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Maybe you’ve mastered burgers, chicken and even ribs on the grill, but how about seafood? We spoke to barbecue expert Rick Browne, author of "The Ultimate Guide to Grilling," and he shared his essential tips for grilling shrimp, lobster, oysters and clams.
How to grill shrimp
Shrimp are quick and easy and great for grilling. You don’t even have to peel them — in fact, it’s better not to, because the shells keep the shrimp moist. Brush fresh shrimp or thawed frozen shrimp with oil and put them directly on a medium-hot oiled grill; cook until just pink and beginning to turn opaque (about two or three minutes), turn and continue to cook until pink and completely opaque (about two or three minutes more).
To serve, try Browne’s Dirty Bag Shrimp: Put shrimp in a paper bag with whatever seasonings you like (garlic, parsley, paprika, salt), shake and serve in the bag (you can do individual bags for each person or one big bag). You’ll need “plenty of napkins,” says Browne.
How to grill lobster
Browne loves grilled lobster even more than boiled. "When you boil lobster," he says, “you are introducing a lot of water into the lobster and you are losing some of the flavor."
Grilling lobster tails: If you’d rather not mess with whole lobsters, you can buy fresh or frozen lobster tails (thaw before cooking); split the tails lengthwise, brush the flesh with oil, and grill meat-side-down first, turning when the shell is bright in color (about five minutes on each side). You’ll know the lobster is done when the flesh is opaque.
Grilling whole lobsters: If you buy live lobsters, Browne recommends first “pithing” it (killing it by severing the spinal cord, as demonstrated in this video from Fine Cooking). Other experts recommend briefly boiling the lobster before grilling it. Once you’ve prepped the lobster, put the whole lobster on the grill and place a rock or brick on the tail so it doesn’t curl when the meat contracts. After cooking about ten minutes, remove the claws from the body and continue to cook the claws for five or six additional minutes.
Serve the lobster with lemon and butter or any other seasonings you’d use on boiled lobsters.
How to grill oysters and clams
Oysters and clams can be cooked directly on the grill in the shell. All shells should be closed before you grill them. Discard any with open shells! Cook over direct heat until the shells open, then pry off the top shell preserving the “liquor” (the liquid inside). Do not force open any shells that do not open on their own.
To serve, drizzle the oysters and clams with butter and any other seasonings you’d like. Browne recommends Worcestershire sauce and white wine.