The ideal grilled Southern shrimp burger is moist, chunky and complements the sweet shrimp flavor without overpowering it. Photo by: Daniel J. van Ackere/America's Test Kitchen
August 7, 2019 11:16:25 AM
A good shrimp burger should be first and foremost about the shrimp. Unfortunately, many shrimp burgers are more reminiscent of fish-flavored rubber patties or over-seasoned bread balls than shrimp.
We set out to develop a recipe for our ideal shrimp burger: moist, chunky yet still cohesive, and with seasoning that complements the sweet shrimp flavor but doesn't overpower it.
After early testing we decided we needed a combination of finely chopped shrimp to help bind the burgers, as well as some larger, bite-size chunks. We achieved this texture with help from the food processor.
We wanted to use as little binder as possible, to avoid the soggy, mushy results we'd seen in other shrimp burgers that frequently used a combination of mayonnaise, egg, and bread crumbs. We kept the mayonnaise for the much-needed moisture and fat it added but left out the egg and decreased the bread crumbs.
Some minced scallion and parsley, lemon zest, and a touch of cayenne pepper rounded out the flavor of our burgers.
Be sure to use raw, not cooked, shrimp here. Dry the shrimp thoroughly before processing, or the burgers will be mushy. Handle the burgers gently when shaping and grilling; if overhandled while being shaped, the burgers will be dense and rubbery, and if handled roughly during cooking, they will break apart.
GRILLED SOUTHERN SHRIMP BURGERS
Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and patted dry
-- For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4 1/2 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
-- For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 171 calories from fat; 19 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 220 mg cholesterol; 1236 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 24 g protein.
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