Advice needed: Grilling Prawns

I’m about ot grill some xhicken, and my wife just came home with some Jumbo Prawns. I’ve nver grilled prawns, anybody got some advice? These stil have there shells if that matters.

Yes. Leave the shells on! Some people disagree with this, but they help hold in the juices, in case you leave them on the grill too long. They actually need very little cooking time. We don’t get prawns on the East Coast, so I’m guessing, based on shrimp, but probably 3 or 4 minutes on the first side, and 2 or 3 on the second side. It depends on how jumbo they really are and how hot the fire is. I assume they turn pink, like shrimp, when they’re cooked, so at least you can judge by the color.

Do I need to prepare them some way or should I put them directly on the grill, I also have skewers if that helps. They’re about 5 inches pretty big IMHO.

Marinading in a mix of lime juice and EV olive oil, with some salt, pepper, chilli and ginger is good, but not necessary. Grilling, however, can dry prawns out quite quickly.

Otherwise, high heat and a short time, or they’ll dry out. Skewer them if you want them straight - if you don’t, they’ll curl when you cook them.

Try marinading them in a margarita mix next time. Someone suggested this to me not too long ago, and WOW!

I did it virgin, not sure how alcohol would affect the cooking.

Any way you do it, though, you are in for a treat. Be sure and give your wife a big sloppy kiss.

What is the difference between prawns and shrimp anyway? I always thought that “shrimp” was just what yanks referred prawns as. Is there a difference in the two? Freshwater “prawns” are referred to as “yabbies” here.


BigNik, in terms of marinating, what’s considered a good length of time for prawns? I’ve heard shorter times are needed for shellfish versus longer times for items such as beef or the like.

NoClueBoy, interesting idea about the margarita mix. I can’t wait to try that one.

Depends on all sorts of things, but the main two are how much you trust your providore and how strong you want the flavours.

In a mild marinade, you might consider leaving them overnight as long as you trust the guy you bought them from implicitly. If there’s an outside chance they may not have been caught that morning, don’t do this.

In a stronger marinade, especially one with chilli (thai, not jalapeno, please - sambal olek works well), a couple of hours should do.

Naturally, only marinade green prawns, not cooked prawns.

And everyone should know this, but it surprises me that there are people who don’t. Double-wrap the shells in plastic bags and freeze them until garbage night. If you don’t put the prawns in the garbage until then, they won’t start to stink.

A half hour in the marinade’s fine. And try lemon juice and olive oil, with plenty of salt and freshly-ground pepper. That’s how they do 'em in Rome.

And yes, high heat and very fast cooking. 1-2 minutes on a side should be enough.

I was under the impression that the yanks called yabbies “crawfish”. Anyone care to confirm one way or the other?

I just toss 'em on the grill (Carefully! You don’t want them falling through :)). The skewers will help keep them straight, as someone said.

Marinating won’t do much good (or harm) if you’re going to cook them in the shells. If you really want to marinate them, shell them first. But, be aware that any acidic ingredients in the marinade will “cook” them, to some degree. It can also make them mushy, so don’t overdo it. You’ll need to decrease the time on the grill, slightly.

There isn’t much difference between shrimp and prawns. My impression has always been that prawns are a different species and bigger than, say, Gulf Shrimp, but that may be in error, based on the quote below. As I said, I’m on the US East Coast, and I’ve never seen anything called a prawn. I can’t honestly say whether we get the same species, but it’s called by a different name, or not. I know Black Tiger Shrimp are sometimes called Black Tiger Prawns, but not around here.

Interestingly, at least if you’re a big enough geek, some people are now raising freshwater prawns here in the US. They are considered an exotic species, here, but it wasn’t clear from the websites I saw exactly which species they’re raising. Our native freshwater species are collectively known as crayfish, crawdads, or one of several other local names, such as mudbugs. They don’t generally get big enough to be what Stuffy described.

The terminology is confusing, though, even to those in the trade, because there are no real rules. From

I don’t really agree with that last part, because, not only are about 2 dozen species sold commercially, some of them aren’t even in the same genus. But, for cooking purposes, it works.

I would just add be careful not to overcook or they will dry out - as soon as they have changed colour they’re done!

BigNik, your tip about freezing the shells depends on the weather - I used to do that when I first moved to London but soon realised that most of the year they freeze outside anyway…

And thank you Tony Barber’s Underwear (that conjures up a horrendous vision, by the way) for giving me a yabby craving. Damn.

(lame wisecrack coming up)

Let them sit in their cell for two days. Wake them up in the middle of the night, shine 3 bright lights in their beady little eyes, and keep saying “So why’d ya do it? We know ya did. Hey, anybody woulda. Just tell us and this’ll all be over. Y’know, my shift is over in an hour. Bruno takes over from me, and he’s an a***uck, you know what I mean?”