The Shrimp Cocktail

4 servings
  • 32 shell-on (21 to 25 count) tiger shrimp
  • For the brine:
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups ice
  • For the cocktail sauce:
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Few grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning

Using a pair of scissors or a serrated knife, make an incision down the backside of the shrimp, following the intestinal track. Eviscerate shrimp and rinse under cool water leaving shells intact.

Place cleaned shrimp into a bowl with brine and refrigerate mixture for 20 to 25 minutes. While shrimp are brining, place tomatoes, chili sauce, horseradish, sugar, pepper, and salt in food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate cocktail sauce until ready to serve.

Place a baking sheet or broiler pan under oven broiler and preheat for 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and drain thoroughly. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and dry on paper towels. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning, if desired.

Place shrimp onto a sizzling sheet pan and return to broiler immediately. After 2 minutes, turn the shrimp with a pair of tongs. Return the shrimp to broiler for 1 minute. Transfer to a cold cookie sheet. Refrigerate immediately.

Once shrimp have chilled, arrange with cocktail sauce in a martini glass or as desired.

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Pairs Well With

Rich, buttery white wine

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4.8 120
My oven has a very aggressive broiler (default temp is 550) so I limited my broil to 450. In my case my shells were very thin and they separated and burned a little even at this lower temp. I will likely drop the temp to 400 and increase the cook time to 2 mins a side. Otherwise - these are awesome. In my case, I used about a heaping tablespoon of Old Bay - anyone that uses Old Bay knows a "sprinkle" is pretty much worthless :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
boiled shrimp makes good fishing bait!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was amazing. The brine really enhances the shrimp. I am saving this recipe for all my future shrimp cocktail needs!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This has really spoiled me. I can't eat prepackaged shrimp anymore. This is really great stuff. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was going to boil the shrimp and use bottled cocktail sauce, but thought to consult Alton Brown. These were so good I went out the next day and bought more shrimp just to do it again. Used local shrimp and garnished with finely chopped dill. This is a really great recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I really want to make this recipe for Thanksgiving, but I'm concerned about the saltiness and confused by the fresh vs frozen shrimp instructions in the reviews. I'll be using peeled (tail on) deveined frozen shrimp. Do I thaw the shrimp and then put them in the brine, or do I put them in the brine frozen? I don't see how they'll thaw completely in 20 minutes that way item not reviewed by moderator and published
Best shrimp cocktail I've ever made. Something about broiling them then into that cool temperature. Juicy and tasty even without cocktail sauce. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Simple, clean and absolutely delicious. I'll never buy prepared cocktail sauce again. I was short on horseradish so only included 1 T and that was just fine. May Ploy brand sweet chili sauce was perfect. Instead of raw sugar, which I was also out of, I used a squirt of catsup. The result was perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm not sure where I went wrong with the sauce, but it was waaaayyy too intense! I used less horseradish than suggested, but the result was still inedible. I was able to save it by taking half of the sauce and adding a can of tomato paste and some water to it. I dumped the other half. It had the right flavor after that, but it was nothing special. I assume since no one else had this problem that I must have done something wrong, but I followed the recipe very closely. I probably won't use this recipe again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have never brined seafood. I have whole turkey and pork, but never seafood and thought it strange to brine shrimp. I did it anyhow and oh BOY am I glad I did. These were the BEST shrimp cocktail ever. The shrimp are amazing made this way!! Used my cocktail sauce I already had because the shrimp are the star here. item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

The Best Thanksgiving Appetizers