Peel-and-eat shrimp are one of our favorite appetizers to put out at the beginning of a party. They take a while to eat, and can be a little messy, which often makes for some good icebreakers with guests. And, when done correctly, they have wonderful taste and texture.

This simple recipe for amazing peel-and-eat shrimp involves just a few steps and a not-so-secret ingredient: beer. The shrimp are brined in beer and seasonings, then broiled in the oven. Since they’re served cold, you can make them ahead of time and pull them out when your guests arrive, when the game starts, or when you’re in the mood to crush a couple pounds of shrimp on your own.

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Beer-Brined Peel-and-Eat Shrimp

2 pounds shrimp (shell on)
1 cup water
½ cup salt
½ cup sugar
1 bag Zatarain’s crawfish, shrimp, and crab boil
1 cup ice
1 12-ounce can beer
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then add the salt and sugar. Mix until they’re dissolved, then add the Zatarain’s spice bag (add the entire bag, not just its contents). Turn off the heat and allow the water to steep for 20 minutes. Add the ice and beer to the water, then pour the entire contents of the saucepan into a freezer bag with the shrimp. Allow the shrimp to sit for 20 minutes in the brine bag.

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Rinse the shrimp and dry them with paper towels. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with olive oil and Old Bay. Five minutes before you’re ready to cook, place a sheet pan directly under a broiler set to high. Carefully add the shrimp to the warmed pan and allow it to cook for two minutes. Flip each one, and and cook for another 90 seconds.

Immediately place the shrimp in another (not hot) pan and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Move the shrimp to the fridge and allow to cool. Serve with cocktail sauce, lemon wedges and beer.