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Home Cooking

Dry Brined Shell-On Shrimp, Old Bay?

zackly | Nov 18, 201605:31 AM     6

The next six weeks are shrimp cocktail season. Now, I've cooked a lot of shrimp in my life having worked in that industry for almost twenty years. Making great shrimp cocktail is more about using great shrimp rather than any preparation technique. One unequivocal truth I learned is that ALL WILD CAUGHT SHRIMP ARE BETTER THAN ANY FARM RAISED SHRIMP. I've probably sold 100 times more quantity of farm raised Black Tiger & Vannamei White Shrimp than my favorite, readily available shrimp, domestic (USA) whites, browns and pinks. Shell-on shrimp in the US, unlike most of the rest of the world, are generally sold headless. I’ve wet brined shell on shrimp a few times but I don’t notice much difference. The shell limits the penetration of the brine as the only flesh exposed is where the tail is separated from the head. I’m wondering about dry brining, perhaps replacing the salt with Old Bay Seafood Seasoning which has a high salt content. I have a 2# bag of Gulf Brown Shrimp defrosting in the sink that I’m going to cook today. I’d appreciate any thoughts or opinions as this is unfamiliar territory for me. Do you think using Old Bay instead of salt is a good idea? Would you add any additional ingredients to the mix, like baking soda? How long should I leave the brine on the shrimp before cooking? Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

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