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State Plate Recipe: Nevada’s Shrimp Cocktail

The Catch of the Day!

Weighing in at 60,000 pounds? Shrimp! People in Las Vegas eat more shrimp in one day than the entire country—60,000 pounds every day!

Sassy Chile Smoked Shrimp Cocktail with Citrus Sauce

Grilled or smoked, this shrimp cocktail is a delightful opener to any cookout—or dine-in!

The Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, deveined, with tails on
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or parsley if you like a milder flavor), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
  • Salt (Kosher or Sea Salt)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Optional if you like extra spices

  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

For brushing shrimp on grill

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted or extra olive oil

Citrus Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of canned chipotle chiles, minced, plus 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce or chipotle juice from the can
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons white onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine


  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated


Start with the cocktail sauce

  1. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until mixed. At this point you may divide the sauce into individual smaller bowls, or do this later.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Prep the shrimp

  1. Rinse, clean and blot dry the shrimp.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with cilantro (or parsley), chipotle and sauce or juice, salt and pepper. When combined, stir in olive oil and lime juice.
  3. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
  4. Place shrimp on skewers, 2 to a skewer, leaving room between the shrimp and at either end of the skewer.

If you’re smoking…

  1. Lightly oil the rack.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set up your smoker.
  3. Preheat to 225 degrees to 250 degrees F.
  4. Add wood according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  5. Place the rack with the shrimp in the smoker and smoke until the shrimp are firm and bronzed. This can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Keep a careful eye on the shrimp.
  6. At the 20-minute mark, baste with butter or 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

If you’re grilling…

  1. Preheat your grill to a high setting of 450 degrees F.
  2. Place wood chunks or smoking chips on the coals. You can put the chips in aluminum foil, but cut a few slits into the foil to all the steam to escape.
  3. Direct grill the shrimp for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. They should be sizzling and brown on the outside, and if you have a thermometer, the internal temp should reach at minimum, 120 degrees F.
  4. Turn the shrimp over once during cooking, at which point, baste with oil or butter.