Spicy Grilled Shrimp Skewers (Recipe)

This grilled shrimp recipe is the perfect BBQ appetizer to kick start your barbecue. Spicy and sweet, it’ll have your guests coming back for more every time.

spicy shrimp skewers recipe

I originally saw this recipe with a good deal of Thai chili in it. I love spicy food, but that was even a bit too much for my tastes. So I’ve tweaked this recipe and swapped in regular red chili.

Adjust for your personal tastes though, and even consider removing the chili altogether if you’re not a spice fan.

Got a BBQ smoker? Learn how to smoke shrimp with our easy recipe.

spicy shrimp skewers recipe

Should you peel shrimp before grilling?

Shrimp can be peeled before or after grilling, but doing it prior to cooking will give you the best results. It will allow the smoky flavors of your grill to work their way into the flesh of the shrimp better. It will also allow marinade to work its way into the shrimp better, and give you more flavor.

paprika shrimp on bbq grill

How long to marinate shrimp

This will depend on the marinade ingredients you are using. If you are using citrus ingredients such as lemon or lime, just 20-30 minutes should be enough to allow the sharp flavor to cut through. Anything over this risks the acid content of the fruits breaking down the shrimp meat, creating mush.

If you are using non-acidic ingredients, for example garlic, olive oil or thyme, you can marinade for at least an hour.

For this recipe I have used a simple red chili, olive oil and garlic mix, and will leave the shrimp to marinate in it for one hour in the refrigerator.

How to peel and clean shrimp

Start by pulling the legs off the shrimp and the shell should glide off. Some people like to leave the shell around the tail on and intact, but for this recipe I remove it. This will help ensure better penetration from the garlic and olive oil marinade.

Next you need to devein the shrimp. This involves remove the dark thread of digestive tract that runs down the back of each shrimp. If you don’t do this, it’ll have a gritty taste to it and ruin the meat.

Use a sharp paring knife to cut down the back of the shrimp, from head to tail, and then use the knife to lift out the vein. Rinse afterwards to remove any leftover residue.

spicy shrimp skewers recipe
5 from 3 votes

BBQ Grilled Shrimp Skewers

This grilled shrimp recipe is the perfect appetizer to kick start your barbecue. Spicy and sweet, it'll have your guests coming back for more every time!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine BBQ
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Marinating time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • Blender
  • Wood/Metal Skewers


  • 2 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 4 oz red chilies
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the rub:

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt


  • Combine all rub ingredients thoroughly in a small bowl. Once combined, set to one side.
  • Place all other ingredients except the shrimp in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times until you achieve a textured paste.
  • Put the shrimp in a large bowl and add the chili-garlic paste. Cover with film and transfer to refrigerator. Allow to marinate for at least an hour prior to grilling.
  • Heat up grill to 450°F/230°C.
  • While grill heats up, remove shrimp from refrigerator and assemble onto skewers.
  • Apply generous amount of paprika rub across all surfaces of the shrimp skewers. Transfer to grill and cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until shrimp is firm to touch and pink in color.

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