Robert Tabak’s Smoked and Grilled Shrimp

2 pounds large shrimp, shells on
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
Salt, to taste (optional)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 limes, halved

Rinse shrimp well, and drain. Lay shrimp flat in large glass or ceramic pan. Mix spices and salt in small bowl. Brush shrimp with half the oil, squeeze on juice of 1 lime, and sprinkle on half the seasonings. Turn shrimp over, and repeat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Recipe requires low, steady fire: Use mostly hickory chunks with a little mesquite. Wood is best if soaked in water overnight so it smokes and doesn’t burn. (If you have a smoker pan, use the water that the wood soaked in.) Add wood to fire about every 30 minutes. Smoke shrimp for 2 hours, turning twice. If fire is hot enough, shrimp can be finished by quickly grilling on each side.

If true smoker is not available, adapt recipe for household grill as follows: Arrange coals on one side of grill bottom, and light. When coals have ashed over, add soaked wood chunks. Place a pan of water over coals (refill as necessary). Lay shrimp on grill, away from coals. Cover grill and close vents. Cooking time will be reduced by 1 hour or more.

Note: Shrimp can be prepared ahead of time. Slightly undercook in smoker, and do not grill. Twenty minutes before serving, place in 350-degree oven.

Serves 5 – 6

From “Specialty of the House,” originally featured in Domain, Fall 1988.