Our perfectly grilled shrimp have a clean, sweet shrimp flavor with a nicely charred crust and a plump, juicy texture. I like to stuff them into tender steamed Chinese buns with crunchy toppings, like shredded cabbage and quick homemade pickles, along with a spicy and creamy Sriracha mayonnaise.
Why It Works
- Treating the shrimp with salt and baking soda helps them stay plump and juicy and brown more efficiently as they grill.
- Drying the shrimp out in the refrigerator gives them a jump-start on browning.
- Squeezing the shrimp together on a skewer gives them less surface area, which helps them stay juicier as they cook.
- Tossing them in a garlic- and chili-infused sauce after cooking offers more flavor than a marinade.
- Yield:Makes 12 buns, serving 6 as an appetizer or 3 to 4 as a main course
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:2 hours
- For the Shrimp:
- 24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
- 1 small hot red chili, such as Thai bird, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the Sriracha Mayonnaise:
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha (plus more to taste)
- 5 tablespoons store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lime
- To Assemble:
- 12 Chinese folded steamed buns, steamed in a steamer or in the microwave until tender (see note above)
- 1 recipe Quick-Pickled Cucumbers With Rice Vinegar
- 1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
For the Shrimp: Combine shrimp, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Thread the shrimp onto sets of two skewers, alternating heads to tails and pushing the shrimp so that they are nestled snugly together. Place 6 shrimp on each set of two skewers. Lay skewers on top of a baking dish so that the shrimp are suspended above the bottom of the dish. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine half of garlic and half of oil in a small bowl. Combine remaining garlic, oil, chili, and scallions in a large bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile, for the Sriracha Mayonnaise: Combine Sriracha, mayonnaise, and lime juice in a small bowl and stir. Add more Sriracha until desired level of spiciness is achieved. Cover and refrigerate.
When shrimp are ready to grill, brush both sides with first garlic/oil mixture. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Place shrimp directly over hot side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through and well charred, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer shrimp to a cutting board.
Carefully remove skewers from shrimp and transfer to bowl with garlic/oil/chili/scallion mixture. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
To Assemble: Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of Sriracha mayonnaise on the bottom of each bun. Top with pickles and shredded cabbage. Top with 2 shrimp and close buns. Serve immediately.