Everything To Know About Rock Shrimp & How To Cook Them
What Are Rock Shrimp?
Rock shrimp live and spawn in warm deep waters, 120 to 240 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, from Florida down to the Gulf of Mexico, as far as some parts of the Bahamas. Though there has been debates if they are a shrimp or prawn, rock shrimp are on the smaller side, typically 2 to 3 inches long and about 21 to 25 to a pound. We do catch them as small we 36/40 per pound.
Back in the day, when my grandmother was a child and would go out to see shrimping with her father, ‘Papa Lynwood’, peelers didn’t exist for rock shrimp. Getting to the meat was tough, of course the internet didn't exist to spread the word. So with no demand or market for them, the price was next to nothing. Throughout the years, rock shrimp have become a commodity, to anyone who can get their hands on them.
How to Cook Rock ShrimpAfter purchasing Rock Shrimp from your Shrimp To Shore family, it is best to peel them before cooking. The easiest way to split the hard shell is to use kitchen shears to cut through the exoskeleton. In simpler terms, flip the shrimp upside down and butterfly down the belly. Then remove the vein, if necessary.
From there, you can cook them just as you would most any other shrimp: boiled, steamed, sautéed, fried, or grilled. Just keep in mind that rock shrimp tends to cook faster than other shrimp, and you want their succulent texture, so be careful not to overcook them.
What Do Rock Shrimp Taste Like?
Rock shrimp have a sweet, briny flavor similar to dungenes crab and a soft yet sweet taste very similar to spiny lobster, packed into the body of a shrimp.
Rock Shrimp vs. Spiny Lobster
Spiny lobsters are a good comparison for rock shrimp. If you were to split a rock shrimp's shell and broil it with butter, it would closely resemble broiled lobster tail in miniature, and the rich taste would not be too far off either. Spiny lobsters are also more comparable to rock shrimp because, unlike Maine lobster, they do not have large edible claws, so it is tail to tail. The differences have more to do with size and habitat: Rock shrimp are relatively small while spiny lobsters are much larger. And whereas spiny lobsters are West Coast creatures, from Baja California up the entire coast to Alaska.
Storing Rock Shrimp
Fresh (or previously frozen and thawed) shrimp should be cleaned, cooked, and consumed within a day or two at most. Fresh cleaned raw shrimp can be placed in airtight plastic bags and kept in the freezer for up to six months. Heads must be removed, and it is also easier to freeze and thaw shrimp without the shell. If the shrimp have been previously frozen and thawed, it is preferable not to freeze them again, as it could have a negative effect on the texture. A reminder that when you purchase from Shrimp To Shore, we freeze our product ONE TIME. When we catch it, it’s packed and shipped straight to you. No middle man.