Tacos with Roasted Pineapple
Grilled Shrimp Calls for a Cocktail!
This meal just begs for cold, refreshing margaritas. With the shrimp and its Mexican flavors, and a margarita to wash it down, I am instantly reminiscing about wonderful times spent on the beaches in Mexico.
I’m a huge fan of margaritas. Thus I have a few recipes to share with you!
I already mentioned my favorite Classic Margarita recipe. And here are a few more fun variations:
- Prosecco Margaritas – a fantastic big-batch BUBBLY margarita recipe!
- Pink Lemonade Margarita – Also known as the Pink Senorita Cocktail, this drink is made with lemons rather than the usual limes.
- Orange Margarita – I love all the fresh, juicy orange in this drink!
- Rhubarb Margarita – I love this cocktail for spring and summer entertaining!
- Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita – a bold and spicy cocktail!
Like this shrimp recipe? Save it to Pinterest!
- 1 lb. raw extra jumbo shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. minced jalapeno
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. tequila, optional
- thin slices of fresh lime, if placing shrimp on skewers
- chopped cilantro
- wedges of fresh lime, for squeezing over top of grilled shrimp
- Shrimp can be grilled with or without skewers. If using wood skewers, start soaking them in water.
- Place shrimp in a wide shallow bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl with high sides, combine all ingredients from olive oil through black pepper. Use an immersion blender to completely process until there are no sizable pieces. Or use a food processor or blender. Pour marinade over shrimp and gently stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, folding gently about halfway through.
- Drizzle tequila over the shrimp, if desired, and gently fold to combine. If using skewers, thread shrimp onto skewers, with a folded slice of lime in between shrimp (see skewer photos in post).
- Heat grill to medium-high. Make sure grates are clean, and then oil them well. Set shrimp on grates and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or just until shrimp are no longer opaque and have some nice char. Smaller shrimp will take less time. Place shrimp on a platter and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with fresh lime wedges to squeeze over the top.
If making skewers, create smaller appetizer-sized ones using short skewers (I highly recommend using flat-shaped skewers, as the shrimp won't twist and turn on the skewers!). I make these with 2 shrimp per skewer.
Or create meal-sized portions with long skewers that hold more shrimp.
Or simply grill the shrimp without the skewers. For this method, I highly stress the importance of using large jumbo-sized shrimp, so they don't fall through the grill grates as easily.
from a farmgirl's dabbles
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 1120mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 18g
This post is sponsored by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
Let’s talk about grills!
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery asked if we’d like to review one of their Coyote Outdoor Living grills a few years ago. Our grill was tired and worn out…and the Coyote grills looked awesome, so we didn’t hesitate. Especially since Ferguson is a company we’ve visited and purchased from in the past for home remodeling projects. We already knew we liked working with them.
The grill pictured here in our back yard is a Coyote C-Series 34-Inch 3-Burner. It features durable premium stainless steel construction, 616 square inches of cooking area, and 60,000 BTUs of cooking power.
We love it!
Everything about our Coyote grill is quality through and through.
The grill canopy is double-walled. And I especially like the push-and-turn ignition knobs, used in the exact same way we ignite the gas stove in our kitchen, with no additional ignition button needed. There’s even an interior light for cooking into the night.
Coyote also sent us some great accessories to try. Their heavy-duty Signature Cooking Grates (upper left photo) are made from diamond laser-cut solid stainless steel and weigh almost 10 pounds per grate. They’re hefty! Coyote offers three different styles, each one specifically designed for everything from sturdy cuts of meat to delicate vegetables and fish.
And then there’s the beautiful heavy-duty Drop-In Griddle (lower right photo) that includes a removable grease trap for easy cleaning. This works great for bacon and eggs in the backyard on a lazy summer weekend!
Coyote Asado Smoker photos credit: Coyote Outdoor Living
Be sure to check out all the Coyote grill offerings at your nearest Ferguson Showroom, including this Coyote Asado Smoker.
The Coyote Asado Smoker features:
- Coyote Signature Smoking Grate
- Adjustable venting to maintain precise cooking temperatures
- Smoke, sear, and grill options
- Heat-resistant ceramic construction
- 254 square inches of cooking area
- Lifetime Warranty on ceramics
This post was originally published in 2016, and then updated with some new photos and information in 2020.
This post is sponsored by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. They sent us a Coyote grill for our review and to share about their Summer Grilling Promotion. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this site possible.