Many people don't like Shellfish. We can understand why as well. If not cooked properly, Shellfish can give you a bad tummy. Even Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom does not eat shellfish for that reason. But maybe if her private chefs made shellfish the right way, there wouldn't be any problem and she can then enjoy the best seafood one can ever have!
Unfortunately, we doubt the Queen will read our guide to grilling shellfish. But there's no stopping you from doing so!
With our guide, you can make shellfish so good that you wouldn't be able to go a week without having them! We also promise you no stomach problems and especially no diarrhea after eating our grilled shellfish! So what are we waiting for? Let's get started to grill some Shellfish!
Why should we grill Shellfish?
Let's first understand what shellfish essentially is. The simplest way to break it down is this: any seafood that is invertebrate ( without spine) and comes with a shell is a shellfish. This includes Oysters, Shrimps, Lobsters, Clams, and Mussels.
So now that we have explained what shellfish is, let's tell you why they are best eaten grilled. The answer is simple: grilling is the perfect way to know your shellfish is cooked thoroughly.
People who complain of getting a bad stomach and repeated trips to the toilet after eating shellfish often have it in an undercooked condition. Maybe they had shellfish that was boiled or cooked in a stew that wasn't hot enough. Either way, it gave you diarrhea because it just wasn't cooked right.
Grilling will ensure that your Shellfish is cooked all the way through thanks to its high heat temperature. The worst-case scenario in grilling shellfish is that you might end up with an overcooked or burnt shellfish, which in hindsight is way better than undercooked shellfish.
Another reason to grill shellfish is the wonderful flavors you end up with. Grilled shellfish tastes sweet and smoky with a charred flavor.
It will also melt easily in your mouth compared to any other method of cooking shellfish. The natural fire just has something magical inside it which brings out the best in a shellfish. If you want to experience this magic, then let's get started on how to grill shellfish!
Steps to Grilling Shellfish
The first step is to prepare your Shellfish. We suggest you leave the shell on, as the shell would protect the delicate meat inside and also keep it moist by not letting the intense heat of the grill dry it out.
Now here comes the tricky part, as Shellfish come in different varieties and all need their own special care. Don't worry, we'll go through every kind of Shellfish out there to make sure you get it right for each one of them!
If you're working with Shrimps then make sure you get those jumbo-sized ones. Get at least sixteen to twenty of them for the grill, as there's no point grilling a small batch of Shrimps. Try these Grilled Shrimp Skewers
With your big and plump Shrimps in hand, all that is left is for you to devein them inside their shells. After this rinse them under cold water to get all the residue out and pat them with paper towels to thoroughly dry them.
Toss these prepped shrimps in olive oil and season them appropriately with Kosher salt.
Lobsters can be scary to work with for many home cooks but don't worry, we got you. But first of all, make sure the Lobster is already dead before you cook it. How to kill it quickly and humanely?
Place your lobster in chilled salted water brine to stun it. Then take your cleaver knife and crack it along its midline on the underside of its body. And there you go, you have a very dead lobster. Now you're ready to grill your whole Lobster.
Or if you want to go the easy way, just buy frozen Lobster tails from the market. Run them under cold water to thaw them, dry them out with paper towels and they're ready to go over the grill!
Clams, Mussels, and Oysters
Clams, Mussels, and Oysters are family similar in anatomy, and hence have a similar method of preparation for all of them. Always buy them in bulk as a few of them just might not open over the grill.
To clean them use a brush to scrub them and rinse with cool water. Mussels can have beards, and you have to remove them before rinsing. Pat your shellfish dry and they're ready to go on the grill!
Surprisingly, grilling is the easiest part of this guide. Get your grill up in high heat and place your Shellfish on the grill.
Next, cover the grill so that all the heat gets locked in and your shellfish get cooked from inside and out.
This will also cook your Shellfish faster and avoid getting its soft meat becoming tough like rubber. You should also keep in mind that each type of Shellfish has its own cooking time.
● Oysters and mussels take 5 minutes to open up on the grill. Mussels take 10 minutes. If they don't open up in this time frame then throw them away.
● Grill shrimp on each side for around thirty seconds to a minute until the outer skin is opaque and caramelized.
● A whole lobster that is inside its shell will take ten minutes to cook thoroughly. Grill your lobster until its shell is bright red and juices are dripping from it.
Now it's time to serve your perfectly grilled shellfish! They don't require excess seasoning or spices, as they'll just ruin the naturally sweet flavor of your shellfish. Just a squirt of lemon is perfect. You can also pair up the shellfish with a sauce that goes great with shellfish! We suggest tartare sauce for your shellfish, as its creamy zestiness will go great with the charred sweet flavor of the grilled shellfish!
If you're still confused about grilling shellfish, then don't worry as we'll answer some quick questions that people often have when it comes to grilling shellfish!
Should I use Charcoal or Gas for my Grill?
This is the age-old question when it comes to grilling. Is gas better or charcoal? Well, we're sorry al-fresco fans but nothing can beat the charred flavor that comes from a charcoal grill! Not to mention, the fat drips from your shellfish onto the charcoal which then evaporates into smoke, which again gets absorbed back by the shellfish, giving it a unique smoky flavor that a gas grill just cannot achieve. So yes, if you want the full grill experience, go with charcoal!
Will Lobster actually feel pain if I cook it alive?
Yes, it will feel pain. Research has shown that any creature with a developed neurology system can feel pain. Lobster is one such creature and hence capable of feeling pain when it's cooked alive. Just because it doesn't scream, doesn't mean it cannot feel it! The most humane way to cook lobster is to first stun it by placing it in cold salty water and then kill it quickly with a strike on its underside.
Shellfish is good for your health, and you should definitely include it in your diet. One of the most healthy and safest ways of consuming shellfish is by grilling it. And let us tell you, nothing can beat the succulent sweet and charred flavor of grilled Shellfish.
It's also so incredibly easy to make that even a mediocre cook can manage it! So get your grill out and start experimenting with shellfish!
You can keep it simple and just squirt lemon or go completely crazy and make grilled cheesy oysters! It's totally up to you once you have mastered the basics given by this guide!