Juicy prawns (shrimp) cooked on the grill then coated in a spicy garlic lemon butter sauce. Served with rice or crusty bread, this is a showstopper meal.
If eating unpeeled prawns or shrimp freaks you out, I understand. They look gnarly and weird but BELIEVE ME, you have never tasted anything so delicious. Even more so when the prawns have been grilled before being coated in a garlicky, lemony butter sauce. It’s a very similar experience to eating crawfish (in the USA). They also stay super juicy because the shell acts as a barrier against the fierce heat from the grill. Can you make this in a pan on the stove? 100% But the charred bits and smoky flavor the prawns add to the sauce is so incredibly delicious, I beg of you to at least try this once on the grill.
What are prawns?
Prawns and shrimp are virtually interchangeable when it comes to cooking. The only difference is in their anatomy. Prawns have more claws and their body anatomy is slightly different to that of shrimp.
How to grill shrimp / prawns
Full recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
- Prepare and season: If your prawns haven’t been deveined, use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors and make a long incision down the length of the back then remove the vein. Place in a large bowl then add oil, lemon pepper, cajun spice and salt.
- Make the sauce: To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large pot (the pot needs to be big enough to toss all the prawns in once they are cooked). Add the garlic, lemon juice and spices. Cook for a minutes or two until fragrant then pour in the cream. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You want the sauce to be a little too lemony and very well seasoned. Once the prawns are added, the sauce will mellow a lot in flavor.
- Grill: Cook the prawns on a very hot grill. Flip once you can see them turning coral/orange. They cook very quickly and should only need 5-6 minutes on the grill in total. They are cooked when the flesh is firm and opaque.
- Combine and serve: When they are cooked, remove them from the grill and place in the pot with the sauce. Once all the prawns are in the pot, toss to coat in the sauce. Serve with side dishes of your choice with extra lemon for squeezing.
Steamed basmati or jasmine rice is my number one choice. As you eat, the rice gets coated in the delicious sauce. Crusty bread is also a great option to mop up the buttery sauce. A simple side salad is a nice addition to add some freshness.
How to eat prawns
This is a very hands-on experience but believe me, you won’t regret it. Remove the head and if you’re brave enough, suck out all the juice. I know this sounds bizarre but trust me here. Peel the shrimp and suck the sauce off of the shells. Dip the prawn/shrimp into any sauce pooling on your plate and eat. Sigh with pure pleasure.
Grilled garlic butter prawns
- 1.5 kg (3lbs) shrimp deveined but shell and head on
- 2 tbsp cajun spice
- 1 tbsp lemon pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
For the garlic butter sauce
- 250 g (2 sticks) butter
- 10 garlic cloves crushed
- 3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp cajun spice
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- ½ cup cream (heavy or whipping)
- Combine the prawns with the oil and spices. Mix well to ensure all the prawns are evenly coated.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large pot and add the garlic, lemon juice and spices. Allow to cook for a minute until fragrant then pour in the cream. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. The sauce needs to be a little too lemony and very well seasoned. Once the prawns are added, the sauce will mellow a bit.
- Preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes. Add the prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until they are coral/orange in color. As the prawns are cooked, add them to the pot with the sauce. Once all the prawns have been added, toss to coat the prawns in the sauce.
- Serve over rice or with crusty bread.