Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: How do you know when seafood is done?
From: James Slaton,
Subject: Re: Seafood
You solved my brisket and rib problem by helping my identify the source of my troubles: a faulty built-in thermometer. Now that I know just how wise you really are, I'm coming to you with another long-time question of mine:
How do you know when seafood is done? This is really two questions: how long do you grill shellfish, how long do you grill fish.
I know the pat answers: grill shrimp until it turns pink, grill fish until it flakes. Neither of those answers makes any sense to me. Maybe it's because I'm obtuse or maybe it's because those answers really don't mean anything.
Some shrimp start out pink. How long should it take before the shrimp are done if I'm grilling them? Does longer cooking make them more tough or less tough? Are grilled shrimp going to inherently be a bit chewier than boiled or fried shrimp?
Fish flakes pretty readily. Do I want it firm and flaky or mushy and flaky? Do I want the fattest part of the fish flaky or the skinny tip at the end? What sort of texture should done fish have: tender, firm, moist, dry? Is there a rule of thumb about how long to grill fish (10 minutes per inch)?
I'm not as anxious about all this as I sound -- most of the time I just guess whether it's done and hope I don't get some kind of weird fish disease -- but I'd still like to know the answers.
Happy I was able to help. Let me try again.
I don't really know of a rule of thumb for cooking fish or shrimp. I use the finger AND thumb method.
Next time you go to cook fish or shrimp, press them gently between you finger and thumb and tattoo that on your frontal lobe. There is discernable, identifiable softness.
The instant a shrimp begins to firm up, it is done. Cooking longer makes it tough and chewy. The flesh should be moist and the texture should offer some resistance to the teeth, but cleave cleanly.
Fish texture will depend upon the characteristics of the fish. Normally, only lean, firm fleshed fish are grilled. The color will go from semi-transluscent to opaque shortly before it begins to flake. Press the thickest part with your finger, if it does not feel soft, it is done. Better to undercook than to overcook. If the fish has substantial differences in thicknesses, it is better to separate thin from thick or to get out the filet knife and even it up.
From a health standpoint, any malicious microbes will be on the exterior and be quickly exterminated.
Have one for me,