Peel and Eat Shrimp With Spicy Cocktail Sauce

"For all of the Alton Brown turkey brine fans out there, this is Mr. Brown's brine for shrimp cocktail. I personally like to add a few extra spices to my brine, which are listed above, but I've posted his original brine as he made it on his show. Ever since I found this recipe, its become ONLY way I ever make peel and eat shrimp cocktail. The shrimp come out so moist, and full of flavor!"
photo by the-cat-did-it photo by the-cat-did-it
photo by the-cat-did-it
Ready In:




  • Mix ingredients for your brine, be sure that all the salt and sugar are completely dissolved before adding shrimp or other spices (very important!) Place shrimp into a bowl with brine, add whatever extra you choose, and refrigerate for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Don't go any longer or they will start to become a bit too salty.
  • While shrimp are brining, place tomatoes, chili sauce, horseradish, sugar, pepper, and salt in food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate cocktail sauce until ready to serve.
  • Place a baking sheet covered with foil on broiler pan under oven broiler and preheat for 5 minutes.
  • (My boiler is small and awkward. When making larger batches of this, I've put the shrimp onto the top shelf of my oven on its highest setting).
  • Remove shrimp from brine and drain thoroughly.
  • Rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove the brine and dry on paper towels- important step, do not skip it!
  • In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil, (I use a mister to coat them evenly) and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning, if desired.
  • Place shrimp onto the heated sheet pan and return to broiler immediately.
  • After 2 minutes, check your shrimp.
  • They should be truning slightly pink and the meat should be separating from where they were deveined.
  • Turn the shrimp with a pair of tongs.
  • Return the shrimp to broiler for 1 minute.
  • Transfer shrimp to a cool bowl or cookie sheet and refrigerate immediately.
  • Once shrimp have chilled, serve with cocktail sauce.
  • These shrimp are great served warm right from the oven too.
  • I usually can't wait until they chill before I eat them!

Questions & Replies

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  1. Quick, Easy and delicious... I won't go back to precooked shrimp.
  2. Delicious and easy to make! Love this recipe. I didn't add any extra spices today but I will definitely making this recipe again and will try some of the optional extras. Can't imagine this being any better though. Thanks for posting.
  3. Just wonderful! Thanks for posting, This is a keeper.
  4. This was WONDERFUL!! I will definately make this again. It was a HUGE hit at my 4th of July Party.
  5. I was not raised on seafood. I have yet--at least until now--to acquire a taste for it. I try to suffer through an occasional fish or shrimp dish because they're supposed to be good for you. The only way I've ever been able to stomach shrimp is peel 'n' eat with a large glass of wine. So yesterday, when presented at the store with cooked and ready-to-eat peel 'n' eat versus uncooked but fairly locally wild caught, I tried to be one of the new generation of upstanding folks who value local and wild-caught. (It didn't hurt that it was less expensive.) Holy Moses, am I glad I took on the dare to myself to cook the shrimp. Let me just say that if you are a peel 'n' eat shrimp sort of person, do not go near the already ready to eat stuff. This surpasses it by miles. And miles. What a difference! I must confess, I already had a cocktail sauce prepared from a previous recipe, so I used that, but I cannot wait to give this one a try. All I know is this: If you are new to or leery of seafood (in this case peel 'n' eat shrimp), TAKE THE TIME AND EFFORT TO COOK YOUR OWN SHRIMP! It makes a world of difference. Edit: I forgot to add (in all my excitement) that the only things I used in the brine were the salt, sugar, two cloves of crushed garlic, a splash of lemon juice and the water and ice.


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