Grilled Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: Simple, Tasty, Perfect

November 24, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The secret to a perfect bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer is to precook the bacon to prevent your shrimp from overcooking as the bacon is grilling. Shrimp cooks in approximately eight minutes tops while bacon easily takes a little over ten minutes to get to a crisp doneness.

For the last decade, I have been making this dish as a choice appetizer for every cookout and I must admit it is one of my family's favorite bitings before the main course is ready.

In this article, I have outlined the best and simplest recipe you can follow to make a perfect round of grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp. I will also answer some of the common questions I have received on how best to cook this dish. Let's get to work.

grilled bacon wrapped shrimp

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Recipe

Ingredients

  • 16 - 20 large or jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 8 - 10 slices of thin-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or cayenne pepper
  • Wood or metal skewers
  • Small kitchen brush

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut the bacon slices into long halves and place the slices on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet or parchment paper. For the best results, thin-cut bacon is better than thick-cut bacon since it wraps better and takes a shorter time to cook.
  • Place the bacon in the oven for five to eight minutes to precook the bacon. The goal is not to cook it until it is done but until it is pliable enough to wrap around the shrimp.
  • Alternatively, you can fire up your grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the bacon slices. Partially allowing them to render but not cook till ready.
  • Remove the half-cooked bacon slices and place them on a tray lined with a paper towel to get rid of some of that fat.
  • In a medium bowl, put the half cup of olive oil or melted butter. Keep in mind that salted butter may add too much salt to the overall flavor of the dish since bacon contains salt and the kosher salt will also be used here.
  • Add the kosher salt black pepper or cayenne pepper then stir the mixture.
  • Place the deveined shrimp on a flat tray and using the kitchen brush, slather this mixture onto the shrimp making sure to get each one of them generously.
  • Use your fingers or a pair of tongs to turn them onto the opposite side and coat them with this olive oil mixture evenly.
  • Now they are ready for wrapping in bacon.
Woman Wrapping Bacon in Shrimp Slices
  • Wrap each shrimp in a half slice of bacon. Start the wrap at the end of the shrimp and overlap the bacon strips along the length of the shrimp leaving out the tail if it is still attached.
  • Secure the wrap by skewering the bacon-wrapped shrimp with your skewers. I prefer metal skewers simply because they are practical and I will not have to concern myself with possible flare-ups when grilling. They also last years compared to wood skewers which need to be replaced ever so often.
  • Wood skewers or toothpicks are also great but I would recommend soaking them in water for at least 15 minutes before using them just to be on the safe side since grilling involves direct heat over an open fire that could light up wood or at least char it.
  • If you use toothpicks, you will need a pair of tongs for turning the bacon-wrapped shrimp over while grilling.
  • Fire up your grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place your bacon-wrapped shrimp skewers to cook. It takes about eight minutes to grill shrimp to optimal readiness so turn them over at the halfway mark or after four minutes. Any longer and you may overcook the shrimp and char the bacon.
  • The partially cooked bacon only needs to cook to full readiness since it was already precooked
  • When you have crispy bacon then your grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp is done. It's really that easy!

What is the Best Temperature for Grilling Bacon Wrapped Shrimp?

The best temperature for grilling bacon-wrapped shrimp is a high of 400 - 450 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the wrapped shrimp should cook for a maximum of four minutes on either side or until the grilled shrimp appears white and opaque.

The exact time depends on the size of the shrimp but a total of eight minutes should leave you with a tender juicy shrimp as well as a crispy bacon. Fast and high heat is the way to go with this delicacy.

Any lower and you risk cooking bacon-wrapped shrimp for too long which would dry out the wrapped shrimp and overcook the partially cooked bacon making it dry and rubbery.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimps on the Grill

What is the Best Method for Grilling Shrimp?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that shrimp is delicate and cooks really fast. It takes but a minute of overcooking to turn tender shrimp into rubbery unpleasant meat. Here is a simple fast recipe that works particularly well with jumbo shrimp.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium, large, or jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or black pepper
  • Lemon slices

Instructions

  • If your shrimp is frozen make sure it is completely thawed out before cooking it.
  • Heat up your grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a mixing bowl, pour the olive oil or butter and mix in the kosher salt and pepper of your choice.
  • Place your shrimp on a flat tray and using a kitchen brush, slather the oil or butter mixture all over the raw shrimp.
  • Turn over your shrimp and apply the mixture generously over the other side. The shrimp is ready for grilling.
  • Skewer the shrimp preferably using metal skewers since this will make the shrimp a lot easier to maneuver on the grill. If you don't have skewers, use a heavy-base metal skillet to panfry your shrimp.
  • Place the shrimp on your grill and let it cook for 5 minutes on each side or until the shrimp is an opaque white color. The exact time may vary depending on the size of the shrimp.
  • Do not let the shrimp stay on the grill longer than this or it will overcook and lose its succulence and flavor. Remove shrimp and serve hot with lemon wedges for a nice citrus seasoning.

What Can I Serve With Bacon Wrapped Shrimp?

This is really a matter of preference since bacon-wrapped shrimp can be enjoyed with many dips, sauces, and side dishes. Since you are hosting a backyard BBQ, a simple BBQ sauce should pair very well with bacon-wrapped shrimp.

You can make your own or try Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce. I would also recommend Traeger Que BBQ Sauce, a tried and tested hickory-flavored sauce that always knocks my socks off!

Do not restrict yourself here. Try out as many brands as you would like till you land on the perfect pairing.

Guacamole is also a great spread to serve with grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp. The fresh ingredients included in guacamole will provide an interesting counter flavor to the taste of grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp.

Cheesy grits, lemon rice, and pasta with steamed broccoli are also dishes that can be paired well with grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp if you are making it for dinner.

Bacon-wrapped shrimp is a very easy plate to pair and can be served with just about any other dish on your menu. The options are only limited by your imagination.

Mexican Style Bacon Wrapped Shrimps

Do You Grill Shrimp Peeled or Unpleeled?

This is up to you. Most people do not eat the shells as a preference and I belong to this group.

However, if you prefer to consume the shells as well, they are perfectly safe for consumption if the shrimp is well-cooked. Additionally, shrimp shells contain glucosamine which strengthens bones and connective tissue in humans.

That said shrimp wrapped in bacon is best cooked without the shells to avoid having to cook the shrimp too long to get the perfect doneness. The shells may force you to leave bacon-wrapped shrimp to cook for longer and in such a case the thin-cut bacon may overcook and become unpleasantly dry.

Remember it only takes as little as a minute or two to overcook this dish so if you are grilling plain shrimp then the shells can stay in place but for bacon-wrapped shrimp, I would strongly recommend peeling the shrimp.

Can I Grill Uncooked Shrimp?

Absolutely!

It's worth noting that "raw" and "uncooked" shrimp are often used interchangeably to describe shrimp that hasn't been previously cooked.

For the given recipe, you'll want to purchase raw shrimp. Grilling at 400 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for raw shrimp, but precooked shrimp would become overly dry at this temperature.

If you have precooked shrimp, it merely requires a brief warming, making it perfect for dishes like shrimp salad, rather than direct grilling.

As I Pen Off...

Grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp is a delicious crowd-pleasing appetizer and one of my favorite party foods. It is ridiculously easy to prepare and cook and is easily everyone's choice snack. Remember, all you have to do is to precook the bacon so it does not keep the shrimp on the grill longer than it has to.

Keep an eye on your bacon-wrapped shrimp as it grills and don't let it stay longer than it needs to else you overcook the shrimp.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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