Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grilled Garlic Thyme Shrimp Kabobs

Grilling season has officially begun; I love this time of year! Grilled ribs, chicken, corn, asparagus, kabobs...the possibilities are endless!  And plus grilling is healthier. There is something wonderful about standing in front of an open flame on a beautiful sunny day, with a glass of iced tea in one hand and tongs in the other. I must admit I do prefer charcoal, for the smoky flavor, but gas is so much easier - no ashes, no lighter fluid - you only have to make sure that your propane tank is not empty.   
This past week I fired up the grill and made garlic thyme shrimp kabobs. I used my favorite go-to marinade recipe; a garlic thyme marinade recipe adapted from a recipe I found several years ago in the Washington Post.  It’s quick, easy and can be used on chicken, beef and shrimp.

A marinating tip…..Marinades do not tenderize meat because marinades do not penetrate the meat very deeply, and, therefore, are better for adding flavor. Marinating shrimp is not the same as marinating beef or chicken.  Shrimp should be marinated no longer than 1 hour and much less especially if the marinade contains high levels of an acidic ingredient. The acid in the marinade will begin to cook the shrimp; changing its texture. According to Cooks Illustrated, if marinated too long, a marinade containing acidic ingredients like vinegar, yogurt, citrus juice and buttermilk will turn the outer layer of meat (beef, pork, chicken, seafood) mushy and not tender, or even cause the meat to dry out. To avoid this, minimize the use of acidic ingredients and/or marinate for shorter periods of time.  This recipe only contains a small amount of balsamic vinegar and therefore marinating the shrimp for an hour will not affect the texture.

Grilled Garlic Thyme Shrimp Kabobs
  • 1 pound of raw deveined and shelled shrimp
  • Garlic Thyme Marinade (see recipe below)
  • Bamboo or metal skewers
  1. In a ziploc bag, marinate shrimp 1 hour in marinade, flipping the bag several times so the marinade distributes evenly. 
  2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water 30 minutes in advance. If using metal skewers, brush with oil or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Thread shrimp onto skewers.
  4. Grill kabobs on a preheated grill for 3 minutes on each side or until pink.
Garlic Thyme Marinade
Update 5/15/2013

Makes 1/2 cup
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves (may substitute 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped). You can also use rosemary, oregano or marjoram.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together the garlic, thyme, sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and oil in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 1 week).

Note: This recipe makes enough marinade for 1 pound of meat.

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