Poached “Boiled” Shrimp

My search for South Carolina shrimp has lead me to a local gas station parking lot. Having no luck in the grocery stores I decided to stop in and check the guy selling fresh shrimp out of the back of his truck.

He goes to McClellanville  on Wednesday and gets the shrimp fresh of the boat. Then sells it until it’s gone, usually by Friday. I live about 200 miles from the coast so this is my current hookup.

This shrimp is really poached and not actually boiled. I have been overcooking them all my life and didn’t realize it until now.


  • 2 lbs.+/- fresh or freshly frozen (thawed) US wild caught shrimp
  • 2 fresh lemons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup salt (kosher if you have it)
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. pepper corns (or sub another pepper)
  • Water maybe 3 quarts, enough to cover shrimp


  • Devein shrimp (use your kitchen sheers)


  • Boil water and everything but the shrimp for 15 minutes, remember to squeeze the lemons and add the juice. Don’t worry if you think you added to much salt, they are only in the water for 3 minutes you need all the spice you can get.
  • Alternate method (preferred) peal shrimp (leave tails on) and toast shells in pot then add poaching liquid. Basically your making a shrimp stock for more flavor.


  •  Add the shrimp remove from heat cover and let sit for 3 minutes.  Unless they were partially frozen they are done, drain and place in ice water to stop the cook.

Peel but leave the tail and serve with your favorite cocktail sauce or make your own. If saving for the next day leave the shells on.


1/2 cup ketchup, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons horse radish (use 1 if you don’t want the kick), a shot of hot sauce and worcestershire sauce. Mix in serving bowl and chill with shrimp.


The shrimp can be cooked a day in advance, keep in a covered container in the coldest part of you fridge. 2 lbs will serve as an appetizer for 20 people. Some people are allergic to shell fish try and contain any shells and ask if anyone is allergic.


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