Grilled Royal Reds with Lemony Garlic Butter

Found 60 miles offshore in deep, cool waters, royal reds are the kings of Gulf shrimp, prized for their lobster-sweet meat. Unlike most raw shrimp, which are gray, royal reds emerge from the sea a brilliant crimson color. Throughout the Florida Panhandle and along the Alabama coast, you'll find the oversize prawns at restaurants and fish shacks alike; when the boats are bringing them in, chefs and home cooks stock up on what they can get their hands on. At the state line–straddling Flora-Bama dive bar right on the beachfront, you can pick up a couple of pounds perfectly steamed to order, served simply with melted butter—the only condiment you need.

Grilled Royal Reds with Lemony Garlic Butter
Photo: Photo Credit: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
6 serves


  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, plus 2 1/2 Tbsp. fresh juice (about 2 lemons)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 2 pounds fresh royal red shrimp

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat grill to medium (350°F to 400°F). Stir together butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice, thyme, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl until well combined.

  2. Toss together shrimp, oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Grill shrimp, covered, just until shrimp are bright red and charred, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Toss with lemony garlic butter, and serve immediately.

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