Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs with Garlic Butter

The shrimp is marinated in a flavorful blend of cilantro, lime, garlic and tequila, then threaded onto skewers with bacon and jalapeno, and grilled over a hot fire. These kebabs are quick and easy to make, and absolutely perfect for a casual summer barbecue. I recommend using a Kalamazoo Plancha grill grate for these kebabs. See more info in the recipe instructions.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 4
Image of Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs with Garlic Butter


For the Cilantro Lime Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup blanco (silver) tequila
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Kebabs:

  • 16 large shrimp, about 1 pound, peeled, deveined and partially butterflied (I suggest also removing the tails)
  • 8 slices of bacon, cut in half
  • 4 large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and cut to 1 inch by 1/2 inch rectangles
  • 8 10-inch-long bamboo skewers, soaked in water

For the Garlic Butter:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grey sea salt

To make the marinade, combine the ingredients in a food processor and process until the cilantro and garlic are very fine. Transfer to a small-to-medium sized non-reactive bowl and add the shrimp. Gently toss the shrimp to coat evenly, then cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Prepare the grill for cooking with two cooking zones: a medium-hot zone with a cast iron griddle or Kalamazoo Plancha surface; and a hot zone with a regular grill grate (or a Kalamazoo meat-pattern laser-cut cooking surface). This method will allow the bacon to cook fully without over-cooking the shrimp. The bacon will wrap to just one side of the skewer, and the shrimp will be exposed to the fire on the other side. The bacon side is cooked first, directly on the griddle. When you flip the kebabs move them to the open grill grate to cook the shrimp over the open fire.

Shrimp skewers grilling on the hibachi surface

To assemble the kebabs, start a pair of skewers into one end of a slice of bacon. Each shrimp will be half-wrapped in bacon, with the bacon all on one side. During assembly, wrap the bacon along the bottom (against the work surface). We almost always use pairs of skewers to keep the ingredients from rotating on the skewer, and that is particularly important for this recipe. Add a curled piece of shrimp on top of the bacon, passing the skewers in through the top of the shrimp and out through the back of the tail as it is curled tightly. Add a piece of jalapeno against the tail, matching the curve, and then pass the skewers through the jalapeno. Finally, pull the end of the bacon tight around the shrimp and jalapeno, and then pass through the skewers. Trim off any excess bacon. Repeat this process to make 4 kebabs with 4 shrimp each. Reserve the marinade.

Combine the garlic butter ingredients in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan on the edge of the grill, or on a cooktop, to melt the butter.

Place the kebabs, with the bacon sides down, onto the Plancha or griddle over medium heat. Use a silicon basting brush to load up each kebab with a generous amount of the reserved marinade. Dispose of the remaining marinade. Cook the kebabs until the bacon is fully-browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Move the kebabs to the open grill grate over high heat flipping them over so that the shrimp sides face down. Continue cooking until the deepest part of the slit in the back of the shrimp turns opaque, about 5 minutes more.

Serve the finished kebabs with the garlic butter on the side.

Shrimp and bacon skewers grilling on the Hybrid Fire Grill