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There are many variations on this basic grilled shrimp recipe. I encourage you to adjust the spices according to your taste as well as add or substitute your favorite 'hot' spices. After all, any recipe is merely a suggestion! This recipe works equally well on the grill or under an oven broiler.
Combine the liquid ingredients in the bowl in which you will use to marinate the shrimp. Make sure you have enough 'extra' room to stir/toss the shrimp in the marinate.
Chop the cilantro and garlic and add to the marinate mixture. Add the dry spices and stir thoroughly.
Put the bamboo skewers to soak. I like to use the 6" size because they make a good serving portion, holding five shrimp.
If you are trying to do some work ahead of your party, pause here. Refrigerate the marinate for later. You don't want to over marinate the shrimp!
Place the shrimp in the marinate sauce and stir around, so that each shrimp is coated with marinate. Put the bowl back in the refrigerator and stir about once every 30 minutes [very approximate]. You should leave the shrimp in for 30 minutes, but not longer than 2 hours. Marinating longer will begin to dry out the shrimp, because the lime juice is 'cooking' it.
Compare the two pictures below. The one on the left is from the start of the process, the one on the right is after 2 hours of marinating. Notice the shrimp that have been marinating for a while appear to have a white color around the edges. This is caused by the lime juice [citric acid] 'cooking' the shrimp. This is similar to the process for preparing ceviche. And like ceviche, there is a time frame in which marinating stops being a good thing.
Background info: If you took the shot of tequila, you can probably skip to the next section and not follow these two reference links. This article goes into detail about the marination process and what happens over time. And if that reference wasn't technical enough for you, this one describes the denaturation effect lime juice has on the fish protein molecules.[back to top]
Very carefully watch the amount of time you leave the shrimp on the grill or under the broiler. Overcooking will make the shrimp tough and chewy. Since the shrimp has already been 'cooked' by the lime juice, the amount of 'heat' cooking time in minimal. 2-3 minutes at most per side. It may be hard to tell on the skewered shrimp, but remember the 'C' and 'O' rule for cooking shrimp -- when the shrimp curls slights to form a 'C' it is cooked. If you wait until it forms an 'O', it is overcooked!
It is far better to take the shrimp off the grill a little sooner than you think to test one rather than waiting too long and having an entire batch of overcooked shrimp.
And don't worry about leftover. They are great the next day!