Cider Brined and Smoked Shrimp Cocktail

Cider Brined and Smoked Shrimp Cocktail
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on Pinterest

If you’re reading this, you aren’t a seasonal griller who packs everything up by Labor Day. No, you’re the kind of person who grills year round. What better time to grill than on New Year’s Eve? I realize throughout most of the U.S., it’s really cold on New Year’s Eve, but standing next to the hot grill feels amazing (unlike during the dog days of summer when it’s 98 degrees outside with 90 percent humidity).

Is there a more iconic New Year’s Eve appetizer than a shrimp cocktail? I’m not talking about thawing out some shrimp, opening a bottle of cocktail sauce and calling it a day. I’m talking about shrimp brined in apple cider and then alder smoked. This isn’t you’re momma’s shrimp cocktail.

Warning: This will ruin all other shrimp cocktails for the rest of your life. I warned you.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients:

  • Shrimp
  • Apple cider
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Minced garlic
  • Grilling planks
  • BBQ Rub
  • Cocktail sauce

The star of this show is the shrimp:

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 004

What size shrimp to use is up to you. I don’t recommend going tiny, but the giant ones will break the bank. I tend to go for the medium to medium large. Something in the U25-35 range. All that means is that you get 25-35 shrimp per pound.

Time to give these shrimp a brine bath. Grab some apple cider (apple juice will work as well) and a couple cloves of garlic.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 015

How much cider or juice? It depends on how many shrimp you are going to make. The ratio is 1 gallon of cider per 1 cup of salt. So if all you need is a quart of cider to submerge all the shrimp in liquid then a quarter cup of salt is all you need to transfer the sweetness of the cider to the shrimp.

As for the garlic amount, again totally up to you. For that many shrimp (2/3 of a pound) I used one clove, but then I’m only grilling enough shrimp to show you how to do this. I’m not grilling for a crowd.

Add some white pepper to the brine, mix it all together in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge for 2-12 hours. If you’ve only got a couple hours, then up the salt by 50 percent.

The next day, bust out the grilling planks. I used alder for this recipe, but you can use maple, cherry and the oh-so-popular cedar. Soak the planks in water for an hour. While they are soaking get the shrimp out of the brine and seasoned up.

Pour the brine out and dump the shrimp into a bowl lined with paper towels. Blot off the moisture and then dust the shrimp with your favorite BBQ rub. I used a Cajun seasoning.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 052

Here’s a close up. As you can see, I didn’t go nuts with the rub, just a light dusting. I want the seasoning to compliment the brine and the smoke, not overpower it.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 058

When the hour is almost up, head outside and spark up the grill. For this I used my Char-Broil TRU Infrared Grill2Go portable gas grill. I love this grill so much that I actually own two of them. And I realize I said I was going to smoke the shrimp and that I said gas grill. Trust me, you can absolutely smoke on a gas grill.

Take the plank(s) out of the water, place them on a hot grill and close the lid for three minutes. Then flip the plank over and place the shrimp on the plank.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 080

Pro Tip ~ Notice how I intertwined the shrimp together in pairs? By placing them on the plank like this, they will insulate each other and slow down the cooking process. That means they will absorb more of that smoky flavor before they’re done. Now close the lid and wait for the magic.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 124

Voila! You have an instant smoker!

You will notice some liquid escaping the shrimp. Since we brined them, the loss of liquid is less than if they had not been brined and thus the shrimp will be juicier.

The shrimp only need about 5-8 minutes of smoke, depending on the heat of your grill. After that, place them on the grill grates to get some quick grill marks. This will make the shrimp not only look better, but taste better as well.

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 144

Rinse and repeat for as many shrimp as you plan on serving. Then take the shrimp inside, toss them in a plastic bag or some sort of container and store them in the fridge until your guests arrive.

Put the sauce in a martini glass, add the shrimp, uncork the champagne, make some confetti out of notebook paper like I did here and ring in the New Year!

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail - 184

Cider Brined, Smoked Shrimp Cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: -

Serving Size: -

Calories per serving: -

Fat per serving: -

This is not your mother's shrimp cocktail. Be warned. This will ruin all other shrimp cocktail recipes you will ever have.

Ingredients

  • Shrimp
  • Apple cider
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Minced garlic
  • Grilling planks
  • BBQ rub
  • Cocktail sauce

Instructions

  1. Put the shrimp, cider, salt, pepper and garlic in a resealable plastic bag and brine for 2-12 hours.
  2. The next day, soak the grilling plank(s) in water for an hour.
  3. Remove the shrimp from the brine and blot dry with paper towels.
  4. Dust with your favorite BBQ rub.
  5. Set the grill to high heat, place the soaked plank on the grill and close the lid for three minutes.
  6. Flip the plank over, place the shrimp on the planks in pairs in a pinwheel fashion.
  7. Smoke for 5-8 minutes and then finish with a sear.
  8. Place shrimp in the fridge until guests arrive.
  9. Pour cocktail sauce into a martini glass and put the shrimp around the rim.

Notes

The amount of brine depends on how many shrimp you are smoking. The ratio is 1 gallon of cider per 1 cup of salt. So if all you need is a quart of cider to submerge all the shrimp in liquid then a quarter cup of salt is all you need to transfer the sweetness of the cider to the shrimp.

The garlic is totally up to you. For 2/3 of a pound I used one clove.

http://www.charbroil.com/community/cider-brined-smoked-shrimp-cocktail-recipe/

Leave a Reply


Please prove that you are not a robot. *