PALEO: Juicy Citrus Grilled Shrimp, AKA... The Secret of the Brine

grilled pineapple shrimp

The following is brought to you by a wonderfully rainy 4th of July we enjoyed last week.  A citrus brine for some shrimp that were calling to me from the fridge and a watermelon lime cooler happened despite the steady drizzle outside.

Have you tried brining?

These days, I can't seem to cook a piece of meat without brining it first. And brining and shrimp are an especially magical combination. Gone are the days of tough, chewy shrimp. Brining has made me a shrimp snob. I admit it. Try it and be a shrimp snob with me. Be creative with your brine. It will give your meat whatever flavor you are wanting and make it so much more tender.  

And why are my skewers so small, you ask? Well, that's because miniature versions of things make me feel younger than I really am. I do own boring, adult sized skewers in case you were wondering.

grilled pineapple shrimp

(Read more about our 4th of July Traditions this year at this post.)

Juicy Citrus Grilled Shrimp with Pineapple

20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

20 one-inch cubed diced pineapple

For the brine:

4 cups water

1/4 c. sea salt

1 T. pepper

3 T. raw honey

peel of 1 orange (I use a vegetable peeler)

For the marinade:


juice of 1 orange

2 T. coconut aminos

1 T. maple syrup

1 T. grated ginger

1 clove grated garlic

1 T. chopped scallions (I had scallion blossoms from our co-op so I used those instead)

pinch of salt and pepper


Place all brine ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it boils, remove from heat and fill the pan with ice (about 4-5 cups). As the ice melts, check to ensure the mixture comes up to room temperature or cooler. Add the shrimp and leave in the brine for 20 minutes. (No longer or your shrimp will turn to mush! Some meat will brine much longer than this but shrimp are small and delicate.)

In the meantime, make the marinade by combining all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisking to combine. Set aside a couple tablespoons marinade to coat the shrimp after cooking. Preheat your grill.

After the shrimp have brined for 20 minutes, remove them and pat dry. Place them in the marinade and mix to coat. Let them sit for 5 minutes (any longer and the orange juice will start to cook the shrimp before even making to the grill). Place the shrimp on skewers, alternating the pineapple throughout. Grill for approximately 3 minutes per side and remove from heat. Drizzle the previously set aside marinade over the skewers and eat 'em up!

(Note: In a pinch, you can skip the brine but FYI-after learning about brining, I NEVER make my shrimp without brining first. There is no other way to get super, super juicy shrimp.)

Watermelon Lime Cooler

6 cups chilled watermelon (approx 1/2 medium watermelon)

1/3 lime, skin included

1 T. raw honey

1/2 t. vanilla extract (optional)

1/4 t. salt

1 cup ice

1 L. sparkling water, unsweetened


Place all ingredients but the sparkling water into your blender and blend on high for 90 seconds. Pour sparkling water into a large pitcher. Add watermelon mixture and mix gently. Enjoy!

watermelon cooler lime drink paleo